Cover Image for 5 Start-up Registration Must-Haves

5 Start-up Registration Must-Haves

1. ABN

An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and community. It’s also used for tax and other business activities. An ABN enables you to:

  • identify your business to others when ordering and invoicing;
  • avoid pay as you go (PAYG) tax on payments you get;
  • claim goods and services tax (GST) credits;
  • claim energy grants credits; and
  • get an Australian domain name.

Not everyone needs an ABN. To find out if you need one, visit the Australian Business Register (ABR) website.

2. Business Name

A business name is the name your business operates under. It’s what separates you from your competitors and enables customers to create a connection to your brand.

To confirm your business name is available and indeed, unique, check the business name register on the ASIC website. This registration is applied nationally.

Before you can register a business name, you must have:

  • identified your business structure;
  • an Australian business number (ABN) or ready to apply for one; and
  • checked your business name is available.

The fees to register your business name with ASIC are:

  • $36 for 1 year; or
  • $85 for 3 years.

Please note, registering a business name doesn’t protect your Intellectual Property (IP) and brand. If you want exclusive rights to your business name, you will need to trade mark it. Consult a legal professional to ensure you have the right protection.

3. TFN

A Tax File Number (TFN) is required for all businesses regardless of their structure. If you’re going to operate your business as a sole trader, your individual TFN is used for both your business and personal dealings with the ATO. For all other entities (partnerships, companies, and trusts), a separate TFN is required.

A business’ TFN is an important part of it’s tax and super records as well as it’s identity.

4. GST

Goods and services tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. Generally, businesses and other organisations registered for GST will include GST in the price they charge for their goods and services, and claim credits for the GST included in the price of goods and services they buy for their business. This is reported and paid/refunded to/by the ATO through your entities Business Activity Statement.

GST registration is compulsory if:

  • your business or enterprise has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more;
  • your non-profit organisation has a GST turnover of $150,000 or more;
  • you provide taxi or limousine travel including ride-sourcing services for a fare. This applies regardless of your GST turnover; or
  • you want to claim fuel tax credits for your business, regardless of your GST turnover.

You may elect to register for GST prior to meeting any of the above thresholds. Special rules may also apply to non-residents.

5. PAYG Withholding

If you pay salaries or wages, you must withhold an amount from payments you make to:

  • employees;
  • some contractors you have a voluntary agreement with; and
  • businesses that don’t quote their ABN to you.

In each case, you must register for Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) before you can withhold that amount. You must provide the withheld amounts to the ATO, report those amounts regularly on your activity statements, and then lodge a PAYG withholding annual report confirming your total withholding. 

Your requirements may be different for amounts you report and finalise through Single Touch Payroll. Find out more about Single Touch Payroll at the ATO website.

Need help?

We here at VCFO Accountants love working with start-up businesses. We can help guide you through the process of ensuring you meet your registration needs with your ABN, TFN, Business Name, GST & PAYG Withholding. We take you through each step of the process.

Let us worry about your registration matters so you can focus on building your business. Contact us today!