If you are operating or are planning to operate a small business as a registered company or under a registered business name, this content is for you.
ASIC assists small business as we regulate all companies, financial markets and providers of financial services and consumer credit in Australia and manage the registration of business names.
- What is a small business?
- How ASIC assists small business
- Starting a small business
- Protecting your small business
- Closing a small business
- Indigenous corporations
A small business is defined differently by different regulators and laws.
ASIC administers the Corporations Act 2001 and this defines a 'small proprietary company'. From financial years commencing on or after 1 July 2019, a 'small proprietary company' is defined as 'small' for a financial year if it satisfies at least two of the below criteria:
- an annual revenue of less than $50 million
- less than 100 employees at the end of the financial year, and/or
- consolidated gross assets of less than $25 million at the end of the financial year.
For financial years commencing before 30 June 2019, a proprietary company is defined as 'small' if it satisfies at least two of the below criteria:
- an annual revenue of less than $25 million
- less than 50 employees at the end of the financial year, and/or
- consolidated gross assets of less than $12.5 million at the end of the financial year.
For taxation purposes, the Australian Taxation Office defines a small business as one that has annual revenue turnover (excluding GST) of less than $2 million.
For employment purposes, Fair Work Australia defines a small business as one that has less than 15 employees.
Many regulators use the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) definition which is a business that employs fewer than 20 people.
Small businesses deal with ASIC when they:
- register a company or business name
- renew the registration of a company or business name
- deregister a company or cancel a business name
- report misconduct by a financial product or service provider
- verify information about other businesses by checking our registers.
If ASIC finds people or organisations have broken the law we have the power to ban or disqualify company directors, ban individuals from the financial services and credit industries and take civil or criminal action against companies or company officers. Find out more about ASIC’s role.
Read our Small Business Strategy 2017-2020 (PDF 177KB) to find out how ASIC assists small business.
To start a small business, you will need to decide on the structure that best suits you; this could be a business name or a company. If you decide to register a company, you will also need to appoint company directors and officeholders and find out how to meet your legal requirements.
Find out more about how to start a small business.
Find out how you can manage business risks once your business is up and running, your rights and protections, and how to sort out any disputes with other businesses and recover bad debts.
Find out how to protect your small business.
If your business has stopped trading you should deregister your company and cancel your business name. This will mean you won’t have to pay annual fees or keep your details updated with ASIC.
Read our guidance on closing a small business.
If you are setting up a not-for-profit or a charitable Indigenous organisation that is a company limited by guarantee we have some useful guidance. We explain your company obligations, the rights of company directors and members and how to resolve disputes.
Find out more about Indigenous corporations.
- Business.gov.au – Australian Government website for businesses
- Running a small business in Australia (PDF 2.62MB) - Download our small business booklet in English
- (PDF 31KB) - Download our small business booklet in Simplified Chinese
- Translation and interpreting service - Use our translation service
- First Business app – Helps you decide whether to start a business
- MoneySmart website – All the tools you need to manage your personal finances
- Smallbizmatters.com.au – Podcasts, information and interviews about all things small business.