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EasyCompanies charges $497 for a Company registration. If you want to save $40, you can download a form from ASIC website, fill it in and send; obviously takes longer than doing it online. EasyCompanies charges $49 for ABN registration, which you can do yourself for free on ABR website.

Setting a one person company (owner/director) is simple, but it requires reporting to ASIC, I think annually, but it may be quarterly, and you need to pay for it (I think it’s about $250). Anything more complex than one person (owner/director) company requires constitution, and this you can get from a layer or tax agent for about $500-600.

Limited liability of a company is often over-emphasised, especially for small businesses. When other businesses want to deal with you, if you are not big and they don’t have confidence in you (your company), they will ask for a personal assurance, in which case the company’s limited liability means nothing.

Public liability (insurance) is a different thing from a limited liability of a company, and it applies to any business structure. In your case, I’m not sure what public liability insurance would cover since the manufacturer of the products that you sell is responsible for the products (not you) and the manufacturer should have public liability insurance.

I’m not clear if you are setting up a business only for your wife, or for both your wife and yourself, and how much money you are making now and how much in a year, 2 years, etc. Also the tax free threshold shouldn’t be important; you should be making more money than that; otherwise why are you running a business?

Partnership is generally not recommended, but as long as you are in a harmonious relationship with your wife, this should not be a problem. And yes, you can split 20/80, 50/50 or whatever you like.

Regardless of the business structure, I would recommend you concentrate on making $$, more than tax free threshold, and change the business structure later if you have a good reason for it.

Note: I’m not a lawyer or tax agent, so I can’t guaranty that the information above is 100% correct.