Regulations that matter

The top 19 things you must do!


The following list is general, but needs to be completed before starting most businesses, although of course each business will have its own requirements.


Business premises


  • Know the business address. Sounds obvious, but if it is to be leased, negotiate the lease and obtain agreement for leasing. That way the premise’s address can be used in registrations.

Company registration

  • If the business is to be conducted through a company, arrange for registration as a priority through your external accountants.

Business name

  • If the business is to be conducted under a business name, you must register that name. Again, get to it and arrange through the external accountants.


Partnership agreement

  • If the business is to be conducted as a partnership, arrange for a partnership agreement to be prepared by the lawyers for the business.

Bank account

  • Open a bank account in the name of the company or the business name.


Phone connection

  • Apply for and establish a phone number for the business landline.
  • Request a user-friendly phone number if possible.


  • Make application for an ABN with registration as an employer for PAYG withholding requirements in respect of employees.



  • Register for GST in the application for the ABN. Registration for GST is not generally required for a business with an annual turnover of less than $75,000 a year, however for such a business conducting general trading with other businesses, consideration should be given to registering and being in the GST system for simplicity in trading with other business.


  • Apply to a WorkCover Agent to register for WorkCover. This registration is necessary even if the only initial employee is the proprietor of the business.
  • It is essential that registration for WorkCover be effected prior to any employee commencing employment (not just prior to payment of wages). The registration cannot be made later with an effective earlier date. Failure to register prior to the employment of employees means that the business is uninsured against any workplace accident.

Payroll tax

  • If appropriate, apply for registration for payroll tax if the annual remuneration will exceed the annual exemption level. And don’t forget to find out whether the grouping provisions apply.

Employees tax declarations

  • Arrange for employees’ tax declaration forms to be completed and set to the ATO at commencement of employment.


  • Provide employees with SuperChoice forms for completion and return. Set up a system for payment of employer superannuation contributions to the designated superannuation funds by the due dates.


  • Arrange for appropriate business insurance including legal liability (public risk), business interruption (loss of profits including tenants liability), fire, burglary, vehicle insurance. Obtain an insurance cover note prior to any preparations for opening for business. See Insurance section.



  • Plan and arrange all printing requirements for the business.



  • Apply for all permits necessary for the business including premises use, plant operation.


  • Apply for any patents necessary to protect the products or processes of the business. Visit IP Australia for details.


  • Register trademarks as required to protect the business name, logo or products. Visit IP Australia for details.

Domain name

Due dates

  • Maintain a register for all due dates of registrations to record when renewals are due. One example is the renewal for a business name due every three years. The business should monitor the renewal date to ensure renewal is made and not rely of the authority for notification of the date for renewal.


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