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Pty Ltd is an abbreviation for Proprietary Limited. Proprietary means the company is privately held and the Limited means the liability of the shareholders to pay the debts of the company is limited by the amount of shares.
Australian Pty Ltd companies have a few requirements and restrictions:
Pty Ltd companies form the vast majority of companies registered in Australia, in the order of 99%, and is the preferred company type for small to medium businesses.
All company incorporation in Australia is governed by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). ASIC accepts company registrations directly by lodging a paper form, either over the counter at an ASIC office, or by posting the form with a cheque. Registering a company directly with ASIC means that you need to provide the corporate register documentation required to be compliant with the Corporations Act 2001 yourself. ASIC only provide you with a certificate of registration.
Regardless of how you lodge the form, you don't need to provide ASIC with any supporting documentation or show identification.
ASIC also accepts registrations through registered third parties called ASIC registered agents. Registered agents are assigned a number, ours is 26944, which you can verify with ASIC. Agents can lodge applications on your behalf using the paper form, or by using ASIC's electronic lodgement protocol called EDGE. Using EDGE means the agent can lodge the application 24/7, and in most cases get the ACN and certificate back in minutes. It also means that an agent using EDGE can provide an online form for performing the registration.
ASIC charge $512 to register a company. This fee applies whether you register directly with them or through an agent and is GST free. Australian companies are also required to pay an annual fee on the anniversary date of registration. For an overview please see our ASIC fees page.
If you use an agent to register a company then there will be a service fee on top of the ASIC fee. This fee can range from the $34 that eCompanies charges through to a few hundred dollars. The service fee is abritrarily set by the service provider.
An agent will usually include all the documentation you need, but beware of some providers who do not make it clear what it is you get and charge extra for required documents. The eCompanies service fee is all inclusive and includes GST.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions page.