ACN Registration information

ACN Registration - What you need to know

What is an ACN?

An ACN is a nine digit number issued by ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) upon registration of a company, with every company registered in Australia having a unique ACN. Don't confuse an ACN with an ABN, an ABN is a unique identifier with the ATO.

How do I register an ACN?

ACN registration in Australia are handled by ASIC . Registration requires the completion of what is called a Form 201 which can be lodged directly with ASIC over the counter at your nearest ASIC office or by posting the completed form with payment to:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission
PO Box 4000
Gippsland Mail Centre VIC 3841

If you lodge directly with ASIC it generally costs $426, the fee structure is outlined at the ASIC form 201 page. ASIC will give you a certificate of registration but not any of the other documentation required to be compliant with the Corporations Act 2001. Non compliance is a serious offence and can result in imprisonment of 3 months.

Can I register my ACN online?

Yes! but you can't perform an ACN registration online directly with ASIC. However ASIC does provide online ACN registration through registered agents. These are companies/individuals who can lodge documents with ASIC on behalf of someone else. They also provide electronic means of registration to these agents so they can register a company at any time of the day or week.

Agents who use the electronic method of lodging a form 201 must use software provided by an accredited ASIC software provided. ASIC accredited software providers are listed here. Providers who are listed as ECR (Electronic Company Registration) can lodge ACN registrations electronically with ASIC.

Should I register online or directly with ASIC?

That depends. Pretty much the only reason why you would do your ACN registration directly with ASIC is price. It is the cheapest method but you have to print and fill in the paper form and lodge it in person or via post and wait a few days for it to be processed. You also don't get the documentation required to be compliant with the Corporations Act 2001. Remember Non compliance is a serious offence and can result in imprisonment of 3 months.

How do I choose an agent if I want to register online?

Searching for 'acn registration' or 'company registration' returns a large number of websites advertising acn registration services. For example:

Pretty much all of them will get your company registered but they all offer different levels of services and charge widely different fees. So what separates them?

1. Is the service provider 24/7?

Some sites have integrated directly with ASIC through ECR (Electronic Company Registration) and offer a fully automated registration service. ASIC list all the companies who have built software to talk directly with them 24/7 on this page. Being automated has obvious advantages and usually allows the providor to be cheaper as there is no human intervention in processing your order.

2. How good is the provided company documentation?

The minimum you need to be compliant with the Corporations Act 2001 is:

  • Consent forms for Directors and Secretaries
  • Consent to use address if you are using someone elses address for your registered office
  • Applications for shares by the shareholders
  • Share certificates for each share holder
  • Share member registry
  • Directors opening minutes
  • Register of options (if you have them)
  • Register of debentures (if you have them)

Most providers will give you the first 5 items but there are a number of other documents you will most likely need for operation, eg:

  • A copy of the lodged form
  • Notice of appointment of a public officer
  • Blank consent forms, share applications and share certificates for future use

3. Do you get a constitution or the replaceable rules?

This is a confusing aspect for most people. It is not a requirement that new companies adopt a specific constitution, if they don't adopt one upon registration the new company is automatically governed by the replaceable rules. The rules act as a default constitution and consist of clauses in the corporations act. For more information see ASIC's page on constitutions and replaceable rules.

4. What's in the constitution and who wrote it?

Constitutions will be sourced from a legal firm, look for the size of the law firm and whether the constitution has things like custom share rights and DIV7A loan agreements included as standard. Otherwise the constitution will usually just be the replaceable rules restated.

5. Is delivery PDF only or does it include a printed register?

If you need a printed register couriered to your door make sure you check for it. It will usually add $50 - $60 to the cost of the order. Quite a few providers will be pdf only.

6. How much help will be provided?

Generally help is restricted to explaining options on the application and explaining terms. Legal advice and advice specific to your circumstances is usually not given so you should first be comfortable in knowing what you need to do before using an ACN registration service. If you are unsure about anything, have a half hour consultation with your accountant or solicitor for professional advice. It will be a small price to pay for peace of mind and will probably end up saving you money in the long term by making sure you're setup correctly to begin with.

7. Do you recommend anyone?

This information site is provided by eCompanies. If you are happy with pdf delivery and email based support, eCompanies' Company Registration service represents unbeatable value with its quality of documents and low service fee of $50.

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