ASIC has a company database, ASCOT, which contains important information about all Australian companies. Anyone can use ASCOT to check details of companies or company officers they are doing business with.
Because investors and credit providers make use of the information on this database to make judgements on the status of companies, it is imperative that the information contained in ASCOT is as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
Further, in return for the advantages obtained by incorporating and registering a company, the Corporations Act places various obligations on companies and company officers. Failure to meet those obligations is an offence and can result in the company or company officer receiving a penalty notice.
Under Part 9.4 of the Corporations Act ASIC can issue a penalty notice if a person (which includes a company):
does something that the person is forbidden to do under the Corporations Act; or
does not do something that the person is required or directed to do under the Corporations Act, or otherwise contravenes a provision of the Corporations Act.
What happens if I get a penalty notice?
In general, if you get a penalty notice, you must pay a penalty payment of
$137.50 if you are a natural person, or
$687.50 if you are a body corporate.
The amount that you will be required to pay will be specified in the penalty notice.
In addition you must also provide evidence that you are no longer contravening the provision of the Corporations Act that caused ASIC to issue the penalty notice. (For example, If you receive a penalty notice because your company does not have sufficient officeholders, you must lodge a Form 484 Change to company details appointing the appropriate number of officeholders needed to meet the minimum number specified in the Corporations Act.)
The payment and evidence of non-contravention must be received by ASIC within 21 days of the date shown on the penalty notice. If ASIC does not receive full payment and evidence of non-contravention within that time, we can commence court proceedings without further notice.
If ASIC commences court proceedings a summons will be issued in your name. A summons may only be withdrawn if all of the following conditions are met:
an application for the withdrawal of the summons is lodged, marked to the 'Prosecutions Clerk';
the person to whom the penalty notice was sent provides evidence that they are no longer contravening the provision of the Corporations Act that caused ASIC to issue the penalty notice;
all lodging and late fees (if any) associated with the contravention have been paid in full;
the penalty payment payable for each charge detailed on the summons has been paid in full; and
the amount of any disbursements and legal costs incurred by ASIC in serving and issuing the summons are paid in full.