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If the economic climate in your home country is hostile to businesses, it may be time to move. Now, moving to another country is never easy, but moving your personal stuff along with your entire business can present a lot of challenges - even if you’re moving to a place like Australia, which is more friendly to businesses than many other countries. Here’s what you need to know to get up and running.




All Australians pay taxes on their income. If you’re a business, you must pay tax on all income earned from business activities, government benefits, and investments. The amount of tax you pay depends entirely on the amount of income you earn, whether or not you were an Australian resident for tax purposes, and whether you have a tax file number.


In most cases, the government will consider you a resident if you’ve come to Australia to and live there permanently, if you’re a student who is there studying (enrolled in a university course that is more than six months long), or you’ve been in Australia continuously for six months or more, work at one job or own a business, and live at the same place most of the time.


Businesses and businesspeople must set aside a portion of their income and send it to the government periodically.


At the end of the tax year, you are required to fill out a tax return form and submit it. This is an accounting of the tax you owe - you are responsible for telling the tax authority in Australia, called the ATO, how much income you received and the deductions you have on your tax return.


The end of the fiscal year - June 30th, you must collect all income statements and distribute a payment summary to all employees. This summary will detail how much each employee earned and how much tax was taken out of their paycheque. You will then file a return by October 31st.


Money will be returned to you if you have not earned over a certain dollar amount or if you set aside too much from your income.


The Pension System


Australia has a pension system called a Superannuation. The superannuation, or “super”, is money that is set aside from income during your lifetime. This money is explicitly set aside for your future retirement. But, as a business owner, you’re not required to contribute to it. It is, however, beneficial for you if you want funds to retire on.


Now, for employees, you are required to contribute a minimum of 9.25 percent per year to the fund, based on the employee’s wages, excluding overtime pay. This percentage increases every year to a maximum of 12 percent in 2019. If you decide not to contribute anything to super for yourself, keep in mind you should still set aside some money for your future retirement.


Business Licensing


Almost all businesses need licensing. These licensing requirements are driven by the business or industry you’re in. So, for example, if you serve food to the public, you’ll need health and safety to inspect your premises, but you’ll also need a special license and permit to serve food to the public.


If you’re in the oil and gas industry, you need licensing and permits for operation and also environmental permits, depending on the exact nature of your business.


These costs are in addition to any relocation costs you incur in your home country and any licensing requirements required to maintain business operations both domestically and abroad. You should consult with a lawyer and a tax specialist to help with office relocation and licensing requirements.


Importing and Exporting


If you’re importing or exporting goods, you will need to deal with customs. Inspection of items is required before they enter or leave the country, though a special emphasis is placed on goods entering the country. Depending on what you are importing, the goods may need to be quarantined for a period of time before you can take receipt of them.


Caitlin Ditter is a relocation advisor of several years. She enjoys sharing her insights in order to help others move easier. You can read her articles on many websites and blogs online.


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