Legal requirements for companies
New ID requirement for directors
Company directors are now required by law to apply for a director identification number (director ID). Find out more at our Director ID information page.
If you want to set up a company, you will need to complete the registration process with ASIC. You will also need to check that your company complies with its obligations under Australian law. On this page we outline your legal requirements.
- Set up a registered office, place of business and directors
- Create and maintain your business name
- Update ASIC on key changes
- Keep financial records
- Pay fees to ASIC
- Check annual statements
- Get professional advice if you need it
You will need to set up a current registered office that ASIC can use to send documents to the company. Your principal place of business will be the location from which your company operates its business.
You must also inform ASIC of the name, date of birth and current residential address of all directors of the company.
Find out more on our checklist for registering a company.
Company directors must also personally comply with obligations under Australian law. Find out more about company director obligations for small business.
If the company conducts business using a business name, you must ensure that the business name is registered and renewed when registration expires (every one or three years). We will send the company a business name renewal notice 30 days before the renewal is due.
You must notify ASIC of changes to the company’s registered office, principal place of business, directors and business name. You must notify ASIC within 28 days to avoid late fees.
Read more on how to update your company details with ASIC.
A company must keep up-to-date financial records that correctly record and explain transactions and the company’s financial position. Larger companies have additional obligations to lodge financial reports with ASIC.
Fees that companies must pay ASIC include company registration fees, annual review fees, lodgement fees and late fees. Find out more about ASIC fees.
Each year, we will send your company an annual statement. You will need to check the details on your annual statement, update any changes with ASIC and pay the associated annual company review fee. You must also pass a solvency resolution stating that you have reasonable grounds to believe that the company will be able to pay its debts as and when they become due and payable.
Find out more at Information Sheet 3 Annual statements (INFO 3).
Make sure you get trusted professional advice if you are uncertain about your legal obligations.
There are some important questions you should consider before engaging an adviser:
- Is the adviser a member of a professional body and are they subject to a code of conduct?
- Are they regulated by ASIC, the Australian Taxation Office or other government agencies?
- Is the adviser listed on ASIC’s banned and disqualified persons register or have they entered into an enforceable undertaking?
- If I receive bad advice or suspect misconduct, can I lodge a report with a professional body or a regulator?
- Do I need help to better understand my legal obligations and understand how I might be personally liable for my decisions?
- Is the adviser the most suitable to assist with the problem I have? A company director may need to engage separate advisers when seeking advice about the affairs of the company and in respect of their personal affairs.
If the advice you get doesn’t appear right, or if it sounds too good to be true, get a second opinion from another adviser.
Business.gov.au has some great tips on how to find a business adviser.