Help with compliance and regulation

Depending on the type of business you are going to be running, you have different requirements including licences, permits, codes of practice and legislation that you need to be aware of. There are also a range of taxes and duties that may apply to your business.

We are working with the Australian Government and other state and territory governments to reduce the burden on businesses of compliance and regulation. There is an online feedback tool that you can use to help identify ‘red tape’ issues that might be affecting or impeding your business in the ACT.

The following services will help you to meet your regulation and compliance obligations:

Australian Business Licence and Information Service

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) is a national service delivered by the Australian Government in conjunction with the States and Territories.

ABLIS helps you find the government licences, permits, approvals, registrations, codes of practice, standards and guidelines you need to know about to meet your compliance responsibilities whether you are starting, operating, growing, or closing a business.

The service now provides a single place for businesses to find information from all States and Territories and the Australian Government.

Find out which government licences and registrations apply to your business by visiting External Link - opens in new window.

Australian Business Register

The Australian Business Register (ABR) allows you to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN), register your business name and register for various taxes including GST and PAYG withholding.

For more information go to the Australian Business Register External Link - opens in new window.

Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) aims to ensure fair trading in Australia, protecting consumers while also reducing compliance costs to businesses. It is a national law, jointly administered by Australian, state and territory governments and came into effect on 1 January 2011. A small business self-assessment checklist is available to help you and your business to become aware of consumer rights and comply with your obligations under the ACL.

To download the checklist go to the ACT Office of Regulatory Services External Link - opens in new window.

Australian Tax Office

Find out what tax issues affect your business, including reporting and record keeping requirements for your business. The ATO also provides small business support services that can help you understand and manage your taxation.

To find out more contact the ATO External Link - opens in new window.

The Australian Government’s business website provides information on a range of regulations and licensing topics including:

  • How to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • How to register for Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT).
  • How to register for Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding.
  • How to register for Payroll tax.

Visit’s Registration and Licenses page External Link - opens in new window for more information.

Customs and importing or exporting goods

In Australia, Customs is responsible for controlling the movement of goods into and out of Australia. A range of items are classified as prohibited or restricted and Customs maintains separate listings that apply to imports and exports. Your imports and exports may be subject to taxation, duties, or other charges. You should also make sure your activities comply with any other countries that your goods move through in addition to the originating or receiving country.

For more information about importing or exporting goods visit the Customs Australia website External Link - opens in new window.

Office of Regulatory Services

The ACT Government’s Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) is responsible for regulatory and support services that aim to protect the public interest. You can find out more information from them on a range of topics including:

  • Australian Consumer Law;
  • General Construction Induction;
  • High Risk Work;
  • Liquor Licensing;
  • Outdoor Cafes;
  • Plastic Shopping Bag Ban; and
  • Tobacco sales.

Visit the Office of Regulatory Services website External Link - opens in new window for more information.

Overseas dealings and taxation

If part of your business is conducted overseas, there may be tax impacts. This includes foreign investment arrangements, and the use of agents, sales outlets or branches based in countries other than Australia. You should also check the GST collection implications of your overseas activities.

Find out more by visiting the ATO website External Link - opens in new window.

Fix my Red tape

'Fix my Red Tape' is an online feedback tool designed for you to identify any 'red tape' that affects or impedes your ability to do business in the ACT. It is also a portal to provide feedback or suggested reforms, ask questions, and/or lodge complaints.

Visit the Fix my Red Tape website External Link - opens in new window.

Payroll tax in the Australian Capital Territory

Payroll tax is payable by an employer with employees in the ACT if the employer’s total taxable  wages exceed the threshold. The threshold that applies in the ACT in 2013-14 is monthly Australia-wide wages of $145,833.33 per month ($1,750,000 per annum).

For more information contact the ACT Revenue Office External Link - opens in new window.

Small Business Superannuation Clearing House

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free online superannuation payments service provided by the Australian Government to help small businesses with 19 or fewer employees meet their superannuation guarantee obligations.

Visit the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House website External Link - opens in new window for more information.