Maybe you are thinking of starting a hipster website to post blogs about your relatable feelings, or perhaps you just want to set up a small online business but you are unsure about the requirements, so you sit there scratching your head. No need to worry future entrepreneurs, internet has all the answers (or to be specific, this article has some of the answers).

Depending on the type of website you wish to create, you may need an ABN (Australian Business Number).

Websites ending with an extension .com.au or .net.au are registered in Australia, regulated by the auDA, and require an ABN. Websites ending simply with .com have no requirement for an ABN.

Business persons, listen up

If you have an online business, it is advisable for you to obtain an ABN. To give you a clear picture, an ABN is not a necessity unless you wish to create a domain space — that is, your online address. It will usually include your business’s name so customers can easily locate you online. All websites have their distinct domain name.

For obtaining an ABN you must pass a certain criteria for carrying on an enterprise in the form of a business. Your application will be refused if you are not entitled.

It is advisable for an online business to obtain an ABN and creating a domain space for many reasons:

  • Your business has the exclusive right to use that domain name for the length of your licence period. You can see the competitive advantage in that as your business will become distinguishable by having its unique online name. No two domain names can be identical, you have to search the domain name database to make sure that your intended online name is not already taken;
  • It identifies your business to the government and the wider community;
  • Avoid the Pay as You Go (PAYG) tax on payments you receive
  • Claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits

Note: if you wish to purchase an online address that has the extension .com.au or .net.au, you will need to have an ABN. Even if you do not have a website ready yet, waiting for a burst of inspiration or still working on the design, you can still buy your domain name and use it upon your convenience.

Also, there are some domain names that general public are restricted from using, such as those ending with the extension edu.au or nsw.au. More information is available on the auDA website.

For more information or additional help, contact a Lawpath consultant on 1800LAWPATH.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.