Business Registration in Australia (Companies)

Business registration (and business name registration) of a company in Australia requires you to lodge an application with ASIC (Form 201). Cleardocs allows you to complete ALL of the paperwork required online, which means you can have a new company registered, AND all the legal documents emailed in less than 20 minutes. There is no need to lodge anything by hand any more.

As most companies in Australia are registered as proprietary companies, this is a guide to register a proprietary company.

You need to ensure that a company structure best suits your business needs. We recommend that you seek legal or other professional advice about your particular circumstances. At this stage you should also make sure you understand what your legal obligations will be if you become a company officeholder.

When a company is registered under the Corporations Act 2001 ('Act') it is automatically registered as an Australian company. This means that it can conduct business throughout Australia without needing to register in individual State and Territory jurisdictions.

Businesses that are not companies (eg, sole traders and partnerships) are required to register their business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority (you can find a list on the Australian government's Business Entry Point site). However, this is not necessary if the business is conducted under the name of the person or persons involved; that is, first name and surname, or initials and surname.

Registration or use of a business name:

  • does not create a legal entity (Only registering a company creates a legal entity.) and
  • does not allow the use of privileges to which a company is entitled, such as a corporate tax rate or limited liability.

A business name has no legal status.

If a company carries on a business in a name that is different to its company name, it must register the business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority.

While the requirement to register business names is not under the Act, business names are still recorded by ASIC's National Names Index, and the register against which proposed new company names are checked includes business names.

© Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Reproduced with permission.