Australia’s deregulation agenda – ASIC search fees to be axed
On 29 March 2022, the Australian Government announced its intention to reduce and remove company fees as part of its deregulation agenda.
As part of its 2022-23 budget, the Government proposes to replace the existing Australian Business Registers in September 2023 with a modernised platform and streamline various fees incurred by businesses using the current system.
The plan contained within budget papers includes:
- the removal of fees for searches conducted on the new registry website;
- the removal of company’s annual late review fee;
- the reduction in the number of fees paid for ad-hoc lodgements; and
- the provision of $300,000 to the Department of Treasury to redesign wholesale business register search services which are facilitated by third-party providers.
It is projected that the Government will forgo around $64.9 million in revenue over 3 years from 2023-24 as a result of the proposed reforms.
The Government’s removal of fees for company searches will bring Australia in line with its NZ, UK and Singaporean counterparts, all of which offer free company search services to the public.
Privatisation of company search information has been a topic of criticism for many years. It has long been argued that company searches should be free to the public in the interests of transparency and accessibility. It is likely that removal of search fees will be warmly embraced by the population (and could result in significant cost savings for many businesses). It is not yet known when ASIC fees for company searches will cease.
For more information about the Government’s deregulation agenda, please visit the 2022-23 Budget website: https://budget.gov.au/.
For further information please contact an author, or any member of our Corporate & Commercial team.
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