How To Register A Business Name?

How To Register A Business Name?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

If you need to know how to register a business name in Australia, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to give you the lowdown on business names and how to register one, as well as who needs to register a business name and who doesn’t.

how-do-I-register-a-business-name-in-Australia

The truth is, there’s a lot of information out there when it comes to registering a business name in Australia. But, it’s important not to get this part wrong. In fact, it’s one of the first steps you’ll take as a new small business owner before you print your business cards, create your logo or buy a website domain.

So, let’s dive into the basics of the business name registration process to  help start you off on the right foot.

Do I need to register a business name?

Yes, if you open a business in Australia that operates under a different name than your own, you need to register your business name. When you register your business in Australia, you can then legally operate your business nationally, in any state or territory throughout the country.

However, if you’re a sole trader, that means you do business under your own name. In this case, you do not need to register a business name in Australia. However, you will need to apply for an ABN as a sole trader to legally do business under your name.

In other words, if you’re a sole trader operating under your name (Jane Doe), you do not need to register a business name. But if you’re a sole trader doing business as Jane Doe Inc., you do need to register a business name.

How to register a business name in Australia?

There are a few ways to register a business name in Australia. You can either use the Australian Government Business Registration Service, ASIC Connect or go through a private service provider.

Using the Australian Government Business Registration Service is all about convenience. When you register your business name this way, you can register for several other business and tax obligations at the same time. It’s an easy way to get your business off the ground with everything you need.

With the Australian Government Business Registration Service, all at once, you can register for:

  • An ABN
  • A business name
  • An Australian company and company name
  • Goods and services tax (GST)
  • Pay as you Go (PAYG) withholding
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
  • Luxury Car Tax (LCT)
  • Fuel Tax Credits (FTC)
  • Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)

To be clear, you don’t need to register for all of these options when you register a business name through the Australian Government Business Registration Service. You’ll be presented with checkboxes giving you the option to register only for what you need.

If you’re an individual and you need to register a business name but likely won’t need to complete any other registrations straight away, it’s usually easier to register a business name through ASIC Connect.

Just be sure you’ve already applied for or been assigned an ABN before you use ASIC Connect to register a business name.

To get started, head to the ASIC website at www.asic.gov.au and create an account. Log into your new account and select the ‘Licences and Registrations’ tab. Select ‘business name registrations’ from the list in the dropdown and then select ‘Get Started’.

From there, you’ll be taken through a series of steps where you’ll:

  • Check name availability
  • Enter your business name
  • Enter your details as the business name holder
  • Enter address for the principal place of business and an email address
  • Confirm eligibility requirements
  • Review the details
  • Declare your business name
  • Submit payment
  • Confirm your transaction

how-do-I-register-a-business-name-in-Australia
Image Source: Physio Inq Perith and Physio Inq South Penrith

How much does it cost to register a business name?

To register a business name through the ASIC, it’ll cost $37 for one year or $88 for three years.

Hopefully you’re planning to keep your business open for at least three years, so it’s often worth it to save a little money and go for the three-year registration.

How much is it to register a business name?

It costs $37 to register a business name for one year or $88 to register a business name for three years and the time cost is minimal as well. You can complete the entire process online without needing to go into a government office or send anything in the mail.

At most, registering a business name will take about half an hour and costs less than $100 for three years. However, other types of registrations and licenses may cost a little bit more. Still, registering a business name itself is affordable.

How to Find Out If a Business Name is Registered

To find out if a business name is already registered, you can do a search through ABIC Connect. Search parameters that you can choose from include a:

  • Business Names Index Search
  • Business Name Holder (Individual) Search
  • Business Name Holder (Organisation) Search

You can also complete what’s known as a paid search extract. Some of these paid extract searches include:

  • Current and Historical Business Name Holder - Organisation Extract
  • Current and Historical Business Name Holder – Person Extract
  • Current Business Name Holder – Organisation Extract
  • Current Business Name Holder – Person Extract

The point of a business name search is to ensure that the name you’re planning to register isn’t already taken by another individual or organisation. Once you know that the business name you’re after is available, you can begin the business name registration process.

how-do-I-register-a-business-name-in-Australia
Image Source: Physio Inq Harrington Park

How to register a business name under an existing ABN?

If you already have an ABN, say as a sole trader, for example, you can register a business name as an individual through ASIC Connect.

This process is the same as any other time you’d register a business name. At the start of the registration process, you’ll simply select the dropdown option for ‘relevant ABN’ since you want to register a business name under an existing ABN.

To do this, you’ll need either the ABN itself or the ABN Application Reference Number to continue with the process.

From there, you’ll follow the steps as follows:

  • Check name availability
  • Enter your business name
  • Enter your details as the business name holder
  • Enter address for the principal place of business and an email address
  • Confirm eligibility requirements
  • Review the details
  • Declare your business name
  • Submit payment
  • Confirm your transaction

Keep in mind that as an individual, you can hold various business names under your ABN as a sole trader or as a partnership. The important thing to note is that you must register a business name for any business that operates in a different name than that of your own.

You can also add an ABN to a business name holder by logging into your ASIC Connect account, selecting ‘Lodgements and Notifications’ and in the selections column choosing ‘Add ABN’.

In most cases, the ASIC website makes it easy to update your ABN details and add a business name to your existing ABN. However, once you register a business name, you cannot change it, which leads to our next point.

How to change a registered business name?

how-do-I-register-a-business-name-in-Australia

You cannot change a registered business name. If you would like to change your business name, you must register a new one by completing the same steps either through the Australian Government Business Registration Service, ASIC Connect or through a private service provider.

You must re-register your new business name within 28 days of changing your business name in order to operate legally in Australia under this new business name. Even if it changes slightly, you need to update the Australian Government by registering this new name.

Overall, registering a business name lets the Australian Government know you’re in business and ensures that you aren’t doing business under an existing business name. It also protects your unique business name from being used by others. Although different from a trademark, it’s still an important part of launching a business in Australia.

Want more small business information? Check out our other articles for additional expert advice and tips.

For more handy business tips and tricks, check out our other trending blogs:

Email-marketing-tips-to-boost-your-small-business

What Insurance Do I Need For My Small Business?

Find Out

What-is-a-micro-business

What is a Micro Business?

Click here

What-is-business-turnover

What is Business Turnover?

Learn how here

How Much Tax Does a Small Business Pay in Australia?

Click here

Share the article