Reading time: 4 minutes

Fulfilling your legal obligations when you are opening a new business can be an onerous task. Set out below is a brief overview of what you need to know when starting a new business.

Tax and Business Registration

For starters you will need to be familiar with the following (even if it is only to confirm that they are not relevant to your business):

  • An Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Pay as You Go Withholding (PAYG)
  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Pay-Roll Tax

If you don’t have an accountant then it is generally recommended that you get one as an accountant, with a business lawyer, will help you comply with the legal and taxation obligations of your business.

Understanding the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010

The Australian Competition and Consumer Act is the key piece of legislation used to regulate Australian businesses. It is designed to promote fair trading and competition and to protect consumers. You will need to be familiar with this legislation or consult a business lawyer if you want advice on how to comply with it. If you don’t and you are found to have breached the Act then you could be subject to heavy penalties, which include fines and imprisonment.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Act regulates:

  • Misleading advertising
  • Misleading or deceptive conduct
  • Product labelling
  • Product safety
  • Unfair market practices
  • Enforcement of industry codes
  • Price fixing
  • Industry regulation

The Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is part of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act. You will also need to familiarise yourself with these regulations or you could face heavy penalties.

The ACL regulates:

  • Misleading and deceptive conduct
  • Unsafe products
  • Importer and manufacturer liability
  • Unfair or unconscionable conduct by businesses in their dealings with customers
  • Anti-competitive conduct
  • Market sharing
  • Abuse of market power

Industry Codes of Practice

In addition to the obligations of a business under the Australian Competition and Consumer Act, there are industry codes of practice which you may be required to follow. Some of these codes of practice are voluntary, meaning you can voluntarily subscribe to them, while others are mandatory and therefore must be followed. You can check with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for more information.

Registrations and Trademarks

You should consider trademarking your brand. Trademarking gives you legal ownership over your brand and stops others from using it. LegalVision can assist you with trademark registration or give advice to you on your options.

Do you Need Licences and/or Permits for your Business?

Almost every business requires a licence or permit of some description. This includes licences or permits for:

  • Sewerage
  • Waste
  • Development
  • Environmental approval
  • Zoning approval
  • Liquor licence
  • Fundraising licence


Liability basically means the risk of you or your business being sued by someone. For example, employee related liability (e.g. discrimination, harassment or unfair dismissal) or liability if somebody is injured on your premises. In order to reduce your liability exposure you should consider taking out insurance and having an experienced business lawyer draft a set of business terms and conditions which protects your business..

Basic Record Keeping

To meet your basic legal and taxation obligations you must keep the following records:

  • Company register (if your business is operated by a company)
  • An accounting system which records dates of payments and receipts
  • Bank accounts
  • Employment records, including details of remuneration, hours of work, superannuation, employment type, employment termination and other employment details
  • Records of work, health and safety training by employees
  • Sales records
  • Work, health and safety incident and risk register

These records will help you comply with your legal obligations and enable you or your accountant to prepare a tax return and financial statements for you and your business.


Setting up a business is a complex process. It’s a great idea to have an initial chat with a business lawyer who can provide initial, as well as ongoing, advice on how to ensure your compliance with all of your legal obligations.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards