Business Structures (Companies & Trusts)
Choosing your business structure is an important decision and CMA can advise on the best structure for your business. There are four main business structures commonly used by small businesses in Australia. They are:
- Sole trader: An individual operating as the sole person legally responsible for all aspects of the business. Like other structures, as a sole trader you can employ people to help you run your business. The structure is inexpensive to set up because there are few legal and tax considerations but risk management may be an issue for you.
- Partnership: An association of people or entities running a business together, but not as a company. A partnership is relatively inexpensive to set up and operate, but again, there may be risk matters to consider.
- Company: A legal entity separate from its shareholders. It is a complex business structure with set up and administrative costs that are usually higher than for other business structures but provides better risk management and also a flat rate of income tax. It also provides for the introduction of other business owners.
- Trust: An entity that holds property or income for the benefit of others. Trusts require a formal trust deed that outlines how the trust operates, requires the trustee to undertake formal yearly administrative tasks and, if you operate your business as a trust, the trustee is legally responsible for its operations. A trustee of a trust can be a company which can provide some asset protection. There are a variety of types of trusts and it is important to consider the pros and cons of each as applied to your circumstances.
Companies and Trusts are more complicated business structures but they have their advantages and CMA can discuss these with you. You can change your business structure throughout the life of your business as your business grows and expands.