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Doing Business in Australia FAQ

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With Australia recently signing free trade agreements with both the USA and China, interest in setting up business in Australia is rising.

With a stable government, favourable exchange rate & economic conditions, unparalleled growth, and time zones that bridge both US & European business days, it’s not hard to see why overseas organisations want to experience our warm welcome for themselves.

Like any country though, business processes may be handled differently. If your company is looking to set up in Australia, here’s a quick FAQ on some of the things you might need to know.

Q. What company structure is the best to use for my subsidiary company when setting up in Australia?

Australian companies are incorporated businesses that are also distinct legal entities. These are known as a Proprietary Limited Company (often abbreviated to a P/L suffix after the company name).

Dependent on your company’s needs, a proprietary company is usually best because it has the advantage of being simpler to manage and less expensive to administer.

Q. Are there any operational requirements in running a Proprietary Limited Company?

Yes. A proprietary company must have at least one director, but need not have a secretary. One director and the secretary (if any), must reside in Australia, and the company must have a registered office and place of business (which can be the same address).

There are currently no minimum capital requirements for an Australian subsidiary of a foreign company.

Q. Are there any compliance requirements?

Yes. You must lodge a Business Activity Statement (commonly known as a “BAS”) every quarter, and a tax return every year. You’ll also need to file an annual statement with ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission).

The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Q. What is the current tax rate for a Company in Australia?

Currently the tax rate is 30% if your turnover is below $2 million. Above $2 million, the rate drops to 28%.

Q. How much does it cost to set up a Proprietary Limited company in Australia

Including statutory charges, set up costs will be under AUD$3,000.

Q. What is an “ABN” and why do I need one?

An ABN (‘Australian Business Number’) is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business or organisation to the government and business community.

If you are running a business you will need to use an ABN for contracts, invoices and various financial institutions.

Q. What is “GST”, and how is it charged?

The GST is a Goods and Services Tax, currently charged at a rate of 10%, on most goods and services purchased across the country.

If your business has a annual turnover of $75,000 or more, you must register for GST.

Q. What is required to open business bank account in Australia?

To open a business bank account in Australia, you will require a certificate of incorporation, your ABN (see above) or ACN (Australian Company Number) and your directors identified according to the 100 point check adopted by Australian financial institutions.

Q Is it a legal requirement to have an employment contract in Australia?

All employees in Australia will have a common law contract of employment (whether written or unwritten) which specifies terms and conditions with their employer.

This contract is subject to Australian Government, and in some instances state and territory government, legislative requirements.

An employment contract cannot provide for less than the legal minimum set out in the National Employment Standards (NES), which covers all employees, regardless of whether they’ve signed a contract.

Q. What is superannuation?

Superannuation is a compulsory contribution made by all employers on behalf of each of their eligible employees, and is paid directly to each employee’s nominated super fund, or to a default fund.

The amount paid is set at a percentage of each employee’s regular income, with the Australian Government determining the “Super Guarantee” rate.

For the financial year 2015/16, the rate is set at 9.5% of regular income, and is not due to rise again until 2021.

If you have any questions about setting up your business here in Australia, get in touch with us here at Penguin Management. With over 25 years experience, we know the answers!

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