How Do I Incorporate a Company in Australia?

Incorporate a Company in Australia

Incorporating a company in Australia involves several key steps and considerations to ensure legal compliance and proper establishment. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a startup founder, or an existing business looking to expand, understanding the incorporation process is essential for a smooth and successful launch. This guide outlines the necessary steps to incorporate a company in Australia, along with five key points to consider.

Steps to Incorporate a Company in Australia

  1. Choose a Company Structure

The first step in incorporating a company is deciding on the appropriate company structure. The most common types in Australia are:

  • Proprietary Limited Company (Pty Ltd): Suitable for small to medium-sized businesses, limiting the number of shareholders to 50 non-employee shareholders and restricting the offering of shares to the public.
  • Public Company: Can raise funds from the public and has no limit on the number of shareholders.
  • Sole Trader: An individual trading on their own.
  • Partnership: Two or more people or entities run a business together but not as a company.

For most small to medium enterprises, a Proprietary Limited Company is the preferred choice due to its simplicity and flexibility.

  1. Select a Company Name

Choosing a unique and appropriate company name is crucial. The name must not be identical to an existing registered name, nor should it contain restricted words. Use the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) online tool to check the availability of your desired company name.

  1. Register Your Company

To register your company with ASIC, you need to complete Form 201 (Application for Registration as an Australian Company). You’ll need the following details:

  • Proposed company name
  • Registered office address
  • Principal place of business
  • Details of directors, secretaries, and shareholders
  • Share structure and details of the share capital

You can lodge the application online through the ASIC website. Upon approval, you will receive an Australian Company Number (ACN) and a certificate of registration.

  1. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your business activities, you may need to apply for additional licenses and permits from local, state, or federal authorities. Use the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to identify the specific requirements for your business.

  1. Register for Taxes

Once your company is registered, you’ll need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST) is mandatory if your annual turnover exceeds $75,000. Additionally, you may need to register for Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding if you have employees.

Key Points to Consider

  1. Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is paramount. This includes adhering to the Corporations Act 2001, maintaining accurate financial records, and meeting annual reporting obligations. Regularly review ASIC updates and consult with legal professionals to stay informed about any changes in legislation that may impact your business.

  1. Director and Shareholder Requirements

Directors must be at least 18 years old, and at least one director must ordinarily reside in Australia. Shareholders can be individuals or entities, and there is no residency requirement for shareholders. Understanding these requirements helps in structuring your company correctly.

  1. Ongoing Obligations

Incorporating a company is just the beginning. Ongoing obligations include holding annual general meetings, keeping detailed records, lodging annual returns with ASIC, and staying compliant with tax regulations. Failure to meet these obligations can result in penalties and affect your company’s good standing.

  1. Financial Considerations

Incorporating a company involves initial setup costs and ongoing expenses, including ASIC registration fees, annual review fees, and professional fees for accountants and legal advisors. Budgeting for these costs is essential to ensure financial stability during the early stages of your business.

  1. Professional Advice

Seeking professional advice from accountants, lawyers, and business consultants can provide invaluable guidance throughout the incorporation process. They can help you navigate complex legal requirements, optimize your tax position, and develop effective business strategies.


Incorporating a company in Australia requires careful planning, adherence to regulatory requirements, and a clear understanding of your business structure and obligations. By following the outlined steps and considering the key points discussed, you can establish a solid foundation for your company’s success. Whether you’re starting a new venture or expanding an existing business, proper incorporation is a critical first step toward achieving your entrepreneurial goals.