By Chris Warrick, Beachhead Management

As well as incorporating your Australian Proprietary Limited company, if you wish to trade in Australia, you will need to separately register with the ATO (the Australian Tax Office) for one or more of the following registrations:

  • an ABN (Australian Business Number, typically your Australian Company Number prefaced with two extra digits - registered with the Australian Business Register on behalf of the ATO)
  • GST (Goods & Services Tax) - GST Registration for low-value imports will be now be required by 1 July 2018.
  • PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go, an employee income tax withholding system)
  • TFN (Tax File Number)
  • FBT (Fringe Benefits Tax)

Typically, the online process of applying for an ABN will allow the applicant to simultaneously register for the latter account extensions or tax registrations. It will also allow you to register for an AUSkey, a separate identifier which allows you to transact and update your details online with the ATO, ASIC and a wide variety of other government institutions.

Reporting & Annual Financial Reports

All Australian companies are required to keep financial records and various registers of their financial and administrative transactions.

For companies which are Large Proprietary Companies, they must also prepare annual audited financial reports which are:

  • prepared in accordance with Chapter 2M of the Corporations Act (2001)
  • lodged with ASIC within 4 months of the financial year end
  • sent to members within 4 months of the financial year end.

Proprietary Companies that are wholly owned by foreign subsidiaries may also be required to fulfil these reporting requirements unless relief is granted by ASIC; such relief must be notified/requested annually in advance.

Companies must also notify ASIC of the following changes (this list is not exhaustive):

  • company name,
  • company details e.g. registered office or principal place of business,
  • company constitution,
  • directors details: name, address, new appointment or resignations, and
  • share structure or shareholder details.

All such notifications are to be made within 28 days of the change, except for a change of company name which must be notified within 14 days of the event.

ASIC Annual Reviews

Finally, ASIC expects an Annual Review from each company, confirming the details and particulars of the shareholders, the directors and the registered address &tc.   This Annual Return is prompted by ASIC on the anniversary of the date of incorporation but it is still the company's responsibility to submit any changes and pay the Annual Review fee (currently $243 for a Pty Ltd) within the correct timeframes.

Late payments and late notification of any changes incur escalating Late Fees (currently $74 & $308 for 1 & 2 months late respectively).    IF a particular change identified on the Annual Return required a notification within 28 days (see above) of the event, then Late Lodgement fees will ALSO apply.  It is thus a good idea to keep on top of any required statutory notifications of changes to ASIC.  A number of firms in Australia provide such services, whether they be lawyers, accountants, registered agents or outsourced company secretarial services.

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Specialist Contributor:   Chris Warrick, Beachhead Management

Chris is a specialist in establishing and growing companies through all stages of the corporate life cycle; he has direct experience of sourcing capital, working with founders and other stakeholders, building & motivating teams, moving companies to the next level and, ultimately, achieving a timely and profitable exit. Beachhead Management assists inward investing SME companies from all over the world establish and grow their operating presence in Australasia. More information.