Chapter 7

Registering a business and other admin tasks

After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do.

Person puts up a sign for their business called Sticks and Thrones.

How to register a business with the government

You have a few official steps to walk through before you’re in business:

  • Register a business name: Unless you’re trading under your personal name, you’ll need to register a business name. You can do this through the Business Registration Service.
  • Get an Australian Business Number (ABN): An ABN is a quick way to identify your business to the government and the tax office. Put it on your invoices to ensure customers don’t withhold pay-as-you-go tax from the amount they pay you. You can apply for an ABN through the Business Registration Service. Find out more about what an ABN is and how to get one.
  • Apply for licences and permits: You may need special authority for certain business activities, such as running a business from home or employing people. Some industries have very specific requirements. Find out what you need from the Australian Business Licence and Information Service.

How do I register a company?

If you’re setting up as a company, you’ll need to choose and register a name and get set up with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). You’ll need to submit documents explaining how your company will operate and identify who the decision makers will be. You can start the process through the Business Registration Service.

Should I trademark a business name?

You can legally protect a business name and logo to prevent others from mimicking your identity. This can be a valuable step for businesses that plan to invest a lot in making their brand widely known.

This area of the law can get complicated – especially if you expand into overseas markets and find there’s a business there with a similar name. Ask for advice from a legal professional with experience in this area.

At the very least, use trademark registries (and search engines) to check that no one already has your business name. It’s an easy way to save yourself a lot of hassle.

Disclaimer

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

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