Business Structuring

Implementing the right business structure is crucial for investment and business.

Choosing how you will run your business, whether as a sole trader, in a partnership, as a company or via a trust, will have significant implications, not least of all in regards to liability and tax. From time to time as a business changes, the structure may need to be reviewed to ensure it is meeting the needs of its owners.

There are times when legal advice is particularly relevant — starting out, selling an interest in the business, when a business partner exits or the business partners are in dispute. We draw on solicitors with expertise in asset protection, finance, commercial transactions, taxation, dispute resolution, insolvency, business succession and estate planning to deliver quality advice tailored to the particular issue at hand.

What we do

Our expert commercial team can help you set up and run your business by:

  • Advising on the ideal structure for your business;
  • Assisting with incorporation of companies and preparing constitutions;
  • Drafting partnership, shareholder and unitholder agreements;
  • Advising on shareholder and director disputes;
  • Setting up trusts and advising on trustee duties;
  • Liaising with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and submitting the necessary forms for any changes to the structure of your company;
  • Business succession planning;
  • Advising on Payroll tax and other taxes;
  • Insolvency; and
  • Advising and assisting with changes of business structure.

We have worked extensively with businesses ranging from local Canberra traders to Australia-wide and multi-national companies. With our structuring advice and ongoing assistance, we have helped to grow businesses in a variety of industries, including construction, professional services, IT management and manufacturing.

The mv difference

  • We work closely with businesses as they are set up and continue to grow to ensure that they have the right structure in place.
  • We can work together with your accountant and other business advisers to provide high quality service to your business.
  • For any dispute between business owners, the commercial and litigation teams work together to accomplish the best result for you and your business.
  • We are passionate about the success of your business and our focus is to help you succeed.

FAQs

This depends on the size and future plans of your business, as there are different benefits to each structure. Sole traders and partnerships are simple and inexpensive to set up and manage, but liability for debts rests with the individuals concerned. Companies have the advantage of limited liability for shareholders, but incorporation is more difficult and the requirements of the Corporations Act are more onerous. Companies are the most common business structure in Australia. We can discuss and analyse your business with you to determine the most beneficial structure.

Think of a shareholder agreement as a form of insurance. You may never need to refer to it but if you do, it is invaluable! Broadly, a shareholder or unit holder agreement is an agreement between the business owners on how the business is managed and how owners can enter and exit the Company.

Typically, these agreements deal with issues such as decision making, the appointment of directors, funding, transfer of shares or units, voluntary exits, buy/sell terms and resolving disputes. In any business run by more than one person, we consider shareholder’s agreements to be a necessity. Often it is overlooked at the beginning when everyone is enthusiastic, but ten years down the track when there is a falling out, you’ll wish you had one.

You need an agreement to address this issue. This could be a stand-alone buy/sell agreement or (for a company) a shareholders agreement that includes buy/sell terms. On the occurrence of certain events, such as death or disability, the unaffected owners have an option to buy the affected person’s shares or interest in the business. Often, insurance policies are relied on as the funding mechanism to buy the business interest from the estate.