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Business Structures in Australia

Types of business

You have to decide on a legal structure when you start your business. The main choices are:

How to decide?

To decide on the best structure, you should think about:

  • what sort of business you will establish.
  • the expected income.
  • the tax structure and how the business income will affect any personal income you have.
  • what sort of personal liability you will have or are prepared to have.
  • the value of the business's assets.
  • capital gains tax, if the business may be sold at a later date.
  • who the owners of the business are and their shared rights and obligations.

whether you will use your own name for the business or use a trading name. Ultimately, you need legal and accounting advice about this to make sure you start on the right foot.

Getting started

Before you spend all your money, make sure you have:

  • taken into account all the potential costs, including any government costs and the fittings.
  • a realistic idea of the other financial needs of your business, particularly in the early days when it may have to be subsidised by your own savings or borrowings.
  • properly researched the cost of finance.
  • an idea of the other costs of running the business, for instance, the cost of utilities and insurance.
  • enough money to maintain your lifestyle until the business is self-supporting.
  • a budget plan and a marketing plan.
  • understand any legal obligations that may be relevant to the business, eg company or tax reporting requirements.
  • checked with the local council that your business can be operated in the location you intend.
  • researched whether there are any employer or retail associations who can help before you begin.
  • checked whether there are any government grants on offer for the establishment of your business.

researched any technological innovations that could help (or harm with competition) your business.

Choosing a business name

If you don't use your exact name, you will have to register a business name.
The first step is to choose a name. Remember, a business name will not be registered in certain circumstances, for example:

  • it is being used by another business.
  • it offends public notions of decency, eg it is obscene.
  • it might be confused with an already existing business, etc.

    If you want to check that the name you have chosen is not already taken, have look at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website, which shows all registered Australian names, company names and business names in every state and territory of Australia.


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