The vast majority of foreign companies incorporating in Australia operate through a locally established subsidiary company to benefit from limited liability and having discrete legal Australian status.
Alternatively, you may select to register and operate as a foreign company with an Australian branch, appointing either a person or Australian company as your local agent.
Whatever option suits your particular commercial objectives, setting up and running a company in Australia need not be a complex task when you rely on LBW Partners to assist with its incorporation and registration. We can advise on the advantages of acquiring an Australian Shelf Company and its registration as an employer for workers compensation, selecting and registering an Australian Business Name (ABN) and ensuring that if you are an importer or exporter your company's Goods & Services Tax (GST) registration is appropriate.
Your incorporation process will be advantaged by considered tax advice and management accounting support. LBW will provide you with specialist knowledge of GST, capital gains, import offsets, tax minimisation and local salary packaging, plus be on hand when you need to prepare cash flow projections as part of your Australian business' development and tax planning.
Contact an LBW international entities specialist today via e-mail, phone (+61 2) 9411 4866 or complete the on-line enquiry right now. Receive professional guidance through the complexities of establishing and operating a successful company in Australia.
Establishing your Australian company
Your LBW Partners Australian subsidiary consultant has extensive experience in establishing Australian corporate entities for our international clients in the United Kingdom, The United States of America and New Zealand among others. An expert LBW international entities accountant can provide guidance on whether your company should be either public and, therefore, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; or proprietary, unlisted and limited by shares, or whether simply registering as a foreign company will best suit your commercial needs in Australia.
The registration and trading operations of Australian companies is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which manages the records for all companies operating throughout Australia under the provisions of the Corporations Act of 2001. However Australia is a federation of eight States and Territories, and Australian companies need to register themselves in one of these regions, depending upon the nature of your business one may offer you advantages over another.
Australian business obligations
Depending on whether your company is proprietary or a public listed corporation you will need to appoint at least one and sometimes two Australian resident directors. Each must be eighteen or more years old, and an individual who is neither insolvent under administration, been convicted of a serious crime, or be banned from managing a corporation.
In Australia your company must display their name and the words 'Registered Office' prominently at its registered office, its registered name prominently at every location you undertake your business and that is open to the public. A public company's registered office must be open to the public for at least 3 hours between 9 am and 5 pm each business day. All Australian companies are required to have a principal place of business that need not be their registered office. Should your principal place of business not be at your company's registered office, your company must notify ASIC of that too. The words 'Australian Business Number' and your ABN number must be legibly displayed on every negotiable instrument and public document issued or signed, by or on behalf of your company.
LBW can take care of your business's essentials, providing a single source for all the prerequisites and corporate obligations for doing business in Australia. Regardless of your selected corporate structure, size of operations, or where you locate your principal place of business, it will be necessary to:
- Register your company's name with ASIC.
- Set up your registered office in Australia
- Register your trading name with the relevant State or Territory Government office.
- Obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the Australian Business Register.
- Notify ASIC of your principal place of business.
Your foreign company's Australian branch
If your foreign company intends to expand into Australia by establishing a branch of a foreign parent you also have to register with ASIC. These registering requirements include:
- Appointment of a local agent (either a person or company) for service of notices.
- Maintenance of a registered office (and address) in Australia.
- Listing all your agent's Australian resident directors.
Running the Australian operation yourself
Should you decide it is preferable to take direct charge and run your Australian operations yourself, you should initially talk to an LBW relocation consultant about setting up the most advantageous tax structures in advance of your departure to Australia. You will initially need to consider the appropriate types of visas for you and your family and investigate to what extent you can qualify for tax free relocation expenses. Your LBW accountant can also ensure you remain eligible for tax effective living away from home allowances including local accommodation, your children's education and even food and holiday travel exemptions whilst resident in Australia.
You will discover that LBW's expertise not only assists your personal tax and superannuation position, but also makes certain your company has the means for effective profit repatriation without unnecessarily falling foul of International tax and double tax agreements.
Keep company records, registers and minutes
As long as your company exists, LBW Partners can be retained to ensure that the following mandatory requirements take place: Your Australian operation's accounting and other records have to be kept at the registered office or the company's principal place of business in sufficient order to enable annual statements to be prepared and if necessary audited. General Meeting and director's meeting minutes must be kept, along with a register of charges created by the company over company property. Company registers must be kept of option holders, debenture holders, and interest holders in a managed investment scheme (if you have them). Failure to maintain these records for at least seven years after the transactions have occurred is regarded as a serious criminal offence.
LBW's business accountants and Audit staff are familiar with the additional responsibilities of large Australian proprietary companies that have either over AUS$10 million in gross operating revenue; more than AUS$5 million in gross assets, and/or have employed more than 50 individuals during the previous Australian financial year. They are required to prepare an annual profit and loss statement, balance sheet and a cash flow statement, and appoint an auditor to audit the company's financial statements, and lodge them with ASIC.
International direct selling operations
If your international direct selling organisation is considering Australia for your next expansion LBW & Partners are ideally placed to assist your successful entry into the lucrative and mature Australian direct selling market. As specialists in multi level marketing companies you will be assured of the very best advice in relation to tax effective commission structures; recipient created invoices; no ABN withholding rules and dealing with non GST registered sub contractors. LBW is the only supplier member of the Direct Selling Association of Australia Inc (DSAA), the national trade association and voice of Australia's direct selling industry, an association you must join us in to excel in the Australian market.
International charities & not for profits
International philanthropic organisations and foreign based not for profit organisations can be entitled to concessions on Australian income tax, fringe benefits tax and GST. To access most concessions, charities and income tax exempt funds requires endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If however your non-profit organisation's activities within Australia are taxable, you will need to know how to report, pay and budget for its tax obligations.
Not all non-profit Australian tax concessions apply to all organisations, but various concessions apply to specific types of charities, tax exempt funds, deductible gift recipients (DGR) and other not for profit organisations.
It is critical that your organisation be appropriately classified, comply with Australia's national, state and territory tax legislation, and imperative that you also ensure you gain access to all your eligible Australian tax concessions.
Closing an Australian Company
Should you no longer intend to operate your company in Australia, LBW & Partners can provide sound financial advice on disposal of residual assets and compliance with Australia's corporate deregistration procedures.
For professional advice and full details of your obligations when running a company in Australia, check with an LBW Partners international entities expert via e-mail, phone (+61 2) 9411 4866 or complete the on-line enquiry today.