A branch or representative office in Australia refers to a representative office, or a place from which an overseas company will conduct market research, or other investigation ahead of establishing a branch or subsidiary. An Australian branch office does not allow you to trade or do business in Australia.
To apply for an Australia Branch requires overseas companies to file registration papers with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Once registered, the foreign company is able to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) and trade locally.
Following private consultation, overseas business often choose to register a subsidiary company in Australia, rather than a branch office. Reasons for this include the complex taxation reporting of the overseas company, and the various advantages of having a separate entity to operate in Australia.
The first step to registering a branch of you overseas company to do business in Australia is to check the availability of your company name. We can check the company name for you, or you can use the Australian Securities and Investments (ASIC) online tool.
Any foreign company registered to operate in Australia, must always have a local agent. The local agent of a registered foreign company acts in a similar capacity to that of a company director and:
We provide a professional local agent service to approved overseas clients wishing to register a branch in Australia.
A registered Australia branch of a foreign company operating in Australia must maintain an office in Australia that is open during standard business hours, or thereabouts.
A representative of your company, usually the local agent, must be present at the registered office whenever it is open.
The Australian registered branch must display the company’s name outside every office and place of business that is open to the public.
There are specific rules regarding the additional information that must be displayed, which also varies if your company is a bank or other authorised deposit-taking / financial institution.
To register an overseas entity as a foreign company in Australia, you will need to complete Form 402, which is the paper application for registration as a foreign company.
We can complete the form in full for your overseas companies as part of our Australia branch registration service.
All application forms must be sent in paper form to ASIC with original signatures where applicable. Supporting documentation usually includes:
There are very specific application requirements, which we are happy to discuss with you, in addition to completing your application.
Not less than once per calendar year, a registered foreign company must lodge an annual return within one month after the date of the annual general meeting (AGM).
Foreign companies registered in Australia must also lodge financial statements with ASIC at least once every calendar year. The time between lodgement of financial statements cannot be more than 15 months.
Financial statements generally consist of:
As there are fairly complex requirements to comply with the Australian rules & regulations, we strongly recommend a prior consolation with one of our independent specialist taxation practitioners.
As Australia is a full-tax jurisdiction, proper consultation with an Australian Tax Accountant should be undertaken prior to placing your order. Ongoing taxation compliance is absolutely crucial for all businesses, and where a resident director is provided, we must have the full cooperation of all clients in relation to transparency of Bookkeeping, Business Activity Statements, and all forms of tax filing. Certain businesses will require special licensing, and correct legal consolation should be undertaken prior to placing your order.
References & Links: