Establishing a business in Australia

Expanding your operations internationally is a big step. Although you will have experience of developing your business in your own country, you will experience different challenges in a new country.

If you are looking to establish a business in Australia our experts can advise and provide you with assistance in relation to:

  • the most tax effective business structures;
  • establishing a business or legal structure including company formations and registration;
  • the Australian tax system including Company Tax and the Goods & Services Tax (GST);
  • accounting and auditing requirements;
  • cloud accounting services provided by UHY Haines Norton comprising Virtual CFO, bookkeeping, payroll and client trust account;
  • finance, grants and incentives available to you; and
  • opening an Australian bank account.

When choosing a business structure, it is important to understand the responsibilities of each structure as it may affect the Australian tax your business will be liable to pay as well as the costs to setup and run.

It is therefore imperative to obtain proper advice in relation to your business structure before you start a business in Australia.

There are a number of potential business and legal structures that maybe suitable for your business and individual circumstances.

UHY Haines Norton can advise on different business and legal structure options and can then assist with establishing the business or legal structure in Australia tailored to your requirements from incorporation. For example, the formation and registration of an Australian company or subsidiary of your ultimate holding company, a branch or representative office of the parent company, a joint venture, or a trust structure etc.

UHY Haines Norton also offer specialist corporate secretarial services to attend to all your registration formalities and will continue to maintain all your compliance requirements including maintenance of statutory records and the preparation and filing of annual returns and other documents or forms as required by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission after registration.

As your Australian business develops and grows, UHY Haines Norton can look to changing or expanding your business and/or legal structure.


Your company will be liable to pay Australian tax if it is resident in Australia or if it operates in Australia through a branch or agency. We can advise you on your international group structure, including planning the repatriation of profits by the use of interest, dividends and royalties in order to minimise your Australian tax liabilities.

Similarly, your personal tax liability will depend on whether you are resident, ordinarily resident and/or domiciled in the Australia.

Early tax planning is essential before establishing your business, your arrival in the Australia and during your residence. Our tax experts have extensive experience in advising businesses and individuals on international tax issues.

Australian Business Number (ABN), Tax File Number (TFN) and GST

If you plan to operate in Australia, you will need to apply for an ABN and TFN for your business.  An ABN is used to identify your business while a TFN identifies your business for tax and superannuation purposes.  All businesses over a certain turnover must also register for GST.

UHY Haines Norton can arrange registration of an ABN, TFN and the GST for your business including registering your business for other taxes, such as Payroll Tax, if your business plans to employ Australian workers and is over the Payroll Tax threshold.

Please see our Cloud Accounting and Audit & Assurance pages for more information regarding the assistance and services we can provide when you establish a new business in Australia.  In summary, some of services include:

  • Virtual CFO services;
  • Cloud accounting solutions and deployment;
  • Outsourced cloud services – bookkeeping, payroll and accounting; and
  • Audit and assurance services – advice and assistance on statutory auditing.

UHY Haines Norton can provide suitable contacts to assist new businesses in Australia with applying for finance.  Our contacts include banks, stockbrokers, venture capital organisations and other financial institutions throughout Australia.  We will assess your requirements, arrange introductions and assist you in any negotiations.

UHY Haines Norton can also help with opening a bank account in Australia and applications for grants and other tax incentives (such as the Research & Development) available from Australian state and territory governments and other agencies.

The Australia business environment is considered as an attractive proposition for businesses of all sizes. If you are considering Australia as a possible location for your business expansion, UHY Haines Norton can help you.