Streamlining business registration

The Government is making it easier to start a business by streamlining business registration. Initiatives announced under the $5.5 billion Growing Jobs and Small Business package include:

  • Developing a single online portal for business and company registration
    The Business Registration Service Beta is now available on the business.gov.au website. The service allows businesses to apply for multiple business and tax registrations in the same place. It's simple to use and means that businesses no longer need to contact multiple agencies to register.
  • Publishing new computer code known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
    Registration APIs are now available allowing the private sector to offer alternative online registration services.
  • Examining the cost and benefits of a Single Business Identifier (SBI)
    The Government committed to analysing the costs and benefits associated with adopting an SBI. The SBI would have replaced Australian Company Numbers (ACNs) and Business Tax File Numbers (BTFNs) with the Australian Business Number (ABN). The study concluded that the Government could pursue its objectives through its digital transformation agenda. As such, the Government will not abolish company numbers and instead progress measures to improve the way it connects with business through the digital transformation agenda.

Agencies involved

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science are developing the IT solutions for streamlining business registration. Targeted consultations have occurred throughout the development of the project.

Who will benefit?

Streamlining business registration will benefit:

  • people starting their business and who do not have any registrations for that business (they may have other businesses)
  • existing businesses that need to add a registration (such as a tax registration) to their existing business.

The Business Registration Service accepts the following registrations:

  • Company
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Business name
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
  • Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)
  • Fuel Tax Credits (FTC)
  • Luxury Car Tax (LCT)
  • AUSkey.

Single online portal for business and company registration

The Business Registration Service for business and company registration connects the ATO and ASIC to allow businesses to register without having to contact the agencies separately. The Business Registration Service:

  • is simple to use and provides all relevant information clearly in one place
  • allows applicants to save and resume an application
  • checks the availability of a proposed business or company name
  • includes customer support.

The Business Registration Service public Beta is now accepting real applications.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

The APIs that allow business registrations to occur in each government agency allows third party providers and software developers to build new business registration services. Businesses will benefit from a wider choice of registration services.

The ATO and ASIC have released documentation for the APIs for the registrations listed above. The ATO APIs are available on the Standard Business Reporting website. The ASIC APIs are available from the ASIC website. The APIs have been developed using simple technical standards which will further reduce costs for third party providers and therefore costs for businesses.

Single Business Identifier (SBI)

The SBI measure was announced as part of the Growing Jobs and Small Business package to make business administration easier and less confusing. The single business identifier would have replaced the ACNs and BTFNs with the ABN.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services commissioned an implementation study to assess the economy-wide impacts of adopting a single business identifier. This study has shown that the SBI measure would have large transition costs to upgrade existing IT systems and processes that rely on the three generic business identifiers (the ABN, ACN and BTFN).

The study concluded the Government could pursue its objectives through its digital transformation agenda. As such the Government will not abolish company numbers and instead progress measures to improve the way it connects with business through digital transformation.

Digital Transformation Agenda

Streamlining business registration also has links with the Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda (DTA). The Government is investing $254.7 million in the DTA to drive innovation and make it easier for individuals and businesses to access government services.

Streamlining business registration will be informed by DTA principles for design and implementation.

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