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Open a Branch in Australia

Updated on Wednesday 21st July 2021

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Open-a-Branch-in-Australia.jpgA foreign company can start the process of company formation in Australia by selecting one of the options available under the Australian law. Foreign investors have the possibility of incorporating a local company, or they can also opt to operate through a subsidiary or a branch office in Australia, depending on their investment plans, capital, business model and other important factors. 
 
For those who want to open a branch in Australia, we have prepared an article where investors can discover the main advantages of this structure, but also the responsibilities, the tax requirements and accounting procedures that can apply to it. For more details on the incorporation of a local branch, as well as for legal representation on the registration process, please address to our team of specialists in company incorporation in Australia
 

What are the basic characteristics of an Australian branch?

 
The Australian branch is a structure that has to be controlled by the parent company abroad, in accordance with the applicable law. This is why this structure is highly recommended to companies that want to implement the same business model in all countries it has branches or other representative units, as the branch is not legally entitled to carry its own business model or take its own management decisions. 
 
Certain rights are applicable to an Australian branch of course, but they are limited. Below, you can find out the basic characteristics of the branch office and find out if the structure is suitable to your business needs. If you are not sure on whether you should operate through a branch office or a subsidiary, our team of specialists can help you make a decision in the process of setting up a company in Australia under one of the two structures: 
 
  • when starting the process of company formation in Australia, the incorporation documents of the parent company abroad are required;
  • the branch office is considered a non-Australian resident, but which is issued with a Australian Registered Body Number;
  • for the liabilities of the branch, the parent company is fully responsible;
  • the rules of company formation require foreign investors to appoint an Australian agent, who will be responsible for the branch office;
  • the branch office must also have a registered office, a compulsory requirement for all companies operating here;
  • with regards to taxes, the branch is liable to the payment of the local corporate taxes, but which will be calculated solely for the income obtained from activities developed in Australia.
 
Please mind that the branch office will also be liable for the payment of the GST (the Australian VAT). The tax compliance law imposes branch offices to submit specific financial documents, including the ones of the parent company abroad; if you want to set up a company in Australia as a branch office, our team of consultants can offer more details on other tax aspects you should be aware of. 
 

What is the data on foreign companies in Australia?

 
Given that the branch office is a type of structure that is generally selected for incorporation by foreign companies, we will present below few important details regarding the presence of foreign companies in this country, as presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
 
  • in 2014-2015, there were 9,946 foreign owned companies that were operating in Australia;
  • although they accounted for only 0,5% of all the businesses registered in this country, they represented 20,8% of the total added value created by the business environment;
  • those who want to open a company in Australia should know that a large proportion of the foreign companies hired less than 20 employees;
  • amongst the top 2,000 companies operating here, 37% of them were represented by foreign owned businesses, which accounted for $S 1,1 trillion worth of assets;
  • in 2021, the top foreign investors in Australia are the United States of America (accounting for $S 929,4 billion) and the United Kingdom (S$ 737,4 billion). 
 

What documents are necessary for branch registration in Australia? 

 
The list of the documents necessary for the registration of a branch office in Australia is extensive and this is why we recommend you to address to our specialists, in order to have information on all the documents you should prepare. In order to open a company in Australia as a branch, you will need to present the Certificate of Incorporation of the parent company, as well as its statutory documents. 
 
The information on the directors of the company is also required, as well as other details on the foreign company. Please mind that in practice, it happens very often for the Australian authorities to reject a large share of the branch applications due to incomplete files. In order to avoid this, please contact our team for legal advice
 

Meet us in Canberra


Call us now at +44 203 287 0408  to set up an appointment with our business consultants in Canberra. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Australia.

As a BridgeWest client, you will benefit from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in Australia.

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