Important Things to know about registered agents
Want to be a registered agent?
A registered agent is person that has duty to act as an intermediary between ASIC and Australian companies to provide help to companies to meet their lodgement obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act).
A registered agent does not operate on behalf of ASIC but instead operates on behalf of companies who need to lodge information with ASIC. These companies may choose to deal directly with ASIC, use the services of a casual lodging party, or may choose to use the services of a registered agent.
It is the task of the registered agent to frequently lodge documents with ASIC, and/or represent at least one company by either frequently lodging documents or arranging payments on behalf of a company.
Those registered agents who lodge information on behalf of companies electronically with ASIC, mostly either use the Online Agent Portal or EDGE system (which requires third party software to lodge) provided by ASIC.
Because the role of a registered agent is an important one, the registration criteria and ASIC’s expectations of agent conduct must be met to maintain registration.
There are many accountancy and legal firms who are registered with ASIC as agents.
Registered agents are usually members of specific Industry Associations that recognize the qualifications of these individuals and firms.
Often, these registered agents are also a Tax Agent, lodging documents on behalf of businesses and companies with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
To become a registered agent, you must register with ASIC. You also are required to lodge a Form RA01 Notification to register, change details of, or cease as an agent. There is a detailed guide to help you understand what is expected of you as a registered agent that accompanies the Form RA01.
Once you’ve done lodging the Form RA01 with all the correct information, a letter will be sent to you, welcoming you to your role as a registered agent. The letter also provides you with your unique registered agent number.
To activate your number, you will need to register for the use of our Online Agent Portal or EDGE system. Then link companies to your agent number by lodging a Form 362 Notification of appointment or cessation of a registered agent by a company. This form will indicate that a company wishes to be represented by you and needs to be signed by an officeholder of the company. Then next, lodge in paper on behalf of the companies you represent, using the company corporate key if you are unable to lodge online.
Please do note that when ASIC process the Form 362, they will automatically link the company record to you as a registered agent. The ASIC will then send the company annual statement and company invoice statements to you as the registered agent.
When lodging and receiving company documents electronically as a registered agent, you will have a choice of receiving and lodging documents electronically with ASIC, either via ASIC’s EDGE system, which requires a dedicated third party software, or its web based system, the Online Agent Portal.
Suited to large volume lodgers who manage a broad base of client companies, the EDGE system provide you a range of services that include the ability to upload information into your own registers and match it with ASIC’s Corporate Register without the risk of viruses; the ability to lodge documents outside of normal ASIC business hours; the ability to manage and co-ordinate ASIC and ATO lodgement requirements, and will save you time by replacing mail or messenger services with electronic lodgement and fast confirmation and validation of data received.
On the other hand, the Online Agent Portal is suitable to small to medium lodgers who represent a small base of client companies. The Online Agent Portal is web based system that is easy to use from home or office. It also provides an interactive way to lodge documents and deals directly with ASIC and does not require third party software.
Both the Online Agent Portal and EDGE system provide you the convenience enabling you to download company statements and invoice statements, ad-hoc company statements (current details of a company at a point in time), a list of companies linked to you as an agent (if applicable), company debt reports, and document lodgement reports.
Having a registered agent is of great help to companies as a registered agent may help companies meet their lodgement obligations more efficiently. Because registered agents often lodge on behalf of a number of companies, they tend to be more familiar with the requirements companies need to meet under the Corporations Act and can help companies understand what information needs to be lodged with us.
- As a registered agent, the ASIC expects you to be aware of document lodgement obligations under the Act, particularly s1308 and the information you need to lodge in relation to your registration.
- As a registered agent, you are required to meet the registration criteria before and during registration by frequently lodging documents with ASIC, and/or having to represent at least one company by either frequently lodging documents or making payments on the company’s behalf.
- You are also required to work with ASIC in ensuring that the companies you represent meet their compliance requirements by downloading company annual statements within 28 days of the annual review date from your EDGE or Online Mailbox; ensuring officeholders are alerted as soon as possible after receipt of the annual company statement to review the details and pay their annual review fee, and encouraging quick notification if the details of a company change, so that you can lodge the change with us within the required lodgement period.
- As a registered agent, you are also required to lodge necessary documents with ASIC electronically by: registering for the use of at least one of ASIC’s electronic lodgement systems; reading and understanding the Electronic Lodgement Protocol (ELP), and lodging electronically via our electronic lodgement systems where possible.