January 17, 2019

Registered office and place of business - the ASIC rules

Photo credit:  Gemma Evans, Unsplash

Registered office and place of business – ASIC rules

Updated: 10 February 2021

Did you know that there are rules set by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for your company’s registered office and place of business?

Below, I'll take you through them.

It's important to know the rules because a breach can be a strict liability offence.

Strict liability means that a particular offence can be prosecuted even if you did not intend to break the rule.

Registered office 

Your company must have a registered office in Australia.

Communications and notices to your company are sent to its registered office. 

And anyone can serve a document on your company by leaving it at or posting it to your company's registered office. 

For example, you can get served a legal document at your registered office. 

Next, we'll go through the contact address rules.

Contact address

Your company may have a contact address (and it can be outside Australia). 

Also, communications and notices from ASIC to your company may be sent to its contact address. 

Now, If you choose to have a contact address, you’ll need to notify ASIC.

Telling ASIC

There are time limits for telling ASIC about changes like a change of address.  

And your company must lodge a notice of a change of its registered office with ASIC within 28 days of the change. 

Importantly, you need to notify ASIC using their correct form.

Getting consent to use an address

If your company is not going to occupy its new registered office, the notice must state the occupier consents to the address in the notice and has not withdrawn consent. 

A typical example is a virtual office situation where a startup may pay a monthly fee to use the virtual office address as the registered office.

In fact, consent is so important that there are strict liability penalties if a company does not get comply.

When the change of address notice to ASIC takes effect

A notice of change of address takes effect from the later of: the seventh day after the notice was sent; or a later day specified in the notice as the date from which the change is to take effect.

ASIC may change address

A company that does not occupy the premises of its registered office address must be able to show to ASIC it has the occupiers consent to use the address.

Also, ASIC can ask for proof of consent.

And, if you don't have consent, ASIC may give written notice to a director that ASIC intends to change the address of the company's registered office to the director's address if you don't give a new address within 28 days. 

Now, if you don't meet the 28 day deadline, ASIC may change the address of the company's registered office to the director's address.

A breach of this requirement is a strict liability offence. 

Displaying your company name 

Finally, your company must display at any place the company carries on business and that is open to the public.

And, like the other sections above, a breach is a strict liability offence. 

Do you have questions about addresses? Be sure to leave them below.

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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