How Long Does It Take To Register a Company in Australia?

19 April, 2024 · 7 min read
Nikita Filippov

Discover how long it takes to register a company in Australia and learn about the process, requirements, and factors influencing the duration.

Thinking about starting your own company in Australia? It's a significant decision, but the good news is that the registration process isn't as lengthy as you might expect. While it does require attention to detail, completing the necessary paperwork can be relatively quick. However, before you begin, there are some crucial steps to address.

Below, we’ll go over everything involved in registering a company and the general duration you can anticipate.

Let’s start!

How To Set Up A Company In Australia

Here is a quick overview of the key steps on how to register a company before we proceed further:

🟠 Registration Process: You can register your company online or via a paper form. The online process typically results in instant registration, while the paper form method may take up to three weeks to process.

🟠 Choose a Company Name: Ensure your chosen name is unique and complies with ASIC regulations. It should not be similar to existing company names or registered business names. Consider checking the ASIC Register and Australian Trade Mark Search for any conflicts.

🟠 Establish Company Rules: Decide whether to adopt replaceable rules from the Corporations Act, create a constitution, or combine both.

🟠 Select Shareholders and Directors: Determine who will be the shareholders and directors of the company. Directors must be at least 18 years old and ordinarily reside in Australia.

🟠 Define Share Structure: Decide on the number and class of shares each shareholder will own. Consider the rights and restrictions associated with different classes of shares, such as ordinary shares or preference shares.

🟠 Choose State/Territory of Registration: You can register your company in any state or territory of Australia. If you want to apply for government grants, check out what areas they apply to. 

 🟠Nominate Principal Place of Business and Registered Office: Provide addresses for the company's principal place of business and registered office. Ensure these addresses are not PO boxes and keep them updated with ASIC.

🟠 Complete Relevant Paperwork: Once all decisions are made and consent is obtained, complete the necessary paperwork or online forms to register the company.

How Long Does Business Name Registration Take in Australia?

Once you've decided on the structure of your business, you can proceed to register its name. Your business name is essentially the title under which you operate. 

Registration is mandatory unless:

  • You're operating solo, and your first and last name serves as the business name.
  • You're in a partnership, and the business name incorporates the names of all partners.
  • You're already registered as an Australian company, and the business name matches your company's name. In this case, you'll also be assigned an Australian Company Name (ACN).

Once your business name is registered, you are free to promote your brand and work on establishing your presence in the market.

While you can get creative with it, it should also comply with the ASIC's requirements.

Registration offers legal protection, safeguarding your business name against unauthorized use by others.


If the business name you're eyeing is already taken, ASIC advises tweaking it to ensure it's unique among existing names. For instance, suppose you wanted to name your business "Sunny Days Bakery," but it's already in use.

In that case, you might consider altering it to "Sunny Delight Bakery" to differentiate it.

What’s the Expected Wait Approval?

The registration process takes no longer than a few minutes, but that also depends on whether you already have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Once you've filled out the application, submitted the necessary documents, and paid the registration fee, you'll get an email confirming your business name registration.

However, it's best to wait until you receive your registration certificate before making business materials like business cards or creating a logo.

After your application is approved, you can expect to receive your registration certificate within 24 to 48 business hours. This certificate officially confirms your business name registration, allowing you to start trading under that name. 

Make sure to keep this certificate safe because you'll need to show it to banks and other entities when setting up your company.

What Is an ABN?

Before we discuss the timeline, let's cover the basics. An ABN, short for Australian Business Number, is a special 11-digit code given by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

It's crucial for tax and business purposes and is needed by almost all businesses.

Requirements for an ABN

Here's a simple breakdown of what you'll need:

  • Business Entity: Your business needs to be a legitimate entity, whether it's a sole trader, partnership, company, trust, or something else.
  • Operating in Australia: Your business should either be based in Australia or actively doing business within the country.
  • Tax Obligations: You need to be ready to meet your tax obligations, like filing annual tax returns and following Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules if they apply to you.
  • Identity and Legal Name: You'll need to provide accurate personal details and the legal name of your business.
  • Business Structure: Depending on your business structure, you might need extra documents. For example, companies need an Australian Company Number (ACN).
  • Reason for ABN: You need a valid reason for getting an ABN, like starting a new business or changing your business structure.


You can use an ABN to:

  • Identify your business when ordering and invoicing.
  • Avoid pay-as-you-go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive.
  • Claim goods and services tax (GST) credits.
  • Claim energy grants credits.
  • Obtain an Australian domain name.

However, before you apply for ABN, make sure you are eligible for it.

If you apply for an ABN, register for GST, and claim GST refunds when you're not entitled, you could be subject to prosecution or criminal charges.

How Long Does It Take To Get an ABN?

The process of obtaining an ABN can vary in duration. Once you submit your application online, it usually takes around 20 business days for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to verify it. After approval, you'll receive your ABN in approximately 28 days, either via email or postal mail. 

We recommend applying well in advance of your planned start date for business activities to account for potential fluctuations in processing time.

Potential Reasons Why You’re Waiting on Your ABN Number

Even if you followed all the necessary steps, sometimes there can be delays in approval due to various factors, such as:

  • Lack of TFN or Incorrect Entry: Your Tax File Number (TFN) is crucial for ABN applications. Ensure you have a TFN and enter it correctly to avoid delays.
  • Non-Residency Status: Non-residents applying for an ABN must also possess a TFN. If you reside overseas, you must apply for a TFN as an individual outside Australia.
  • Personal Details Mismatch: If the personal details you enter don't match what's on ATO records, they might need to be checked manually, causing delays. Make sure your details are consistent to avoid this.
  • Hyphenated Names: Hyphenated names can cause delays if they do not match ATO records. 
  • Formatting Errors: It's really important to fill out application forms accurately. Only give the information that's asked for and follow the formatting guidelines to avoid any processing problems.

Getting Licenses and Permits

Another important and most time-consuming part of registering a company is obtaining all the licenses and permits you need.

We can't say exactly how long you'll wait for each permit because it depends on factors like your business type, location, and whether the permits are from the local council, city, or government.

Let’s say you want to open a cafe in Sydney Olympic Park, NSW, have a cute little sitting patio, and host wine dinners. In that case, you’ll need around 48 permits, such as:

  • Approval to Manage Licensed Premises: If you're appointed as an approved manager of licensed premises.
  • Australian Consumer Law (ACL): Compliance is required if you sell goods or services to consumers.
  • Australian Privacy Principles: Compliance is needed if you collect and use personal information in a business capacity.
  • Dining Music Licence: Required to play copyrighted music at your cafe.
  • Director Identification Number: Needed if you're a director of a company or registered entity.
  • Employer Requirements - Superannuation Guarantee: Obligatory if you're an employer for superannuation contributions.
  • Food Business Notification for City of Parramatta Council and Cumberland Council: Required to operate a food business in these areas.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration: Mandatory for businesses with GST turnover above a certain threshold.
  • Recognized Competency Card (Liquor): Required to sell, supply, or serve liquor at licensed premises.
  • Registration for Payroll Tax: Required if your total Australian wages exceed the monthly threshold.
  • Single-Use Plastics Ban: Compliance with the ban on certain single-use plastic items is required.
  • Work Health and Safety: Mandatory compliance if you operate a business or workplace.

How To Speed Things Up?

As you can see, registering a company is not as difficult as it may seem. You just need to follow the rules and regulations. However, as we all know, mistakes happen. One typo, and you’ll be left wondering for weeks where your confirmation letter is.

What if someone could do all the hard lifting for you?

ANNA is a company specializing in financial services for small businesses, specifically regarding the registration process in Australia.

With ANNA, you gain access to a comprehensive suite of tools, including business accounts, bookkeeping software, and tax assistance, all from a single place!

Let’s take a look at some of the most outstanding features:

Quick Company Registration: ANNA's Formations service facilitates swift registration of new businesses, whether as a sole trader or Limited Company, through ASIC.

Free Limited Company Registration: ANNA One package covers the $576 incorporation fee, allowing you to register a Limited Company for free.

Notification Alerts: Receive instant notifications when your registration application is complete.

Additional Services: ANNA offers various supplementary services at affordable rates, including:

  • Virtual Office Address: Maintain privacy by opting for an AU address.
  • Business Account: Open a business account seamlessly.
  • Bookkeeping Software: Access user-friendly bookkeeping tools.
  • Accounting Assistance: Accounting services are available for comprehensive financial management.

With ANNA, you get clarity and guidance every step of the way. 

Plus, with our assistance, you can save time and effort by avoiding the hassle of figuring everything out yourself!

Start now and enjoy the benefits of a smooth registration journey with ANNA!

Register a company in Australia with ANNA
Register a company with ANNA and start operating today
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