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Sole trader, company, or partnership? Get your business structure right first time

26 Jul 18

The government has launched an online tool that helps small businesses quickly and easily decide what business structure works best for their company.

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash launched the Choose Business Structure tool this week.

He says that most New Zealand businesses are sole traders, companies, or partnerships.

“It can sometimes be daunting or confusing to decide which structure works best for your business,” he says.

“New Zealand business structures have different legal and financial obligations which can affect the ability of a business to evolve or grow. It’s important for businesses get it right the first time.”

Choose Business Structure is developed by business.govt.nz and is one of a suite of tools designed to help businesses, with guidance personalised to their individual needs.

“The new tool, Choose Business Structure, takes an all-inclusive view of the various obligations and considerations businesses will face, such as tax, ACC, financial statements, and indemnity insurance. It was developed in collaboration with the Companies Office, New Zealand Business Number (NZBN), Inland Revenue, ACC and the private sector,” Nash explains.

“It also offers practical tips, comparison tables and suggests when a business owner should talk with experts. It gathers information in one place so that small business owners can quickly and easily make decisions with confidence. If you’re already in business, it’s also a good way to check that you’re operating under the right structure.”

“There are of course other structures such as trusts, unlimited liability companies, and co-operatives. I encourage business owners to check the new tool and explore other resources available from MBIE,” Nash concludes.

Earlier this year business.govt.nz revamped ONECheck, its online service to help businesses check if they can use their preferred name for a business or brand.

“Choosing a name for your business is a big decision, especially if you plan to build a brand around this name. Before you make any decisions it pays to make a few quick checks to see if any other businesses are using similar names, and how easy it will be to protect the name you choose. This also applies to existing businesses – while it’s better to get it right from the start, it is never too late to make a quick check.”

The service searches business names, trademarks, web domains, and social media to see if a specific name is available, or already in use.

ONECheck was launched in 2012 and since then, people are searching its databases up to 2000 times per day.

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