These days, just about every sort of business has some sort of presence. For a business to be successful, it has to be online; if it’s not, it will struggle to succeed. Many of them don’t have any sort of real-world presence and are entirely online. In Australia, there are always new businesses launching, including many that are online only.
A particularly popular type of online business is the gambling site. Online casinos and sportsbooks attract many players and punters from around the world. One of the ways online casinos in Australia get new people to sign up is by offering no deposit casino bonus codes for existing players. Australia has a very lax approach to gambling, so the laws are relaxed: gambling is entirely legal, and a significant percentage of the population regularly practises it.
Gambling sites are businesses, and operators have to go through a lengthy and quite taxing process for them to get set up. In this article, we’ll look at the steps you have to go through in order to register an online business of any kind in Australia.
Registering Your Business
The first step, of course, is coming up with an idea and getting everything set up. From your site and products to the staff and the finances, there are many different aspects you have to consider.
To set up your operation as a certified business or go a step further and establish a company, you’ll need to visit the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service page. Here you can register your business or company and apply for relevant and necessary taxes. Once you’ve started your application, you’re free to leave it and resume it at any time; all details and information will be saved. Once submitted, you can track the application, and you will be notified when it’s been checked over and everything’s been confirmed.
If setting up an online business is something you haven’t done before, don’t worry. There’s plenty of help available. The Business Registration Service has a wealth of information to do with everything related to setting up businesses, from planning and acquiring resources to sorting out finances and being aware of what’s legal and what’s not.
Setting up any type of business, whether it’s a small, local one likely to have lesser profits or one that’s intended to be scaled up significantly, can be a challenging, stressful and overdrawn matter. Thankfully though, it doesn’t always have to be that way. The Business Registration Service’s Guide to Starting a Business is your go-to resource. It walks you through each step of the process and, for each one, offers several actions that are either recommended or required. There is a lot to take in, but the information is presented in a user-friendly way, and you shouldn’t have any problems understanding exactly what is needed to get your business set up.
Get an ABN
As part of the formal setup process, you may need to apply for an ABN or Australian Business Number. It isn’t required if you are going to be setting up any kind of business in Australia, but it is strongly recommended. Applying for a business number is completely free of charge, but there’s no guarantee the Registration Service will accept your venture for one.
Each ABN that is handed out is a unique series of 11 digits. So if you have multiple businesses, you’ll have a different ABN for each one. You can officially class whatever you’re doing as a business, not just as a hobby with an ABN. You can also confirm your operation as a genuine business when interacting with others, register your business name and apply for Australian domain names, i.e. websites ending in ‘.com.au’ or anything else ending in ‘au’.
It’s worth pointing out that if you are just selling online, an ABN isn’t strictly necessary in case you’re trading less than $75,000. Likewise, if you’re just selling stuff as a hobby – selling unwanted things on eBay, for example – and you are only bringing in a few thousand dollars in a year, you’ll be fine without an ABN. However, if you’re serious about growing your sales and increasing your revenue year on year, it is recommended that you get an ABN, even if your turnover hasn’t quite reached $75,000 yet.
A Hobby or a Business?
You may be struggling to determine if your selling practices should be classed as a hobby or a genuine business. To help with this, the Australian Taxation Office has put together a short questionnaire. If you answer ‘Yes’ to most of the questions, your operation is a business; if not, it’s a hobby. So here are the questions for you to ask yourself:
- Did you set up your online sales with the intention of being a business?
- Do you pay for your online-selling presence?
- Is your main intention to make a profit?
- Do you make repeated or regular sales?
- If you make the items you sell online, do you charge more than they cost you to make?
- Do you manage your online-selling activity as if it were a business?
- Is what you are selling online similar to or the same as what might be sold in a ‘bricks and mortar’ business?
The Australian Tax Office has further information for each question to help you decide how to respond. If you’re not sure how your operation should be classed, asking yourself these questions can be a useful way of steering you in the right direction.
Register for GST
We’ve already mentioned the threshold of $75,000. If your operation is making more than this amount a year and getting an ABN, you’ll need to register for GST, which is Australia’s goods and services tax. GST is a 10% tax imposed on most of Australia’s goods and services and is used to fund various things provided by states, such as maintaining hospitals and running public transport systems.
You’ll have to bear GST in mind because it adds to the price of whatever it is you’re selling. However, some exemptions do not require this tax. These include:
- Some medicinal products
- Materials and products related to educational services
- Selected financial services
- Basic foods
You have to register for GST within 21 days of your profits reaching the $75,000 threshold. However, if you have a single company that operates multiple businesses, you only need to register once for the company; this will cover all businesses that operate under the parent company’s name.
If your turnover is below the threshold, then registering for GST is optional. However, you may wish to go ahead and register if your operation is likely to pass the threshold in the near future, even if it’s under it right now.
Registering for GST is easy enough to do. However, you’ll need your ABN to complete the process. The fastest and arguably most convenient way to do this is online through the Australian Tax Office’s Online Services for Business system.
Register for Other Taxes
GST is the leading tax you’ll have to register for when setting up an online business in Australia. In addition, there are several other essential taxes you’ll have to consider, though not all of them may apply to your business. These taxes are as follows:
- Pay As You Go (PAYG) Withholding. This is a tax on your employees’ income, as well as investment income payments, royalties and payments to directors.
- Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). This tax is applied if you provide your employees with fringe benefits. These include, but are not limited to, benefits to do with cars (both leasing and parking), various expenses, housing, board, living away from home and benefits to do with loans and debt.
- Luxury Car Tax (LCT). You only have to apply for this particular tax if you’re selling or importing luxury cars. That is, cars that meet the criteria to be classed as luxury vehicles
Fuel Tax Credits (FTC). Should you decide to register for this tax, you’ll receive credits on the tax you pay for certain eligible fuels that are used in your day-to-day operations.
- Wine Equalisation Tax (WET). If you’re selling wines and they meet certain criteria, you have to apply for this tax. Wines that count include fruit and vegetable wines (including grapes), plus sake, perry, mead and cider. Only wines with an ethyl alcohol volume of 1.15% or the above count.
The Australian Government’s Business Registration Service page has plenty of relevant information about each of these taxes to help you determine whether or not you need to apply for each one. However, it is recommended that you read through all the information provided on the site, including everything written about setting up a business from the first step onwards. By doing this, you’ll have a thorough knowledge of the process and will be less likely to make a mistake of some kind along the way.
If you don’t apply for a tax and it turns out that you should be paying that particular tax, you may get in trouble with the authorities. That is why it’s of paramount importance for you to double- and triple-check your business’s tax registrations.
The Business Registration Service
If you’re at a loss, the Business Registration Service can help. The site offers lots of help for every stage of the process, and if you get really stuck, it is recommended that you get in touch with a team member. There are several ways of getting in touch with the service – live chat, a phone line and an email address. The customer support system is available every day of the year except for Australian national public holidays.
The service isn’t just there to help get new ventures off the ground; it’s also there to help businesses and companies which already exist. So, for example, you can get support for things such as growing your business, accessing things such as government grants and finding out how to deal with unfavourable events such as the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever stage your online business is at, you’ll need to visit the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service website. We’ve mentioned this site several times throughout the article, and it’s important you make use of it. Not only can it help you with getting things established, but it can also help make your business a successful venture and can offer all the help and information you need.
In this article, we’ve looked at some of the things you have to do if you’re looking to set up an online business in Australia. The steps we’ve outlined here are easy enough to follow. Of course, you do have to jump through a few hoops to get your business correctly set up, but hopefully, once you do, the work will be worth it, and your business will be off to a flying start!