If you’re considering expanding into Australia, it’s important to gain an understanding of the nation’s commercial culture and laws. Take the time to investigate how the national regulations differ to your home country.
Australian business laws and regulations extend to cover consumers and the environment. To have better oversight of your commercial operations, you may want to appoint a legal representative for your company to cover these bases.
You can ensure you comply with all the relevant legislation and requirements by using an in-country expert to act on your behalf. Legal representatives work with a range of different business structures and situations, including with companies who don’t have a physical presence in the country. Find out how a legal representative can help you with your expansion into Australia.
What is a legal representative?
Companies appoint legal representatives to act on behalf of the entity on all legal matters.
They can be someone working within the company, or you can choose to outsource an external expert who fits your requirements. By law, a legal representative in Australia must be an Australian national, or foreigner with residency status. They must also be over 18 years old.
Companies may seek external experts when they do not have staff in the country or have yet to establish trusted ties with a local business. Over time, should your business and employee numbers grow in Australia, you can arrange to change the appointed legal representative to a staff member.
In the meantime, external representatives can assist you with the company formation process and initial phases of your expansion into Australia.
What can a legal representative do?
A legal representative is appointed by a notarized document. Once authorized, they can act on the company’s behalf to enter into binding contracts, execute legal transactions and sell assets. They can perform all functions regarding the company’s administration in compliance with its purpose and constitution.
With the notarized document, a company can set limitations to a legal representative’s powers. For example, any transfer in excess of AU$20,000 needs written permission from the company director.
Do I need a legal representative?
Australia has a strong and stable economy, experiencing positive growth spanning 26 years. Australia’s business environment is well-regulated and backed a by pro-investment and foreign ownership government.
This means that careful attention is paid to entrepreneurs and businesses moving into the territory. As such, there’s a lot of paperwork to complete and strict procedure to follow.
Choosing not to appoint a legal representative means you’re solely responsible for ensuring due diligence in your company formation process. While you’re busy managing other business operations, you’ll also need to make sure you’re staying legally compliant every step of the way.
Without legal advice, your incorporation process is prone to delays and setbacks from mistakes or missed information on your part. Failing to meet Australia’s commercial regulations could also result in financial penalties. It may be difficult to move a significant level of power over to another person. But finding a legal representative you can trust will relieve you of pressure and ensure the best possible start for your business.
Legal representatives act in the best interest of your business
When you register your business with authorities in Australia, you must choose the type of business structure available that best suits your needs. This process can be complex, depending on the structure you choose and the subsequent documentation required.
In Australia, there are 4 types of business structures: Sole Trader, Company, Partnership and Trust. Foreign entities can also register as a ‘foreign company’ with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, given they fit the requirements. Different business will have different tax requirements.
Different structures also have different eligibility requirements. As such, Australian authorities recommend both national and foreign entrepreneurs seek legal advice before deciding on and registering their company.
Having a legal expert on hand to consult with about your options contributes to your business success. You’ll have easily accessible advice on legal decisions and expansion options as your business grows.
From a compliance perspective, a legal representative makes sure your operations stay above board as you move into a new and unknown market. They can help organize all the formal paperwork necessary to register your business. They’ll usher you through your company’s formation and can even sign documents in Australia on your behalf. This is greatly beneficial if you’re based abroad, as it saves time and money.
Choosing the right legal representative for you
Choosing a trusted partner to work as your legal representative is imperative, and will ensure they act in the best interests of the company. They’ll have the power to make significant decisions over commercial operations.
That’s why it’s important to appoint someone with comprehensive knowledge of businesses and commercial requirements in Australia. You should also be aware of the powers you’re granting to your representative, and that you can modify those as appropriate, for clarity and peace of mind. Make sure that the powers granted to the appointed person do enable them to perform the necessary legal duties. Failure to do so may cause problems for you down the line, especially if you’re based abroad.
It is important that your chosen legal representative is also aware of their obligations and liabilities. They should know and accept the risk they’re assuming, should the company fall into financial or legal problems.
We can help
Australia holds exciting opportunities for firms looking to expand their operations abroad. The government supports a streamlined company formation process to help get you started and operational as soon as possible.
The process is well regulated though, and not without its complications. You can reduce processing time by consulting with legal professionals with comprehensive knowledge of Australia’s commercial environment.
At Biz Latin Hub, we offer a range of commercial and legal representation services. Additionally, we can take on the service of company formation in Australia.
Our recently-received award for Business Excellence by the Australian-Latin America Business Council demonstrates the support we receive from Australian institutions.
We provide solutions tailored to your needs in accounting and tax services, due diligence, recruitment services and visa processing. Reach out to us today at [email protected] to get started with your expansion project to Australia.