Reading time: 4 minutes

Australia is an increasingly attractive market for businesses looking to expand internationally. As with all expansions, proprietors must understand and comply with domestic laws regarding intellectual property, business structuring and consumer law. Below, we look how a French business can expand its efforts to Australia.

1. Business Structure

You will need to ensure you choose the structure that will further your growth plans and best protects your assets. Standard business structures include:

If you choose to operate in Australia as a company, you can either:

  • Set up an Australian company;
  • Register as a foreign company in Australia; or
  • Purchase an existing Australian company.

Each of these alternatives requires you to undertake a different process. For example, the registration process for foreign companies is different to setting up an entirely new corporation. If you purchase an existing corporation, you may need the approval of the Foreign Investments and Takeovers Board.

Once you have chosen how to structure your business, you will need to familiarise yourself with Australia’s taxation laws and regulatory framework. All directors of Australian companies have particular directors’ duties. Failure to meet these can have serious repercussions, including personal liability. Depending on your company structure, one or more of your directors must be Australian residents.

Further, all Australian companies have taxation and compliance obligations. Australia has an income tax treaty with France. As such, any income earned from carrying on business in an Australian permanent establishment must pay income tax in Australia.

Your business will probably be required to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) and withholding income tax for Australian resident employees. You will need:

  • An Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • A Tax File Number (TFN).

If your business acquires and disposes of taxable Australian assets, it will also be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

Companies must register with ASIC. Again, according to your business structure, you must comply with any (and all) reporting and disclosure obligations. For example, public companies have certain requirements placed on them that do not apply to small proprietary companies.

Also, if you want to trade on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), you need to meet and maintain all the requirements prescribed by the stock exchange listing rules. These include rules about reporting and company disclosure.

2. Business Premises

Irrespective of your business structure, you will likely need a physical presence to operate in Australia. You must determine if you would prefer to purchase or lease your commercial premises. Either option will require you to enter into a contract and understand your obligations that arise under the contract.

Your enterprise will also need to obtain local government approval to carry on your French business at those premises. If you intend to make alterations to the building, it will have to apply for and receive building consent. Once construction is complete, the local council will have to certify it formally as meeting all relevant regulations and stipulations before you can use it.

3. Licences

Depending on your business, you might need a licence to carry out operations. For example, if you distribute liquor you will need a liquor licence. State and territory governments regulate these permits and which kind you will need depends on the location of your premises.

On this point, you will also need to comply with all regulations applicable to your business. For example, if you distribute food you must abide by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards. You will likely also need to meet all requirements concerning food labelling.

4. Consumer Law

Depending on your business, you might fall under the auspices of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). That means your business must meet all consumer guarantees and be prepared to offer the appropriate remedies.

You must also comply with any applicable product safety standards. Your business practices also cannot breach the ACL. For example, no enterprise can engage in false and misleading conduct.

5. Intellectual Property

As a French business operating in Australia, you need to protect all of your intellectual property. Of course, this depends on your business’ offering. If you have a unique business name and logo, you should register a trade mark with IP Australia as well as a domain name to enforce your rights.


If you have any questions about expanding your business to Australia or need assistance setting up, get in touch with our commercial lawyers on 1300 544 755.


How Franchisors Can Avoid Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Wednesday 18 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Ensure your franchise is not accused of misleading and deceptive conduct. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
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
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer