Starting an Australian company while living abroad?


How can an Australian citizen (or two) set up a company in Australia while living overseas?

Is it possible to pay a professional (e.g. lawyer/accountant) to fulfill the requirements of having "at least one local director" and a local office address?

The other option would be asking an Australian-resident family member to be a director and use their address but I'd rather not burden them if there's a professional service for this.

Context: In case it helps, this is for a SaaS side-project. No employees just a simple solo operation or maybe a partership.

Legal Company Tax International

asked Sep 30 '12 at 08:25
11 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans

2 Answers


A director has significant legal obligations. They need not be shareholder (that's the owner) but under corporate law play a significant part in governance and are responsible for ensuring the company is solvent. I seriously do not recommend asking a casual mate or neighbour to be director. It is possible to ask a professional firm to be nominee and even provide the secretarial role of filing the appropriate paperwork. Ordinarily resident usually is interpreted as at least 180 days any 12 months in the jurisdiction.

Also keep in mind that there are disadvantages taxwise to have an australia entity as startup. If the point is to have a holding vehicle for intellectual property, there are cheaper mechanisms.

answered Apr 30 '13 at 16:50
501 points


Why do you want to set up the company in Australia and not where you are living?

I dont know how its specifically in Australia, but you can set up a company using professionals abroad. They could register a company and set up a "virtual" office, which means you get a company address with a mailbox. This will all cost some money. Consider that you would need a phone number, which gets answered by someone and so on to be authentic.

I would recommend to take a professional instead of a resident, who is not a co-founder or employee.

answered Oct 1 '12 at 01:24
19 points
  • I can't legally work for my own company where I am living due to visa restrictions; I can only work for my current employer. I agree a professional would be better than family. Australia has a requirement that at least one *director* of a private company must "ordinarily" reside in Australia. I am not familiar enough with company structures to understand if making someone a director is akin to giving them control/ownership. I haven't been able to find a service for this in Australia on Google yet, so I'm guessing it's probably not possible there. – Nomadhacker 11 years ago
  • FWIW "ordinarily resides" seems to be open to interpretation. There's no solid definition on exactly what that means from ASIC and there's ano case law clarifying it, according to a few sources on the web. Having spent the majority of my life in Australia, and only 1 year living abroad, I could probably argue that I do "ordinarily reside" in Australia, but I'd rather avoid such gray area if possible :) – Nomadhacker 11 years ago
  • Looks like I didn't Google too well last night, there are lots of services offering this. – Nomadhacker 11 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Legal Company Tax International