Are you a U.S. citizen or U.S. company wanting to set up a business in Australia?
Setting up a business is exciting; doing so from the America can be a difficult task. At Corney & Lind Lawyers, we can help you set up a business with sound practical legal advice and walk you through the process as you expand into new territory.
How do I set up a business in Australia?
Firstly, it is important to consider the legal business structure right for your business. There are various forms of U.S. company structures, such as S and/or C Corporations, Limited Liability Company (LLC), which will need specific advice on structuring a similar Australian business model like partnership agreements, proprietary limited or companies limited by guarantee.
Seeking advice from an Australian lawyer with experience in the area is important, as an incorrect decision on business structuring can have serious consequences and/or tax implications.
In making a decision to incorporate a company, or trading as a sole trader under an Australian Business Number (ABN) requires you to consider factors such as the relevant tax implications, liability risks and asset protection. Our Commercial lawyers can provide you with legal advice on these factors and strategize an appropriate structure suitable within an Australian context.
As a U.S. Citizen, am I eligible to set up a business in Australia?
To be eligible for an ABN, a U.S Citizen must ensure that they provide proof of identity. When providing proof of identity, a U.S. Citizen can produce two of the three following documents:
- U.S. Drivers Licence;
- U.S. Passport; and/or
- U.S. Birth Certificate
These documents must be certified copies of the originals.
Further, for a U.S. Citizen to take on the role of a business Director, they must ensure that at least one Director to the company is an Australian resident.
Advantages and disadvantages to registering a business in Australia
There are many benefits of registering your business in Australia:
- Simplification of the management of money and ownership of assets;
- Legal and financial protection that protects against damages and or contractual obligations of individuals;
- Clarification and formalisation of objectives, allowing for a streamlined approach to the objects and rules of the company;
- All regulations are set out that govern how the company should operate. These govern how the company will continue to act fairly and honestly and have accountability to it’s members;
- Allows for a far greater range of public and private funding; and
- Tax advantages due to incorporation.
- Being willing to forgo total privacy when it comes to financial issues;
- The rise of public scrutiny into the activities of the company;
- A lack of flexibility because of regulations set by government legislation;
- The cost of public liability; and
- The need to ensure recorded, detailed minutes are kept of membership and dealings with the members.
What Business Name should I choose?
Choosing a business is something that must be considered. If you are using your own individual name then you do not need to register it. However, if you wish to use the same company name that you use in America, you must either have this as a registered business name or trade under a company name in Australia.
There are some restrictions when deciding your name. These are:
- You cannot use a name that someone else has claimed;
- You cannot have a name that offends public decency;
- The name cannot lead to confusion with another business; and
- The name cannot imply a connection with another body like churches, charities or any part of government.
If the business name is the same name used in America, there is some merit to your business name having prior use. There are certain rules that apply, thus we do advise you seek legal advice from our Trademark Lawyer.
How do I promote my Business in Australia?
Once you have established a business name, product, service or field of business, the next step is to ensure that there is public promotion of it.
This is critical to ensure exposure and having your business recognized. Some areas that we can assist you with include:
- Trade marks and copyright;
- Your domain name, business advertising and website terms; and
- Commercial and service agreements, franchising opportunities, distribution rights and licensing (if necessary)
Will I need to lease a Business Premises?
Most of the time, a business will operate from a ‘bricks and mortar’ premise rather than just online. If this applies to you, some relevant considerations to make will be advice on whether the place you want to have your business can be used as a place of business. In some cases you may need to apply to the local council or other governing bodies to gain approval.
Setting up a business in Australia can be daunting. But if you get the right advice in first instance, it will save you a lot of heartache in the future. Let Corney & Lind Lawyers, be your Australian lawyers to help set up your business and ensure it gets off to a great start!
Contact our Australian lawyer (based in California) for an introduction
Natasha Duff (Senior Lawyer) is our Australian lawyer (Australian legal practitioner) based in California, USA. If you need assistance with Australian Commercial law, contact her for an efficient facilitation of your matter.