How Much Does It Cost to Register a Business?

Here's all the expenses you need to consider to register your business.

December 12, 2023

Fees Of Registering a New Business

When it comes to how to register a business in Australia, you’ll need to navigate various legal and compliance requirements before you can open your doors to customers. One of the first steps is officially registering your business with the necessary government agencies. 

However, the cost of registering a business can vary widely depending on the type of business structure you choose to establish. 

Here’s what you need to budget for. 

Cost to Register a Business Depends on the Structure

When starting a new business, one of the first decisions you’ll make is choosing your business structure. This decision carries weight, as your structure comes with different setup costs, legal protections, and ongoing compliance requirements

The four main business structures you should consider include: 

Sole Trader

As a sole trader, you operate the business as an individual. This means you take on unlimited liability for all business debts and legal issues. The upside is minimal setup costs. You only need to register your unique business name, which costs $42 for one year or $98 for three. Ongoing compliance is also straightforward—just lodge a personal tax return reporting your business income and expenses.


When two or more people partner together in business, you can formally establish a partnership structure. 

This involves registering the business name and drafting a partnership agreement. The agreement details each partner's ownership percentage, profit-sharing terms, voting rights, and responsibilities. 

Lawyers typically charge $500-$2,000 (depending on the firm) for creating a thorough partnership agreement. This upfront cost provides legal protection later on.


Registering as a company structure is more complex and costs more initially. You must register the company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 

At a minimum, this costs $576 for a proprietary company. Setup costs can be higher when using professional services like lawyers and accountants. The upside is that a company offers limited liability protection for directors and shareholders. Ongoing compliance, including annual reporting, audits, and strict recordkeeping, is also demanding.


A trust is a structure where the legal and beneficial ownership of assets are separated. A trust deed establishes the trust and spells out the rules, assets, and beneficiaries. 

You can register a standalone discretionary trust (with a personal trustee) for anywhere between  $150 and $1,500. In some states, you’ll also have to pay stamp duty. 

More complex trusts with corporate trustees (which is what you would be looking at if you were to set up your business this way) could cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500. 

These costs generally include lawyer fees to draft the trust deed, business name registration fees, trustee company registration fees, and stamp duty, where applicable. 

Note: Please seek professional financial advice for further clarification on the cost to set up and register your specific business. This article is intended to be general guidance only. Ashmans Accounting provides business registration services that incur an additional consulting fee. Contact us for more information. 

What is the Cost of Registering a Business Name? 

Once you’ve chosen your business structure, the next step is to register your official business name with the ASIC. This registration allows you to operate and trade under that exact name.

Registering your unique business name is required for any business structure - sole trader, partnership, company or trust. 

You can choose to register your business name for one year or three. You might only register for one year to test the business name before committing to it long-term. If you’re happy with it after the first year, you can then choose to renew it for another year or go for the 3-year option. 

Once the registration period expires, you’ll have to pay a renewal fee identical to the registration fee. 

The fees to register a business name with ASIC are:

  • $42 for one year
  • $98 for three years

Note: This cost frequently changes, so make sure you stay up to date with the relevant costs.

The process of registering your business name involves:

  • Checking availability using ASIC's Business Name Register search tool. This allows you to establish whether or not there are similar business names that already exist.
  • Submitting an application form through the Australian Business Register portal with your preferred name
  • Making payment of the applicable registration fee based on the duration
  • Receiving your certificate of registration from ASIC via email once it’s approved
  • Renewing your registration after 1 or 3 years to maintain rights to the name

Should You Pay To Trademark Your Business Name?

Yes, you should pay to trademark your business name when starting your business. Obtaining a registered trademark provides exclusive nationwide rights to use your distinctive brand name and logo for your goods or services. 

It is a key protection that prevents others from imitating or confusingly using the identity you have worked hard to establish.

The process of applying for trademark registration involves several steps. 

First, you need to thoroughly search IP Australia's database to ensure another business does not already have a similar trademark. Next, you prepare and file a complete application that shows the text and logo trademarks you want to register, along with details about your business and the goods/services you provide. The application fee starts at $250 for an individual applicant.

During examination, the trademarks undergo review, and you may need to respond to any objections raised at this stage. If approved within 6-8 months, you will receive an official certificate of registration from IP Australia.

Cost of Using a Private Business Registration Service

With the many steps involved in legally establishing a new business, you may hire a private service provider to handle the registration process. These professional services offer to take care of everything from choosing your business structure and name to completing all registrations and filings.

Need assistance? We can help you set up your business from the get-go with our business startup help services.

While extremely convenient, using an end-to-end business registration service comes with extra fees. Costs typically start from a few hundred, but can run over $2,000 depending on which components you need help with.

Some common private provider services and average pricing include:

  • Business structure advice: $250-$500+
  • Name search and registration: $100-$250+
  • Domain name registration: $20 per year+
  • Website setup: $300+
  • Logo design: $250+
  • Legal review: $500+
  • Tax planning and registration: $150+

While pricier upfront, allowing professionals to establish your business can save you significant time and frustration. Just be sure to weigh the tradeoffs of getting expert help versus going the DIY route as you set your startup budget.

Note: Please seek professional financial advice for further clarification on the cost to set up and register your specific business. This article is intended to be general guidance only. Ashmans Accounting provides business registration services that incur an additional consulting fee. Contact us for more information. 

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing a structure like sole trader, partnership, company or trust will determine your initial and ongoing costs. Weigh options carefully.
  • Regardless of structure, you’ll need to register your distinctive business name, which can cost between $42 and $98, depending on how long you want the registration to be valid for.
  • You should consider trademarking your name and logo for protection against imitation. 
  • Using a private service provider can cost a few hundred, but saves time and hassle.

The team at Ashmans Accounting can guide you through setting up the right structure, registering your business, and staying compliant.  Contact us today to start your registration journey off smoothly!

Note: Please seek professional financial advice for further clarification on the cost to set up and register your specific business. This article is intended to be general guidance only. Ashmans Accounting provides business registration services that incur an additional consulting fee. Contact us for more information. 


How much does it cost to register a business in Australia?

The cost to officially register your business depends on the structure you choose. For a sole trader, business name registration and tax enrollments may only cost around $48 or more. Partnerships cost more.

Companies have high setup fees ranging from $500-$2,000 for legal paperwork, ASIC registration, and accounting setup. Trusts add an extra cost because you’ll need seek legal help to draw up and register the to trust deed. Trademarking your business name costs $250.

A private service provider can also tack on an additional cost. 

So the cost will vary depending on the structure you choose and how you go about the set-up process (i.e. will you do it yourself or get a private service provider to do it on your behalf).

How do I register my business in Australia?

To register your business in Australia, first choose your business structure - sole trader, partnership, company or trust. Next, check availability and register your distinctive business name nationally for $42-$98. Apply for an ABN, GST registration, and other required tax enrollments. The team at Ashman’s Accounting can help you with this. 

Additional legal documents and forms are required for more complex structures like companies and trusts. You can handle the process yourself or hire a professional service provider to complete registrations and filings at an extra cost. 

How do I register a small business in South Australia?

To register a small business in South Australia, choose your structure, then check availability for your proposed business name using ASIC’s register. Pay $42-$98 onwards to register the name nationally or just for SA. Apply for an ABN and GST registration with the ATO if applicable. 

If becoming a company or trust, submit additional ASIC forms and pay fees to establish your legal entity. Open a business bank account, set up an accounting system, and complete other tax enrollments based on your circumstances. Hiring a consultant can help guide you through the steps specific to SA.

What is an Australian Business Number (ABN)? 

An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit number used to identify your business. An ABN is important because it registers your business with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and is required on all tax documents, like invoices.

To be eligible for an ABN, you must intend to conduct business in Australia or derive income from activities based in Australia. Sole traders, partnerships, companies, trusts and other entities need to register for an ABN when starting up.

What Taxes Do Businesses Pay in Australia?

Businesses in Australia pay a range of federal, state and territory taxes depending on their structure, size, industry and activities. Some of the main business taxes include:

  • Income Tax - Sole traders report business income on their personal tax returns. Sole traders report business income on their personal tax returns, but all other business structures have varying tax rates according to their entities.
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax) - Businesses with over $75,000 in annual turnover must register for GST and charge 10% GST on taxable sales. You can claim GST credits on business purchases.
  • PAYG Withholding - Businesses with employees must withhold tax from salaries and wages paid. The amounts withheld must be regularly reported and paid to the ATO.
  • FBT (Fringe Benefits Tax) - Tax of 47% is payable on the value of fringe benefits provided to employees, like cars, entertainment and employee discounts.
  • WET (Wine Equalisation Tax) - Wholesale sales of wine attract a 29% WET that can be claimed as a credit.
  • Luxury Car Tax - A 33% tax applies to cars valued over the luxury car threshold, which is updated annually.
  • Fuel Tax Credits - Businesses can claim back the fuel tax component of fuel used in eligible machinery, plant, equipment and heavy vehicles.