A company is a type of business structure. When you set up a company, you create a legal entity that’s separate from you.

A company has different legal, financial and record keeping responsibilities compared to other business structures, so it’s important you know what’s involved.

Choose a company name

When you register a company you can choose a name for the company, although it is not compulsory. You can use either:

  • a name you've chosen for your new company
  • a name that you've already reserved with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), or
  • your Australian Company Number (ACN) once it has been issued.

If you decide to use a company name, it must show the legal status of the company. For example “My Business Pty Ltd”.

You can only choose a company name not already registered to another company or as a business name.

Register your company

You can register your company and other key business registrations through the Business Registration Service. Before you register, make sure you:

  • choose a company name
  • decide whether your company will be proprietary or public
  • understand your legal obligations
Register your company

A company has directors who manage the company. Directors are obliged to adhere to the Corporations Act. These responsibilities and obligations may differ from your responsibilities as a sole trader.

It’s important that you understand your legal obligations as a company director. Learn about your company and the law on the ASIC website for details.

If you are a director of a company, registered foreign company, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation you need to apply for a director identification number (director ID).

Find out more about director ID.

You can only choose a company name not already registered to another company or as a business name. Special approval is also required to use certain words in your company name. Check if your proposed company name is available on ASIC’s check name availability search.

The cost of registering a company ranges from $474 - $576, depending on the type of company you register. See the current list of company fees on the ASIC website.

You can pay with Visa and MasterCard credit cards when you register through the Business Registration Service .

A company application should take you around 15 minutes to complete online. If you have registered using the Business Registration Service and have provided all the required documents, and paid the fee, you should get confirmation within two business days.

The Corporations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2006 allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups to form Indigenous corporations.

Indigenous Corporations are registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). Visit the ORIC website for more information on registering indigenous corporations.

Every company in Australia has a unique nine-digit number known as an Australian Company Number (ACN). You are automatically given an ACN when you register a company. ACNs are managed by ASIC.

ASIC will send you an annual statement after the annual review date (usually the date you registered the company).

You will need to pay your annual company fees, check and update your details and pass a solvency resolution.

You can learn more about annual statements for companies on the ASIC website.

If your company carries on business under a name different to your registered company name, then you must register it as a business name.

Registering a company name doesn’t protect your Intellectual Property (IP) and brand. If you want exclusive rights to your company name, you’ll need to trade mark it.

Read more about registering a trade mark.

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