February 14, 2019

A lawyer's tips for DIY Australian company registration

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

A lawyer’s tips for DIY Australian company registration

Updated: 7 December 2019

If you are considering a DIY Australian company registration, read on for some useful tips.

You need to be aware of some important things before you register your Australian company, regardless of whether you use the Australian government portal or an online provider.

Legal entity 

You are creating a legal entity.

This means, your company can sue and be sued and is separate to you.

So, this means, your company assets are separate from your personal assets.

For this reason, the company structure is  popular.

Contrast this to a sole trader structure where the sole trader is personally liable for everything.


There are going to be terms that you’ll want to be across in dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Below are the important terms:

Public officer - the person that the ATO deals with about the company’s tax situation

Member - this term refers to a shareholder.

Applicant - this is the person setting up the ABN.

Contact - the authorised contact in the ABN application.

Registered office - the registered office needs to be a street address. Yes, you can use a virtual office but you need to make sure you have the consent of the occupier.

The ATO can have multiple contacts and applicants so if you have  a few founder’s you can tick the box for each of those to be applicants and contacts.

Proving your identity

You may be asked to provide a TFN as proof of identity when you are applying for a company and ABN with various online providers, 

If you don't provide your valid TFN or the ATO cannot identify you, the ATO may seek other proof of identity information from you like your:

  • date of birth
  • phone number
  • business, residential, postal or email address
  • bank account number
  • birth certificate
  • certificate of incorporation 
  • independent certification of business 
  • passport
  • drivers licence

If you're a resident applying for an ABN and these details don't match, your application won't be accepted.

Non residents

If you're applying for an ABN and your details don't match, your application will be delayed and in some instances refused.

When you submit your application, record your reference number. Without it, you may need to lodge a new application.

Documents should be sent by the due date stated at the end of your application. If they are not sent within 43 days of submitting the application, it will be refused. Non-residents need to provide either:

  • their Australian tax file number (TFN), or
  • proof of identity documents and a statement of your business activities in Australia.

And there is more information about proving your identity on the Australian Business Register

I wish you every success with your ventures!

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, Vivian advises Australia's top entrepreneurs on business and employment matters. Clients benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed and pragmatic legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to her clients.

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