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Starting your business – records

ATO information about the records you need to keep from activities done to start your own business.

Last updated 27 November 2019

When you start your own business, there are a number of start-up activities you do, for which you need to keep records.

Bringing goods you already own into your new business

If you bring goods you already own into your new business to use as trading stock, you may be entitled to GST credits and an income tax deduction for them. Make sure you have good records to substantiate your claim.

You need to keep records that show the market value or cost of these goods at the time your business starts, for example, the original invoice from your purchase and evidence of payment, such a bank statements.

ABN registration

You are legally required to keep all of your Australian business number (ABN) registration details up to date, including:

  • business contact details (for example, email address and phone number)
  • main business activity
  • business addresses (for example, main business address, postal address and any additional locations)
  • business associate details (for example, director, public officer, shareholder, trustee, partner).

You need to notify us of any changes to your ABN details within 28 days of you becoming aware of the change.

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Evidence you are in business

If you apply for an ABN, you need to be able to show you have started a business and are entitled to an ABN.

To maintain the integrity of the ABR, we may contact you to confirm your ABN entitlement. We may ask you to show evidence that you are carrying on an enterprise, which could include:

  • advertising, setting up a social media account or a website for the business
  • purchasing business cards or stationery for the business
  • obtaining business licences or insurance to operate (such as public liability and professional indemnity)
  • leasing or purchasing premises, equipment or stock for the business
  • issuing quotes or bidding for work
  • consulting with financial, business or tax advisors
  • applying for finance
  • buying a business.

We recommend you also check the record-keeping requirements of all organisations you deal with. For example, if you are registering a company with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), they will have separate record-keeping requirements.

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