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Frequently asked questions and useful information

You can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about registering a company, forming a trust, setting up a super fund, placing an order with us and more below. If you can't find an answer to your question, contact us. We'll be happy to help.

General

Officers, shareholders and other company questions


ANSWERS

WHAT TYPES OF COMPANIES CAN I REGISTER?

A company is a body corporate registered in Australia under the Corporations Act 2001.

Proprietary company

A proprietary company must have at least one director, but doesn't have to have a secretary. The director and secretary (if any), must ordinarily reside in Australia.

Special purpose superannuation fund trustee company

A special purpose superannuation fund trustee company is a type of company that is permitted to act only as trustee of a self-managed superannuation fund and is not permitted to trade in any form. It can have a maximum of four directors and four members. For this type of company, the Annual Fee that must be paid to ASIC is less than is required of a standard proprietary company. You will need to register a company before you set up your super fund or before changing to a corporate trustee for your SMSF Deed.


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WHAT MAKES A COMPANY, A COMPANY?

The general characteristics of a company are:

  • it is a corporate body created by law
  • it has all the powers of an individual and a corporation
  • it can sue and be sued in its own right
  • it has officeholders (director(s), secretary(ies))
  • it has a registered office
  • it has member(s)
  • it has perpetual succession (i.e. it continues even if its members die or resign).

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WHAT ARE THE LEGAL ELEMENTS OF A COMPANY?

A proprietary company name must include one of the following legal element combinations:

  • Pty Ltd
  • Proprietary Limited
  • Proprietary Ltd
  • Pty Limited
  • Pty. Ltd.

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WHO CAN REGISTER AN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY?

Practically anybody can register an Australian company, provided they comply with the ASIC Guidelines for registration.

Primarily, you need at least:

  • one resident director,
  • one shareholder, and
  • a physical Australian address for the registered office of the company.

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CAN I CHOOSE ANY NAME FOR MY COMPANY?

Yes, you can choose your own unique company name.

How can I find out if the company name I want is available?

The first thing you will need to do is check to see if there are any other companies or business names already registered with an identical name.

You can check this by searching for the company name you want here:

Company name
available?
Don’t miss out!

Check here now:

There are restrictions for some words or phrases being used in company names. We recommend downloading Schedule 6 – Availability of names from ASIC. It contains a list of words that they commonly reject.

Can I use my ACN as my company name?

You can register your company without a unique name and simply use the Australian Company Number (ACN) as your trading name.

What is an ACN?

Each company is allocated a unique Australian Company Number (ACN). Yours will be provided after purchase. When a company has been issued an ABN, the number will be the ACN with two additional leading digits resulting in an 11 digit number (e.g.; ACN 123 456 789, new ABN xx 123 456 789).

You must apply separately for your ABN once your company has been registered. You can do this easily by visiting http://abr.gov.au.


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DO YOU PROVIDE A CONSTITUTION?

The constitution contains the rules and procedures that define how the company is run, making it a very important document.

All companies produced by Rocket Registrations are provided with our up-to-date constitution in PDF format. If you choose our printed add-on package, you receive three thermal-bound copies.

What are the replaceable rules?

The replaceable rules are a collection of about 40 sections of the Corporations Act 2001 that give a general framework for running an Australian company.

These rules govern the internal relationships of officers and shareholders, but do not cover more practical rules relating to how a company is run on a day-to-day level.

To read more about constitutions and the replaceable rules and to determine the suitability of both for your company, please read this page on the ASIC website: Constitution and replaceable rules.


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HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO REGISTER MY COMPANY?

Once you lodge your application with our enhanced software, the whole process should take a matter of minutes.

Once your company is registered, you will receive an email letting you know that all your company documents have been prepared and are ready to download.

Note: There are some things that may slow down how quickly your application can be processed:

  • if your company name is (or is considered to be by ASIC) identical to a currently registered company or business name

  • if you own a business name and are registering your company with the same name

  • if your company name contains restricted words (eg. bank, royal, guarantee, etc.)

  • if your company name contains words that may be considered offensive or suggest illegal activity.

For more information about company name availability, please read ASIC's Schedule 6 – Availability of names to ensure you are not using restricted words.


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DO YOU PROVIDE A COMMON SEAL?

We do not provide a common seal with our companies.

The requirement to have and use a common seal with Australian companies was removed in 1998.

If you do require a seal, we are happy to recommend a provider. Please contact us for details.


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WHAT IS A RESERVATION OF A COMPANY NAME?

ASIC allows you to reserve your desired company name for a period of two months.

This gives you the advantage of putting your desired name on hold so it cannot be registered by anyone else while you take the time to obtain the necessary information, etc. to proceed with the registration.

Rocket can easily help with the reservation of your company name and also the registration process when you are ready to proceed.

To reserve your name, first make sure you have searched that it is available and then complete our reservation order form.

How do I register my company with Rocket if I have previously reserved the name myself?

If you have reserved your company name and Rocket did not reserve it for you, you will either need to let the reservation lapse after the two month reservation period or withdraw the reservation with ASIC first.

The reason for this is that the person signing the Form 201 to register your company must be the same person that signs the Form 410 to reserve the name.

Because of the automated nature of the Rocket software, we have a staff member sign off on the Form 201 for all our company registrations – a common practice for company registration providers. We also sign off on the reservations that we prepare.

This means that the only companies with reserved names that we can register automatically are the ones that we have reserved ourselves.

If you are unsure about this, please contact us and we will guide you through the process further.


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MY COMPANY APPLICATION HAS BEEN REJECTED. WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED AND HOW CAN I FIX IT?

As mentioned above, there are some restrictions on company names that may automatically cause a company application to be rejected. If your application is rejected because of a company name issue, please make sure you have searched the name availability and that it doesn’t contain any restricted words.

Other issues that may arise would be that information has not been correctly entered or has been left off our order forms completely. If this is the case, you will be able to log back into your account, go to your Mission Control (where all of your order information is saved), amend your rejected application and re-lodge it with ASIC.

Common information that is left out of company applications include:

  • leaving off the place of birth for a company officer

  • entering an address that does not match the ASIC / Australia Post database

  • entering a PO Box address for an officer’s residential address, the registered office address or the principal place of business


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CAN I CHANGE MY COMPANY NAME?

ASIC does allow you to change your company name, however Rocket Registrations does not provide this as a service.

For more information about changing your company name, please read this page on ASIC's website: Changing a company name.


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WHERE CAN I GO FOR MORE INFORMATION ON COMPANIES?

ASIC's website contains a wealth of information on setting up companies. Visit their 'For companies' page to find out more.

Alternatively, contact us and we will be happy to help.


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COMPANIES - officers

CAN I FORM A COMPANY WITH ONE DIRECTOR?

Yes. Since December 1995, private Australian companies have been allowed to register with a sole director.


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DO I HAVE TO HAVE A SECRETARY?

No. Since 2000, the office of secretary has been optional for private Australian companies.


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CAN A PERSON UNDER 18 BE AN OFFICER OF AN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY?

No. Minors under law cannot hold a position in a company as an officer.


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DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE THE RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS OF ALL OFFICERS?

Yes. This is a legal requirement, specified in the Corporations Act 2001.

There is a process you can follow to apply to have your residential address suppressed, whereby you are granted ‘silent enroller’ status by the Australian Electoral Commission. Read more about this on the ASIC website: Application for suppression of residential address.


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WHAT IS A PUBLIC OFFICER?

The position of public officer is held by a nominated person in a company that is the primary contact for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Upon registration of your company, you must notify the ATO within three months who the public officer is.

This can be done when applying for your Australian Business Number(ABN).


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COMPANIES - shareholders

HOW MANY SHAREHOLDERS DO I NEED IN A COMPANY?

The option to have a single shareholder for a private Australian company has been available since December 1995.

You must have at least one shareholder during the lifetime of your company.


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WHO CAN HOLD SHARES IN A COMPANY?

Any legal entity may hold shares in a company.

A legal entity can be defined as, “any person, company, incorporated association or partnership which is resident anywhere in the world.”

However, a minor under law cannot hold shares in their own right.


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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BENEFICIALLY HELD AND NON-BENEFICIALLY HELD SHARES?

When a legal entity owns shares for its own benefit, this is called a ‘beneficial holding’.

A ‘non-beneficial holding’ is when one of the following entities wishes to hold shares:

  • a child under the age of eighteen

  • a trust

  • a superannuation fund

These entities can only hold shares through their trustees.


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COMPANIES - other

WHAT IF I HAVE A BUSINESS NAME ALREADY REGISTERED?

When you apply to register a company, you have the opportunity to enter the registration number or ABN of your business name into our order form.

This helps ASIC identify the business name as belonging to you so they will approve the registration of your company with a name identical to your business name.


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CAN I SET UP MY TRUST WITH MY COMPANY ORDER?

To order a trust with a trustee company, you will first need to complete your company order and receive back your ACN from us before you can complete your trust order.

This is because our system requires the ACN of the trustee company to complete the documentation.

To set up a trust with your company order, complete the following steps in this order:

1.    Pay and lodge trustee company application

2.    Receive Certificate of Incorporation back from ASIC by email

3.    Complete the trust application form with trustee’s ACN

4.    Lodge trust application and receive back completed trust documents.


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Discretionary trusts

Unit trusts

Miscellaneous trust questions

 

ANSWERS

WHAT IS A DISCRETIONARY TRUST?

A discretionary trust is a structure that is commonly used to:

  • allow for easy distribution of trust income and capital, and
  • allow for distribution of funds to beneficiaries at the discretion of the trustee
  • protect or ’quarantine’ assets from creditor attack

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WHAT IS A TRUSTEE? 

The trustee has the responsibility of running the trust, along with the distribution of trust income and capital.

The position can be held by one or several people or a company.

Any assets held by the trust are held in the name of the trustee, in its capacity as trustee of the trust.

A trustee may at any time resign by serving its resignation to the appointor.


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WHAT IS A SETTLOR?

 A settler is only involved with a trust when it is being established.

The settlor invites the trustee to accept the position of trustee. After this, the settlor will gift a nominal amount (the Settled Sum – typically about $10) to the trustee to establish the trust.


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WHAT IS AN APPOINTOR?

The appointor is ultimately in control of the trust.

The function of the appointor is to appoint and resign the trustee after the trust has been established, thus ensuring a level of accountability over the trustee.

The position is a non-essential one, but is generally included to give that extra protection and control over the trust / trustee.


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WHAT IS A BENEFICIARY?

A beneficiary can be:

  • a person (including a minor)
  • a company
  • the trustee of another trust
  • a charity / church, etc.

The basic description of a beneficiary is any entity who receives any distribution of income or capital from the trust fund by the trustee.

There are typically two types of beneficiary to a trust:

Primary beneficiaries

A primary beneficiary is any entity that is named in the trust deed when it is created. These are entities specifically nominated to receive trust funds from the trustee.

Beneficiaries (general)

A beneficiary is typically a related entity to a primary beneficiary and can include grandparents, parents, siblings, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, etc.

This also includes any of the above related to the spouse of a primary beneficiary.

The trust deed also allows, by default, any further trusts (including superannuation funds) and companies associated with any of the beneficiaries, along with employees of the trust and charities, churches, etc to be a beneficiary.


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Unit trusts

WHAT IS A UNIT TRUST?

A unit trust is a structure that is commonly used:
  • when several people wish to start a business or investment scheme
  • if the initial unit holders are likely to change over time

  • for the distribution of trust income and capital that will be based at a particular rate according to the number / percentage of units held.


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WHAT IS A TRUSTEE?

The trustee has the responsibility of running the trust, along with the distribution of trust income and capital.

Any assets held by the trust are held in the name of the trustee, in its capacity as trustee of the trust.

A trustee may at any time resign by serving its resignation to the unit holders.


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WHAT IS A UNIT HOLDER?

A unit holder can be either one or more people, a company, a trustee of a family trust or any other trust or a combination of them all.

Much like shares held in a company, units held by a unit holder carry certain rights (the right to receive distributions of income and capital and the right to vote at unit holder meetings).

Some decisions that must be made by the trustee with regards to the operation of the trust must have the consent of the unit holders before they can proceed. These can include changes to the ownership of the trust, changes to the trust deed and changing the trustee.

Minors under law cannot hold units in a unit trust.


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Miscellaneous questions

WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE LOST ALL STAMPED COPIES OF MY TRUST DEEDS?

Unfortunately, trust deeds are not easily replaced.

Once a set of trust deeds have been signed (and stamped, where required), they form the active trust and all original copies are forwarded to the client.

Rocket doesn’t retain copies of signed trusts.

If you choose to purchase storage for your digital documents, copies of your unsigned trust documents will be available to you online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need to replace your trust deed, we suggest you seek professional advice from your accountant or solicitor to find out exactly how you can re-activate your new copies of the trust deed.


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Super funds


ANSWERS

WHAT ARE THE SIS ACT CONDITIONS FOR A SELF-MANAGED SUPER FUND (SMSF)?                          

Firstly, the SIS Act is short for Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. It is the legislation that governs superannuation in Australia.

For a superannuation fund to qualify as ’self-managed’, the following conditions must be met:

1.    The fund must have less than 5 members.

2.    Each individual trustee must also be a member of the fund.

3.    Each director of a corporate trustee must also be a member of the fund.

4.    Each member of the fund must be either:

  • a trustee of the fund, OR
  • a director of the body corporate, if the trustee of the fund is a body corporate.

5.    No member of the fund is an employee of another member of the fund, unless they are related.

6.    No trustee can receive any remuneration from the fund or from any person for any duties or services as trustee.

There are some exceptions to 2 and 3 above regarding sole member funds.

A superannuation fund with only one member is a self-managed super fund if and only if:

1.    If the trustee is a body corporate:

  • the member is the only director of the body corporate, OR
  • the member is 1 of only 2 directors of the body corporate, and both directors are related to each other, OR
  • the member is 1 of only 2 directors of the body corporate, and the member is not an employee of the other director.

AND

2.    If the trustees of the fund are individuals:

  • the member is 1 of only 2 trustees, of whom one is the member and the other is a relative of the member, OR
  • the member is 1 of only 2 trustees, and the member is not an employee of the other trustee.

AND

3.    No trustee of the fund receives any payment from the fund or from any person for any duties/services performed by the trustee in relation to the fund.

All above information has been sourced from the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 Sect 17A - Definition of self managed superannuation fund.


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WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A SELF-MANAGED SUPER FUND?

Some of the advantages people see in running their own super fund are:

  • they can have greater investment freedom
  • they feel their money is safer being invested by them as trustees
  • they can actively participate in the management of the fund
  • there are reduced formal reporting requirements; and
  • they may have more flexible retirement planning and estate planning options available. 

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CAN MEMBERS OF A FUND BE NON-AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS?

Yes, however there may be severe tax consequences if all fund members reside overseas for an extended period.

We recommend seeking professional advice prior to establishing the fund if this will be your situation.


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CAN A MEMBER BE LESS THAN 18 YEARS OLD?

Yes, a member can be under 18 in a fund with individual trustees.

If the underage member does not have a nominated legal personal representative, a parent or guardian must act as trustee of the fund on their behalf.


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CAN I HAVE A CORPORATE TRUSTEE AND A MEMBER THAT IS NOT YET 18?

No. The SIS Act requires that all directors of a corporate trustee be members in the fund.

Since a person under 18 cannot be a director in an Australian company, they therefore cannot be a member of a fund with a corporate trustee.


 

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DOES MY SMSF HAVE TO PAY STAMP DUTY?                                               

Stamp duty on superannuation fund deeds is only required in Northern Territory and Tasmania. This table illustrates all stamp duty details.

In Tasmania, the stamping of deeds carries a duty fee of $20 for the original deed, with no extra fee for counterpart deeds (extra copies).

In the Northern Territory, the duty fee is the same as Tasmania ($20) however a further charge of $5 per counterpart is charged.


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Placing an order

To register a company or order a discretionary trust, unit trust, super fund or reserve a name, simply complete one of our online forms - they're easy and contain helpful hints to take you through each stage.

Here is a step by step outline of how our online ordering system works.

Here are some answers to other FAQs about placing an order with Rocket:

ANSWERS

DO I HAVE TO SIGN UP/LOGIN TO REGISTER A COMPANY?                                                             

Yes.

This is so that we can save your company documents in our system and make sure they are attached to your profile correctly.

When you log in, you will be taken to your Mission Control and all current and previous orders will be visible.


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CAN I COME BACK AND FINISH MY ORDER LATER?

If you start the form and can't complete it for any reason, then don't worry. Your data is automatically saved once you click 'Next' at the end of each step. This saves the information you have typed in so far and allows you to complete your answers at a later stage. You can go back to your order at any time by visiting the 'Incomplete' section of Mission Control.


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HOW CAN I ACCESS MY COMPLETED ORDER?

Once your order is processed, you will be sent a notification email to let you know that your order has been completed and your documents are ready for you in your Mission Control. From here, you can download them straight to your computer.

Your documents will remain available for download in your Rocket Mission Control for 30 days.

By selecting 'Additional storage' when placing your order (which is an additional $33 per order), you can store your documents in your Rocket Mission Control indefinitely.


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WHAT IS MISSION CONTROL?                                                             

Mission Control is your own member section. This is where you can check on the status of your orders to see which ones are in progress and which ones are completed.

This is also where we store all of your completed orders for 90 days.

If you would like to store your documents in your Mission Control indefinitely, you simply need to pay a one off $33 fee (incl GST) for each order. But don't worry - we'll remind you of all of this when you place your order, and we'll notify you when your documents are going to be archived out of your Mission Control.

Mission Control also allows you to update your account details with us, including your email and password.


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I WANT TO STORE MY ORDER IN MY MISSION CONTROL INDEFINITELY. HOW DO I DO IT?

Simply:

  • login to your Mission Control from the homepage
  • select the documents you would like to store, and
  • pay the one-off fee of $33 (incl GST) per order.
It’s that easy! This means that you will be able to access your document(s) wherever and whenever you have internet access.

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HOW CAN I ACCESS MY COMPLETED ORDER?

Once your order is processed, you will be sent a notification email to let you know that your order has been completed and your documents are ready for you in your Mission Control. From here, you can download them straight to your computer.

Your documents will remain available for download in your Rocket Mission Control for 30 days.

By selecting 'Additional storage' when placing your order (which is an additional $33 per order), you can store your documents in your Rocket Mission Control indefinitely.


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HOW CAN I RECEIVE HARD (PRINTED) COPIES OF MY ORDER?

You can order professionally printed and bound copies of your documents for an extra $55. If you have ordered printed copies of your documents, they will be mailed to you within two business days of your order being completed.


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WHY ARE YOUR PRICES SO LOW?     

We’ve designed a fully automated document generation system that launches all orders to our clients at breakneck speeds and all without the need for printing or delivery. The savings made with this system are passed directly to you.

For printed packages, there is an extra fee of $55. This includes all printing costs, plus the binder itself, consumable costs and post/courier fees.

PDF company and trust packages are the most cost effective and eco-friendly solution.


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WHO REVIEWS YOUR DOCUMENTS TO ENSURE THEY ARE LEGALLY CORRECT AND CURRENT?

To ensure that our documents are 100% thorough, 100% legal and 100% accurate, we’ve worked closely with our legal consultants who have written or reviewed every word.


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I NEED MORE HELP. WHO CAN I TALK TO?

We invite you to contact us at info@rocketregistrations.com.au with your queries.


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IS PAYING ONLINE SECURE?

The Rocket Registrations website is secured by Verisign, a globally trusted provider of website security certificates.

Payments for our orders can be processed through PayPal, a globally trusted secure payment provider.


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WHAT METHODS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

We currently accept payment via PayPal. PayPal is a simpler way to pay online. All you need is an email address to make secure online payments using your debit card, credit card, bank account or PayPal balance. Please note that to order with Rocket Registrations, you are NOT required to become a member of PayPal.

PayPal offers 2 methods to pay:

1.    You can purchase goods using your debit /credit card without being a registered member of PayPal, OR
2.    You can use your existing PayPal account or create one, to pay for the order via a credit card or bank transfer.

You can place your order knowing that PayPal doesn't share your financial details with retailers and that your money and information stays safer with PayPal's industry leading fraud protection tools.


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WHAT IF I'M NOT HAPPY?

If you are unhappy, first of all let us know of your concerns and we will do our all to correct the issue to meet your expectations.

Due to the nature of this product, we can only provide refunds in special circumstances. If the company is already registered with ASIC, it will only be possible to refund the service fee. The $433 ASIC fee is not recoverable.

To request a refund, please send us an email explaining in detail the reasons for it. Refunds are given at our discretion.


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CAN YOU LET ME KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE INDUSTRY?

If you are interested in hearing about the latest industry news, updates and other information from Rocket, visit our blog.


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Glossary of terms

Please Select a letter:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

account

a record of a business transaction. When you buy something on credit, the company you are dealing with sets up an "account". This means it sets up a record of what you buy and what you pay. You will do the same thing with any customers to whom you extend credit.

account payee only

words often written on crossed cheques, which direct the bank to pay the cheque only to the bank account of the payee.

accountant

a qualified person who is skilled at managing and analysing business financial records.

accounts payable

is money you owe to suppliers and other business creditors as a result of purchases of stock and other expenses such as overheads and taxes.

accounts receivable

a record of what is owed to you. All of the credit "accounts" - the record of what each customer owes you - taken together are your "accounts receivable".

acquisitions

in relation to the GST, acquisitions include the things you buy (goods, services and anything else) for your business. They also include many other transactions, such as obtaining advice or information, taking out a lease of business premises or hiring business equipment.

affidavit

a declaration in writing on oath, made before a person legally qualified for the purpose.

amortise

the gradual process of writing off the cost of an asset, or paying off a liability by means of a sinking fund, over a period of time.

articles of association

the basic document of a registered company defining its internal organisation. It is one of two fundamental documents on which the registration of a company is based. See memorandum of association.

asset

anything of worth that is owned. The assets of a business are money in the bank, accounts receivable, securities held in the name of the business, property or buildings, equipment, fixtures, merchandise for sale or being made, supplies and all things of value that the business owns.

audit

detailed checking of the financial records of a business by an independent qualified person (auditor) in order to verify their correctness or to detect errors or fraud.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

an identifier for dealings with the Australian Taxation Office and for future dealings with other government departments and agencies.

authorised capital

the total amount of capital which a company, by its memorandum of association, is authorised to offer for subscription. See also, paid up capital.

award

an agreement having the force of law, which sets out working conditions and wages for certain types of employment.

bad debts

money owed to you that you can't collect

balance

the amount of money remaining in an account. The total of your money in the bank after accounting for all transactions (deposits and withdrawals) is called a "balance".

balance sheet

an important business document that shows what a business owns and owes as of the date shown. Essentially a "balance sheet" is a list of business assets and their cost on one side and a list of liabilities and owners' equity (investment in the business) on the other side with the amount for each. The liabilities include all that the business owes.

bank draft

a written instruction to a bank’s agent to pay a sum of money to the person specified on the draft. A safe and convenient way of remitting money overseas.

bank reconciliation

a comparison between the bank’s record of transactions and the record of the firm’s cash book. After taking into account such items as unpresented cheques and bank charges etc., the two records should show an identical balance.

bankrupt

a debtor, who has volunteered or been forced to appear before a Bankruptcy Court and has been judged insolvent, because s/he has insufficient assets to meet the demands of all creditors.

bill of sale

a document under seal, which formally transfers ownership of property specified in the document from the borrower to the lender, until such time as the debt has been paid in full.

bond

payment by a tenant to a landlord before the tenant takes over the premises and from which the landlord may be able to deduct arrears of rent or the cost of rectifying damage.

bookkeeping

the process of recording business transactions in the accounting records

bridging loan

a loan to provide short-term finance, usually to buy property or land, where the loan is to be cleared by longer-term borrowing, or the sale of assets.

budget

an estimate of expenses and revenue required.

Business Activity Statement

a single form used to report business tax entitlements and obligations, including the amount of GST payable and your input tax credits.

business name

the name of a business officially listed in the state or territory Register of Business Names.

capital

the total owned and borrowed funds in a business.

capital gain

a financial gain made from selling fixed assets such as land, buildings, or a business at a price above the original purchase price.

capital requirement

a list of expenses that must be met to establish a business. Even before a business is started, the owner should start keeping records.

cash

includes all money in the bank, in the cash drawer and in petty cash. Banknotes, coins, bills and negotiable securities (like cheques) is cash. But so is the money you can draw on demand - your bank accounts or savings accounts also represent "cash".

cash book

a record of cash payments and receipts, showing these under various categories.

cash discount

a deduction that is given for prompt payment of a bill.

cash flow

the flow of internal funds generated within the business as a result of receipts from debtors, payments to creditors, drawings and cash sales.

cash receipts

the money received by a business from customers

co-signers

people whom together share responsibility on behalf of a business by jointly signing documents or cheques.

collateral

security provided by a borrower to cover the possibility that the loan will not be repaid.

company

a business owned by a group of people called shareholders, which has its own legal identity separate from its owners.

consumer price index (CPI)

a measure of the aggregate rise or fall in prices of commonly used goods and services, published by the Commonwealth Government as a basis, among other things, for deciding what overall increases should be made to wages and salaries.

contingent liability

a liability which will only arise upon the happening of a certain event, for example, the guarantor of a loan being asked to honour the guarantee if the borrower defaults.

contract

a legally binding agreement between two or more parties.

controllable expenses

those expenses that can be controlled or restrained by the businessperson.

copyright

a type of property right which protects the expression of ideas such as literary or dramatic works, television productions, drawings etc., from being used for commercial gain without permission of the copyright owner. Registration is not a prerequisite for protection.

cost of goods sold

the total cost to the business of the goods sold during an accounting period. In its simplest form this is the sum of the opening stock plus all purchases less the closing stock.

cover note

a temporary certificate of insurance issued by an insurance company to give immediate insurance cover until a formal document is prepared and issued.

credit

an entry made on the right hand side of an account and indicating a gain to a liability, owner’s equity or revenue account.

credit application

a form to be completed by an applicant for a credit account, giving sufficient details to allow the seller to establish the applicant’s creditworthiness.

credit control

any policy designed to increase or decrease credit.

credit limit

the upper limit of credit that a business will allow a customer to have.

creditor

a person or business to whom money is owed.

current assets

includes cash, short-term deposits, customers’ accounts, stock (includes work in progress, raw materials and finished goods), that will be converted into cash during the normal course of business, within a year.

current liabilities

short-term debts such as bank overdraft, creditors and provisions set aside to pay taxation and other commitments (for example, holiday or long service leave) and expected to come due within one year of the Balance Sheet.

debenture

a fixed interest investment in a company, which has priority for interest payments, generally redeemable after the lapse of a specified time

debit

To debit is to place an entry on the left-hand side of an account. A debit in a liability account makes it smaller. A debit in an asset account makes it larger.

debt

that which is owed. If you borrow money, buy something on credit or receive more money on an account than is owed, you have a "debt".

debt capital

money from external sources used to finance a business. See also equity capital.

debtor

a person or business who owes money

default

to fail to meet an obligation when due, such as paying a debt.

demand

an order to comply with an obligation. In business, paying on "demand" means that the obligation must be satisfied immediately when requested.

depreciation expense

gradual reduction of the value of a fixed asset and gradual application of this cost to the expenses of a business over the useful life of the asset.

depreciation schedule

a table showing depreciable assets, the year each was purchased, its cost, the percentage by which it is depreciated each year and written down current value.

direct costs

the costs incurred, in addition to fixed costs, as a result of manufacturing a product or providing a service. Direct costs are made up of direct material, direct labour and direct manufacturing or servicing costs.

director’s guarantee

a personal guarantee given by a director of a company that s/he will be personally responsible for a debt or other liability of the company. Usually requested in credit applications, leases, loans and hire purchase agreements.

disbursements

funds paid out of a business in settlement of obligations.

discount

a deduction made from the normal cost or purchase price.

dishonoured

the word used to describe a cheque, which the bank will not pay, because the customer’s account lacks sufficient funds.

dividend

a distribution of the profits of a company among its members or shareholders.

drawings

withdrawals of assets (usually cash) from a business by a sole proprietor or a partner.

entity

an individual (sole trader), partnership, a body corporate, a corporation, an incorporated association or body of persons, a trust or superannuation fund.

entrepreneur

a person who organises and manages a business, but usually only applied to people who have shown exceptional ability and imagination in launching and succeeding with new business ventures.

equities

stocks and shares invested in a business and not bearing fixed interest.

equity capital

money provided by the business owner/s to finance the business.

expenses

costs incurred by a business in earning income, for example, rent, advertising, wages etc.

factoring

involves the cash purchase of a business’ sales invoices at a discount, after which, the factoring company collects the invoiced amounts from the business’ customers. Factoring is used where the business needs immediate cash.

feasibility study

an examination of a particular project or business to assess its chances of operating successfully, before committing large amounts of money to it.

finance

money resources

financial statements

formal reports prepared from accounting records describing the financial position and performance of the business.

financial year

an accounting period of 12 months, often coincident, for convenience, with the fiscal year (1 July to 30 June).

financing

obtaining money resources. Businesses usually have to obtain finance at some time, either to go into business or expand operations.

fixed assets

the land, buildings, vehicles, materials and equipment owned by a business, which are used to earn revenue rather than being for sale.

fixed costs

costs, which are incurred by a business whether it is operating to generate income or not and which do not necessarily increase or decrease as a total volume of production, increases or decreases. Rent, for example, must be paid whether or not any business is accomplished.

franchise

a business arrangement in which knowledge, expertise and often a trade mark or trade name are licensed to an operator, generally for an initial fee and a yearly payment.

franchisee

the purchaser of a franchise licence who operates one or more outlets of the franchise business.

franchisor

the owner of a franchise system

gearing

the ratio between the business’s debt and equity finance.

goodwill

the excess price asked for the sale of a business over the value of its physical assets; an intangible asset, the price of which represents a payment for the existing client base and future profits.

gross

the total overall amount. For example, gross profit is the trading profit of a business without any deductions for business expenses.

gross profit

the excess of net sales over cost of goods sold usually expressed as a percentage.

GST-free

some supplies are GST-free, which means you do not charge GST for them but you are entitled to claim input tax credits for anything acquired or imported to use in your business.

hire purchase

system for financing the purchase of plant and equipment, where the ownership is vested with the lender until the final payment is made. The borrower is required to place a deposit and make periodic (usually monthly) repayments at a flat rate of interest.

income

money that is being earned by the business.

income statement

a financial document that shows how much money (sales) came in and how much money (costs) was paid out. Subtracting the costs from the sales gives you your profit and all three are shown on the income statement.

indemnity insurance

risk protection for actions for which a business is liable. Insurance that a business carries to cover the possibility of loss from lawsuits in the event the business or its agents were found at fault when an action occurred.

induction training

training for new employees regarding conditions of service, physical layout of the workplace, safety rules, local conventions and customs and supervisory procedures.

input tax credits

you are entitled to an input tax credit for the GST included in the price you pay for an acquisition or the GST paid for an importation if it is for use in your enterprise.

input taxed

some supplies are input taxed, which means you do not charge GST for them but neither are you entitled to input tax credits for anything acquired or imported to make the supply.

intangible assets

those assets of a business, which cannot be assigned a firm, fixed value, such as leases, franchises, goodwill and patent rights.

inter-firm comparison

a comparison between the financial and productive performance of a business with the industry averages.

interest

the cost of borrowing money.

inventory

the value of all the stock of physical items that a business uses in its production process or has for sale in the ordinary course of doing business.

investment

money used to purchase any capital items for the business and expected to yield an income.

invoice

document which shows the customer charges for goods delivered or work done.

invoice financing

see factoring

lay-by

an arrangement where the customer in a retail store makes a deposit on an article and pays the amount owing in instalments, while the retailer stores the article until the last payment has been made.

lease

a legal contract covering the possession and use of property, plant or equipment between the owner (lessor) and another person (lessee) at a given rent, for a stated length of time.

leasing finance

a method of acquiring business equipment without capital outlay. the bank or finance company buys the equipment and leases it to the customer, in return for regular rental payments for the duration of the lease period.

lessee

a person who enters into a lease contract as the user of the land, buildings, plant or equipment.

lessor

an owner who allows his/her land, buildings, plant or equipment to be used under a lease contract.

limited partnership

a legal partnership where some owners are allowed to assume responsibility only up to the amount invested.

liquidate

to settle a debt or to convert to cash. This literally means to do away with.

liquidator

a qualified person appointed by a court to close down a business that is a proprietary company and realise and distribute its assets in payment of its liabilities.

liquidity ratio

a comparison of two accounts in a Balance Sheet, current assets divided by current liabilities.

loan

money lent at interest. A lender makes a "loan" with the idea that it will be paid back as agreed and that interest will be paid for the use of the money.

loss of profits insurance

insurance to cover loss of profits incurred by the policyholder in the event of some calamity overtaking the policyholder’s business, so that trading has to cease.

management

the role of conducting and supervising a business.

margin

the difference between the selling price and the purchase price of an item usually expressed as a percentage of the selling price. Compare mark-up.

mark-up

the price increase between buying at wholesale and selling at retail often expressed as a percentage of the wholesale or cost price. Compare margin.

marketing

finding out what customers want, then setting out to meet their needs, provided it can be done at a profit. Marketing includes market research, deciding on products and prices, advertising promoting distributing and selling.

marketing plan

details of specific tasks worked out by and for a business concerning how market research, product choice and pricing, advertising, promotion and distribution will be done.

marketing strategy

a business’ approach to marketing its products/ services expresses in broad terms, which forms the basis for developing a marketing plan.

memorandum of association

a legal document that lays down the objects of a registered company and details of the regulation of the company’s business dealings. It is one of the two fundamental documents upon which registration of any company is based. See articles of association.

merchandise

goods that may be sold or traded.

merchandising

trading in a range of goods. Promoting the whole range of goods that are sold in a business.

negative gearing

is when an investment is purchased with the assistance of borrowed funds and where the income from that investment (after the deduction of expenses) is less than the interest commitment in the course of a year

net

what is left after deducting all charges (see gross).

net profit

the remainder after all expenses of an accounting period are deducted from all revenue of the same period.

net worth

the owner/s’ interest in a business, calculated by subtracting all liabilities from the assets of the business.

niche

a small specialised segment of a total market.

not negotiable

words often written on crossed cheques, which do not prevent the cheque from being transferred. See account payee only.

official receiver

a person appointed to investigate and manage the affairs of a company in receivership

operating expense

all the expenses normally incurred in running a business, during an accounting period, excluding the cost of goods sold.

option

an agreement, often for a consideration, which permits the purchase or sale of something within a stipulated time, in accordance with the terms of the agreement. For example, a right by a tenant to take up a further lease of premises, usually under conditions outlined in the original lease.

overdraft

a form of loan by which a person with a trading bank current account is given permission to continue making drawings on the account up to an agreed limit, after the balance has been reduced to nil.

overhead

expenses which are incurred in producing a commodity or rendering a service, but which cannot conveniently be attributed to individual units of production or service. Examples are heating, lighting etc.

paid-up-capital

the total capital of a company. It comprises both shares issued for cash or for acquisition of assets and bonus shares.

partnership

a legal business relationship of two or more people who share responsibilities, resources, profits, and liabilities.

patent

the granting by a government of monopoly rights to the owner of an invention to manufacture and sell it for a certain number of years, conditional on the owner being willing to immediately reveal the ideas incorporated in the invention, so that they can be published for the advancement of knowledge of the general public.

Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments

are the amounts you pay directly to the Commissioner of Taxation to meet your income tax and other liabilities and are usually paid each quarter.

payable

ready to be paid.

payee

person to whom money is paid

personal assets

the money you have in the bank, whatever is owed to you, any securities (shares) that you own, the property you own, whatever part of your home that you own, your furniture and appliances and all the miscellaneous things that you personally own.

personnel

persons collectively in the employ of a business.

petty cash

a small amount of money kept for minor purchases for the business, which do not warrant writing a cheque.

posting

making entries in an account system or book from original documents such as invoices and receipts.

power of attorney

power to act on behalf of another person for specified purposes.

premium

consideration paid for an insurance policy.

principal

in the case of a loan, refers to the actual amount borrowed and on which interest is paid.

pro rata

in proportion.

profit

total revenue less total expenses for a period of time calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

profit and loss statement

statement of revenue and expenses showing the profit or loss for a certain period of time.

profit margin

the amount that the price of a product or service is raised above its cost in order to provide a gross profit.

projection

a forecast of future trends in the operation of a business.

proprietary company

a business which is owned by not less than two persons and not more than 50 persons and which restricts the right of the shareholders to transfer shares. Such a business is a separate legal entity and must use the words Proprietary Limited (Pty Ltd) after it name.

proprietorship

the value of the proprietor’s assets in a business less any external liabilities.

receipt

a written acknowledgementof having received money or goods specified

receivership

the legal condition a company is placed in when an official receiver is appointed to investigate and manage its affairs.

residual

the pre-agreed estimated value at the end of a leasing period of an item subject to a leasing agreement.

retail

to sell directly to the consumer, usually in small quantities in comparison with the total level of sales.

return on investment (ROI)

the ratio of net profit after income tax, over owner’s equity. Usually expressed as a percentage.

right of assignment

in relation to business premises, a right given in the lease agreement for a tenant to assign the lease to another tenant when the business is sold.

rocket registrations

your online company, trust and superannuation fund registration provider.

sales

the total value of goods sold or revenue from services rendered.

secured

protected or guaranteed as in the case of a loan where the lender holds the title of some asset until the borrower has repaid the loan in full.

service business

a business that deals in service activities such as a retailer, tourism business, banking, education provider, etc

sole trader

a person who trades by himself/herself without the use of a company structure or partners and bears alone full responsibility for the actions of the business.

solvent

the condition of a business when all debts can be paid as they come due.

stock

physical items (inventory) that a business uses in its production process or has for sale in the ordinary course of doing business.

stock at valuation (SAV)

stock valued at wholesale or cost price.

stock control

the method of determining how much stock should be held and how much needs to be reordered and when, with the aim of controlling stock holding costs while maintaining efficient operation of the business.

stock turnover

the ratio of cost of goods sold over average stock (at cost). This indicates how many times, on average, the entire inventory (stock) was sold and replaced during the year.

supplies

in relation to the GST, supplies include the goods and services you sell through your enterprise and many other transactions such as providing advice or information, leasing out commercial premises or providing hire equipment.

supply

for GST purposes, supply is defined as:
  • a supply is any form of supply and includes:
    • supply of goods and services;
    • provision of advice or information;
    • a grant, assignment or surrender of real property;
    • a creation, grant transfer, assignment or surrender of any right;
    • a financial supply; and
    • entry into or release from an obligation to do anything, to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or situation.

tangible asset

something substantial or real that is capable of being given an actual or approximate value.

tax invoice

a document generally issued by the supplier. It shows the price of a supply, indicating whether it includes GST, and may show the amount of GST. It must show other information, including the ABN of the supplier. You must have a tax invoice before you can claim an input tax credit on your activity statement (except for purchases of $50 or less).

tender

an offer in writing to carry out work, which has been specified by another person. The offer quotes a fixed price, which will be charged for doing the work.

term loan

a loan for a fixed period of more than one year and repayable by regular instalments.

trade credit

an arrangement to buy goods or services on account, that is, without making immediate cash payment.

trade discount

an allowance made by a seller to a buyer at the time of purchase, for the deduction of a percentage of the price, provided the payment is made within agreed terms.

trade mark

can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these, which is used to distinguish goods and / or services of one trader from those of another

trial balance

a list of all balances in the ledger at a given time.

undercapitalisation

insufficient investment of funds in a business.

unsecured loan

a loan that is not backed up by any collateral, such as a home or an automobile offered as security.

valuation

the process of appraising the worth of property according to some recognised criteria.

variable costs

the costs additional to fixed costs of running a business, that can vary depending on the level of demand and activity.

vendor

a seller of goods or of a business.

venture capital

capital invested in a business where the chances of success are uncertain.

volume

an amount or quantity of business activity.

walk in, walk out (WIWO)

an expression normally used in its abbreviated form, regarding a business for sale. It indicates that the business is for sale as a going concern and may be purchased without interruption to trading.

wholesale

selling in large quantities to businesses which will then resell to consumers in smaller quantities.

workers' compensation

money paid to an employee to compensate for injuries received in connection with their work. All employers must insure against claims for this kind of compensation.

working capital

the excess of current assets over current liabilities of any business at any time.

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