Are you considering Australia to invest, or expand or start your business and want to know more?
Here you’ll find information on:
- Australian business culture
- Our competitive taxes and incentives
- Living in Australia
Our investor guide provides practical information on:
- Options for investment – including establishing a new company, registering as a foreign company or acquiring an existing company
- Coming to Australia
- Setting up a business in Australia
- Running a business in Australia
- Support programs in Australia
- Australia’s systems of government and the implications for investors
Do you need tailored advice? Austrade can help you navigate the Australian business environment and kick start your Australian venture. We can connect you to opportunities in Australia, provide local market intelligence and introduce you to relevant authorities for detailed tax, visa, and foreign investment advice.
Understanding business in Australia
Australian business culture is open and friendly. We are honest and fair, with a clear and direct communication style. We have few formalities and are not overly hierarchical. We may have a laid-back reputation, but we are hard-working people. Our government strongly supports business and industry.
Australia offers competitive taxes and incentives
Australia has the 11th most competitive taxes in the world, according to the Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index 2022. Our tax revenue represents 29% of our GDP, compared to 34% across OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2023).
And we offer a range of deductions and incentives that lower effective tax rates. These include:
Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive
For eligible R&D conducted from 1 July 2021, the tax offset is equal to your corporate tax rate plus an additional premium rate of up to 18.5%. For all claims, the R&D expenditure threshold is A$150 million per annum.
Additional tax levers
Eligible businesses can access additional tax concessions, offsets and rebates, potentially lowering effective rates further.
- We offer a range of schemes to attract international investment into Australian firms, including bilateral tax treaties that reduce withholding tax.
- Companies investing in their future through capital expenditure can benefit from generous depreciation rules.
- Small and medium-sized companies – ‘base rate entities’ with aggregate turnover up to A$50 million (including their connected entities) – pay a base corporate tax rate of 25%, instead of 30%.
- We only tax corporate profits once. Through our system of dividend imputation, Australian resident companies and shareholders receive a ‘franking credit’ for the tax the company has paid. This franking credit is then used to reduce overall tax liability.
- The Australian Government also offers tax concessions to encourage venture capital investment in Australia. The Venture Capital Limited Partnership (VCLP) and Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP) programs provide beneficial tax treatment to eligible local and foreign investors.
The Australian Government provides a searchable database of grants, funding and support programs for business in Australia.
A great place to live
Australia’s lifestyle and vibrant cities are global drawcards. We have 4 of the top 15 most livable cities in the world according to the EIU Global Liveability Index for 2023. They are safe, beautiful and well-managed.
They are also affordable. Australia’s capitals have a lower cost of living than neighbouring global cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou (Mercer, Cost of Living City Ranking 2023). This makes Australia a cost-competitive destination for international companies that want to relocate employees and their families.
- We have high-quality, timely and affordable health care at every stage of life.
- Medicare is Australia's universal health care system. It provides free public hospital care and patient subsidies for medical services. Our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme keeps medicines affordable.
- Australian schools are among the world’s best. Our public schools provide free high-quality education to all students. We also have a variety of non-government and faith-based schools.
- Students in Australia have university-trained teachers and excellent school facilities. Every child gets the support they need. This includes programs for gifted and talented students and programs for students who need extra support.
- Australia ranks 2nd best for education in the OECD, according to the 2022 OECD Better Life Index.
- Australia’s higher education sector has world-class universities. We rank 4th globally for the number of universities in the world’s top 100, with six outstanding institutions (2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities). We’re a preferred destination for international students.
We support families at all stages
Our guide is designed to help international investors and businesses navigate investing and operating in Australia. It provides practical information on business obligations, regulations and support available.
Coming to Australia
Information on the range of Australian visa options and immigration requirements.
Investing in Australia
Information on investing in Australia as a foreign entity, types of investment which require government approval, investor obligations, and how to apply for approval.
Setting up a business in Australia
Information on establishing or acquiring a business and obtaining business premises in Australia.
Running a business in Australia
Information on employment conditions, taxes, and business practices regulation in Australia.
Support programs in Australia
Information on grants and assistance, R&D tax incentives, major project facilitation, and support for exporters.
Seek advice: This information is intended to help you identify relevant themes and to give you a starting point for discussion with advisers. This guide does not eliminate the need for professional advice. It is strongly recommended that you use professional advisers to advise you on legal, compliance and tax matters.
Understanding Australia’s governments
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a strong democratic tradition and rule of law. We have a federal system with three levels of government: the Australian Government, state and territory governments, and local governments.
Austrade has published a guide on the system of government in Australia and the implications for investors.