Is a company right for you?
You need to decide if a company suits your needs or if you should use a different business structure. Business.gov.au has a great ‘Help me decide’ tool that can help you work out the business structure that will best suit your needs and what registrations you should consider.
A company is its own legal entity and lets you conduct business throughout Australia. You can also make use of other privileges, such as corporate tax rates or limited liability.
Registering a company is different to registering a business name. For more information, see your business structure.
Choosing a company name
There are a few things you should consider when choosing a company name.
A company’s name cannot be identical to an existing name.
You can only use a name that is not identical to an existing company or business name. Use our check name availability search to see if the name you want is available.
If you are the holder of an identical name, you may be able to register the name for the company in some cases.
Get consent from officeholders, members and occupiers
You must get written consent from the people that will fill these roles:
- Director (must be over 18)
- Secretary (must be over 18)
- Member (every company must have at least one member).
At least one director and secretary of a proprietary company must ordinarily reside in Australia.
At least two directors of a public company must ordinarily reside in Australia.
Get the consent of the owner of your registered office address.
If your registered office does not belong to the company (e.g. it’s your accountant’s office), you must get their written permission to use the address.
Director identification number
Company directors are required by law to apply for a director identification number (director ID).
Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) is responsible for delivering the director ID initiative.
ABRS have developed an instructional video to help company directors apply online.
A director ID is a unique identifier that a director will apply for once and keep forever – which will help prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities.
All directors of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will need a director ID.
ASIC is responsible for enforcing director ID offences set out in the Corporations Act 2001. It is a criminal offence if directors do not apply on time and penalties may apply.
Intending new directors must apply before being appointed.
Visit the ABRS website for more information on who needs to apply, when and how.