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How to Register a Business in Australia

Registering and running a Business in Australia Links and Faqs.

Do I need an ABN to register a business?

An ABN (Australian Business Number) is a 9 digit number. To register a business name, you will need to have an ABN, or in the process of applying for one with the Australian Business Register (ABR).

How much does it cost to register ABN?

To apply for an ABN is FREE of charge. Whether you apply online or by a printable form you will not be charged for the application. If you go through your Tax agent they may charge you their fee to process the application.

Can I run a business without an ABN?

If your turnover is less than $75,000 you may be able to operate without an ABN. The Australian Taxation Office does suggest to apply for an ABN when starting as a sole trader even if your annual turnover is less than the $75k stated.

Do I have to pay to register a business name in Australia?

The fees for registering a business name range from $37 for one year to $87 for three years.

What is considered a 'Small Business'?

The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and ATO have slightly different definitions of a small business. Below is a guide to what they may consider a small business is.
For more in-depth information and guidelines visit their websites.


  • Micro-businesses (businesses employing between 1 and 4 people including non‑employing businesses)
  • Non-employing businesses (sole proprietorships and partnerships without employees)
  • Other small businesses (businesses that employ between 5 and 19 employees)
  • Small businesses are more likely to have independent ownership and be operated independently. 


  • A small business entity is an individual, partnership, company or trust that is carrying on a business
  • Has less than $2 million in aggregated turnover.
  • A Micro Business has a total business income of less than $2 million
  • A small business has a business income of between $2 and $10 million per annum.

What are some of the steps to starting a business in Australia

1. Choose your business structure.

There are four main Business structures to choose from:

Sole trader: You are the sole owner and are responsible for all the day to day operations and legal aspects of running the business and you are still entitled to hire people to work for you.
Company: A commercial business or entity with separate legal definitions to its shareholders.
Partnership: A Partnership as it sounds is when 2 entities work together but not as a company
Trust: A Trust is an entity that may possess assets such as property or income for the benefit of a third party.

2. Choose a business type.

By choosing a type of business you will better understand the structure you may need. Some of the business types are::

  • Retail Brick and Mortar
  • Online business
  • Franchise
  • Contractor

3. Registering for your Australian business number (ABN)

As stated earlier, visit the ATO website to start your application for your Australian Business Number

4. Set up record keeping and accounting systems

As you start gaining income, it is important to keep track of your Business financials

5. Understand tax and legal obligations

Learn what Tax and legal obligations you need to be aware of for your business. You will have to submit Tax income statements every year.

6. Get insurance

Find what type of insurance you may need as different businesses will have different insurance needs for liabilities. 

Here is a link to a great starting your business checklist page from

Which Business Structure to choose

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What are some Business costs that I can expect?

Every Business is different and depending on the type of structure you may expect some of these constants in the cost to run your business

  • Costs of Premise - If you have a Brick and Mortar of Office to work out of

  • Insurance - to deal with any legal requirements and incidents

  • Marketing - To get customers to your business, this may take many different forms such as Digital, social marketing, website content marketing, business directory listings etc.

  • Professional services Fees  - such as accountants, solicitors, other expert professionals to oversee the legalities of starting a business

  • Stock - You may need to invest in holding your product ready to ship out

  • Staff and employment - as your company grows you may need to look at the prospect of hiring more staff to do some of or particular tasks

  • Finance Software - Programs to manage your money

  • IT costs - these may include Computers, servers, plugins for automation, Licencing of software etc.

open and ready for business


There are many aspects of starting a new business, but as overwhelming as it all may sound, with a little planning and a few mandatory steps you can be well on your way into running your own business.
Once you have your ABN and have registered your Business name then all you need to do is start letting potential customers know about your business through Marketing. If you haven't already take a read of our How to Rank Higher in Google article for some insights into promoting your business on the web.


Need some Helpful Business Resource Links?

Are you a small business owner? Have a look at  a collection of links to some great Business resources




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