Thinking Of Starting A Small Business?

One of the most important decisions you need to make when starting a small business is the choice of business structure. You should be mindful of the fact that your business can affect:

  • The safety of your personal assets
  • Your income tax position
  • The continuity of the business upon change of ownership and
  • What registration process you will need to take

There are a number of factors you need to consider regarding the right structure for your new business. These include the type of business you are setting up, if and how many others are involved in the business, how you want profits (or losses) to be shared and who is going to be legally liable for the debts of the business. Other considerations include the anticipated profitability of the business, the relationship of the owners and the financial and tax positions of all the parties involved. When evaluating your choice of business structure you should look to:

  • Maximise the Protection of Your Assets
  • Minimise Tax Exposure (including Capital Gains Tax)
  • Allow for Admission of New Partners or Investors
  • Comply with all Legal Requirements

In selecting the type of business structure you always need to consider the potential future application of the discount capital gains tax concessions. In most instances, your particular structure will be some form of compromise between asset protection, income tax, flexibility of income distribution and capital gains tax relief.

The type of legal structures used by Australian business operators in June 2009 showed a 5% drop in the number of partnerships and a 2.5% drop in sole proprietors. In contrast, there was a 3.3% increase in trusts while the number of companies remained stable compared to the previous year.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is published as a guide to clients and for their private information. This article does not constitute advice. Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material contained in this article. Items herein are general comments only and do not convey advice per se. Also changes in legislation may occur quickly. We therefore recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting in any of these areas.