Directors need to be across the basics when it comes to company compliance obligations, writes ASIC commissioner John Price.
There are more than 2.5 million companies registered in Australia. Last financial year, ASIC registered a record 249,000 new companies. Many Australian businesses operate using the corporate form, which offers features such as limited liability. In return, companies must comply with various obligations including keeping ASIC’s corporate register up to date.
ASIC manages Australia’s corporate register and makes the information on it available for searching by the public and government. Our registers are highly used. Last year there were more than 54.6 million searches of the companies register. Popular searches include current extracts of company particulars, such as addresses and officeholders, and copies of financial accounts lodged by the larger companies. Our data is used by the government, business, academics, researchers, financial lenders and credit agencies, among others. Given its clear value, it is important the information available for searching is up-to-date and accurate. By law, companies are required to meet obligations around this, notifying changes of details to ASIC soon after they occur.
Keep up to date
Responsibilities of company officeholders are summarised on the ASIC website. Common changes you need to tell us about, usually within 28 days of the date of change, are:
- Addresses (registered office, principle place of business and contact address)
- Officeholders (names, addresses, changes of name)
- Members and share structure (changes to top 20 members for Pty Ltd companies)
- Share structure
- Ultimate holding company, if applicable
- Changes of company name.
Companies can lodge information directly with ASIC or through an agent.
Company officeholders who wish to deal with ASIC directly can update information through the company officeholder portal on our website.
Knowing that your company is meeting its legal obligations is part of good corporate governance.
Alternatively, some companies use agents who lodge directly through our registered agent portal, or by using a commercial software product.
Do an annual review
As an officeholder, it’s not always easy to stay across everything. ASIC facilitates an annual review process to support compliance. It includes providing each company with:
- A statement of company details to review. ASIC must be notified of any changes
- An annual review fee invoice ($254 for Pty Ltd companies; $1201 for public companies)
- A reminder to pass a solvency declaration and notify ASIC if it is negative or not passed.
Get compliance right
Whether you handle routine obligations personally or by delegating to others, knowing that your company is meeting its legal obligations is part of good corporate governance. Compliance avoids costly late fees (which raise around $24 million annually), most of which can be avoided. You can prevent regulatory actions such as deregistration of your company for failure to pay the annual review fee, or more serious civil and criminal penalties. And importantly, keeping your details up to date means that other people doing a search on your company will get complete and accurate information.
If you’re unsure about your compliance record, ask questions within your company and search your company on our public register.
For more information on how to keep your details up to date, call 1300 300 630 or visit asic.gov.au/your-company
Already a member?
Login to view this content