November 11, 2017

Legal tips to help you run your Australian business from overseas

Legal tips to help you run your Australian business from overseas

Updated: 8 December 2019

Have you have ever thought about living overseas while still running your Australian business ? Here are some tips to help you do that.

As there will likely be a tax impact for changing your residency status,  get tax advice from a suitably qualified tax professional for your peace of mind.

1. Do you have a company structure ?

If you set up your business as a company and are sole director and also wish to continue running your business under your company structure, you may appoint another Australian resident director.

Why should you consider appointing another director ?

ASIC has a requirement that at least one director is an Australian that ordinarily resides in Australia.

A director must be 18 years old or older and consent to taking on the role and responsibilities of a director.

Assigning another Australian resident director allows you to continue to run your business via a company structure.

It's important to note, if you do not have the minimum office holders required to run your company structure, ASIC may fine you.

Another option, if you would like to avoid appointing another director  is to change your business structure.

2. Sole trader structure ?

A sole trader does not have the same requirement as a sole director of a company to be resident in Australia so this is another suitable structure option.

A tax expert can advise you if you have changed residency and also about changing your structure from company to sole trader.

A sole  trader must pay taxes at the individual tax rate whereas a company will pay taxes at the company tax rate  which  can be lower.

3. Legal and other tools to help you make your move overseas easier

Below are some useful resources to help you make your overseas move go smoother.

a. Resident director services

Australian director services can accept a director role in your company for an annual fee. 

b. Virtual office services

You can use virtual office services for your business. Calls from  your Australian customers can be answered locally and in your business name. Some packages also include mail receipt and forwarding.

Also, as ASIC  requires a street address for the registered address not a PO Box  so this is another good reason to consider virtual office services.

c. Legal agreements

If you are allocating shares to your  appointed director,  you may wish to consider a shareholder agreement.  If you are hiring Australian employees or contractors to assist you then employment and contractor agreements can help you set clear expectations about roles,  responsibilities,  pay and minimise disputes.

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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