Starting a business is exciting.  It is your dream, and finally, you are taking that big daunting step to make it become a reality.  But it is also overwhelming because there are several areas that you need to consider and action as part of the start-up process.

Five key registrations are must-haves for your new business include:

  1. ABN

You will need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).  An ABN is a number that identifies your business.  It does not replace a tax file number.  An ABN is required for all business structures; whether you plan to operate as a sole trader or a company, you will need an ABN.

An ABN is an 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and community.  You’re entitled to an ABN if you’re:

  1. Carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia
  2. Making supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone
  3. A Corporations Act company

You can use an ABN to:

  1. Identify your business to others when ordering and invoicing
  2. Avoid pay as you go (PAYG) tax on payments you get
  3. Claim goods and services (GST) credits
  4. Claim energy grants credits
  5. Get an Australian domain name

2. Business Name

A business name is a name that your business operates under.  You will need to register a business name if you carry on business within Australia and are not trading under your own name.

Exceptions to this include:

  1. If you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname
  2. If you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all the partners’ names, or
  3. If you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company’s name

You can check to see if a business name is available to register by using the check business name availability search or by commencing an application to register a business name in ASIC Connect.

The fees for registering a business name are:

  1. $36 for one year
  2. $85 for three years

Registering a business name does not protect you against third party claims for trademark infringement.

To ensure your proposed business name doesn’t infringe on an existing registered trademark, you should use IP Australia’s Australian Trade Mark Search to search for existing trademarks.

Before 28 May 2012, the Australian Business Register (ABR) collected names used by entities to carry out their business activities. The ABR displays these names as trading names, but trading name records have not been updated since the national business name register commenced on 28 May 2012.

Trading names do not meet the requirements of a registered business name.

3. TFN

All businesses need a tax file number (TFN).

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.

If you’re going to operate your business through a partnership, company, trust or another type of organisation, it will need a separate TFN.

4. GST

Goods and services tax (GST) applies to most goods and services sold in Australia.

Goods and services tax (GST) is a tax of 10{3d98e36193c0092768a1ab39f2e19ca7c948a8ec06b27e6ab5fd7ceb67f265c2} on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. If your business is registered for GST, you have to collect this extra money (one-eleventh of the sale price) from your customers. You pay this to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when it’s due.

You must register for GST if:

  1. Your business has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more
  2. Your non-profit organisation has a GST turnover of $150,000 or more
  3. You provide taxi or limousine travel (including ride-sourcing services like Uber, GoCatch, Didi or OLA) regardless of your GST turnover
  4. you want to claim fuel tax credits for your business, regardless of your GST turnover

If you’re a non-resident there are special rules that may apply to you.

Otherwise, registration for GST is optional.


As an employer, you have a role to play in helping your payees meet their end-of-year tax liabilities. You do this by collecting pay as you go (PAYG) withholding amounts from payments you make to:

  1. Your employees
  2. Other workers, such as contractors that you have voluntary agreements with
  3. Businesses that don’t quote their Australian business number (ABN)

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.


We at  Safety In Numbers can help guide you through the process of ensuring you meet registration needs.  You can find out more in about our services here…..Services

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