You are required to have an ABN (all entities that are in business have an ABN) but an ACN (Australian Company Number) is issued by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to all new companies registered in Australia to facilitate the monitoring of those companies and also to give them a unique identity code within the structure of the Corporations Law of Australia. Only a company can be issued with an ACN.
You can carry on a business in your own name without registering a business name if you don't change or add anything to your name. Then you just need an ABN.
If you decide to be a company this is more complicated.
Registration or use of a business name does not:
create a legal entity (only registering a company creates a legal entity), or
allow the use of privileges to which a company is entitled, such as a corporate tax rate or limited liability.
A company is a separate legal entity. This means it has the same rights as a natural person and can incur debt, sue and be sued. The company’s owners (the shareholders) can limit their personal liability and are generally not liable for company debts.
A company is a complex business structure, with higher set-up costs and administrative costs because of additional reporting requirements. You need to register a company with ASIC, and company officers must comply with legal obligations under the Corporations Act.
To start as a sole trader would be less expensive and less complicated for you at first.
As sole trader you need the ABN (you can register your business name) and start your activity.
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