How to register a business with the government
There are a few government departments that need to know about your business:
- MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment): Once you’re officially in business, tell MBIE and they’ll issue you with a business number. You may be asked to quote it in your dealings with the government (and others). It will make things faster and easier.
- IR (Inland Revenue): You may have to pay income tax and GST, so the tax office will need to know about you. They’ll provide you with a tax number. It’s not all one-way traffic, though. When your business is GST registered, you can claim back GST on business expenses.
- ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation): As a business, you have a workplace – even if it’s your home and you’re the only worker in it. ACC provides cover for workplace accidents. You need to register and pay a levy.
You’ll have some extra formalities to complete if you choose to set your business up as a company.
How do I register a company?
If you’re setting up as a company, you need to register with the Companies Office, which is run by MBIE. This can be quite an involved process. For example you’ll need to register shareholders and directors. You may even need to provide a company constitution. Companies are required to report their activities to the Companies Office every year.
Do I need to tell any other regulators?
There may be some more to do if you’re entering a regulated industry. A caterer, for example, needs to be registered and have a food control plan – and possibly a liquor license. Speak to friends in the industry, or your industry representative body to find out if there are special requirements.
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.
How to start a business
Thousands of new businesses open every day. If all those people can do it, why not you? Here’s what to do, and when.
- How to do market research
Your business idea is clearly inspired. But it helps to check you’re not the only one who thinks so.
- How to write a business plan
Writing a business plan will help nail down your idea and give you a blueprint for executing it.
- Budgeting and forecasting
It’s time to run some numbers on your business idea. Budgeting and forecasting help with that.
- Pricing strategies and cost of goods sold
Your prices can influence the number of sales you make and the profit you earn on each transaction.
- Types of business structure
Your business structure can affect how much tax you pay, and how you're treated by the law.
- Small business accounting
If you’re starting a business, then you’ll need to get familiar with some accounting basics.
- Registering a business and other admin tasks
After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do.
- How to create a business website
Treat your website like an online version of a storefront. It’s the first impression for many customers and prospects.
- Tools and guides for your business
Now that you’re in business, you want to stay there. Xero’s got resources and solutions to help.
Download the guide to starting a business
Learn how to start a business, from ideation to launch. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.