New Businesses in Australia

Australia offers an excellent opportunity for businesses in the United States, the UK and Europe that are looking to expand geographically. Australia’s economy is booming, it is located in the Asia Pacific region, its time zones allow for easy communication with China, Japan, and Asia generally, and it has first world communications.

For a business that wants to set up in Australia visa options and choices of business structures are closely linked.

The usual visa of choice for overseas businesses wanting to set up in Australia is a subclass 457 visa.  This visa allows for tax efficient salary packaging in advance of a visa application being lodged with Australia’s Department of Immigration.

An Australian limited company business structure can be a problem initially, as all Australian limited companies are required under Australian law to have an Australian resident director – a business that is planning to start in Australia may not have a locally resident individual who is suitable to fulfil this requirement.

The team at GM Corporate invites overseas businesses that want to set up a business in Australia to contact us, as we can provide a nominee director service to meet the local director requirement.

An alternative to a limited company is to use an Australian branch of the overseas business. The 457 visa is arranged through sponsorship by the overseas business acting as an overseas business sponsor which has been approved by the Australian Department of Immigration.

Using the Australian branch strategy an Australian limited company can be established once the person who has been sponsored initially is physically in Australia as the holder of a subclass 457 visa.

If an Australian branch approach is the preferred strategy it is critical to ensure the occupation that is nominated by the overseas business for the purpose of the grant of the 457 visa is one that allows flexibility as to the choice of employer – most occupations that can be nominated under the 457 visa program require the sponsored employer to be employed only by the Department of Immigration approved business sponsor.  There are though a limited number of occupations where there is some flexibility as to employer.

The team at GM Corporate and our associates who advise on matters of a tax nature are ideally placed to assist overseas businesses that want to establish a presence in Australia.

Our services in this area include:

  • Knowledge of visa strategies, allowing us to discuss visa pathways with employers that want to set up in Australia
  • Advice on salary packaging, to mitigate tax in Australia
  • Preparation, e-lodgement, and management to a decision of visa applications
  • Registration of a new business in Australia with the company regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, or ASIC
  • Obtaining an Australian Business Number (an ABN), Pay As You Go (PAYG) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registrations from the Australian Taxation Office (the ATO)
  • Maintenance of the Australian payroll, including Australian superannuation computations
  • Preparation and e-submission of quarterly returns (Business Activity Statements)
  • Preparation of annual accounts and the Australian tax return for the business, for e-submission to the ATO
  • Preparation of personal tax returns for employees who are working in Australia, again lodged electronically with the ATO

Wherever possible our fees are fixed and agreed in advance of any commitment on the part of our clients.

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If you would like to discuss your requirements or would like some more information, please contact us.

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