The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) introduced a new business name register on 28 May 2012, replacing state and territory registers.
From November 2018, all trading names, including the trading name listed against your Australian business number (ABN), will be removed from ABN Lookup. Registered business names will continue to be listed on ABN Lookup.
A grace period has been in effect to allow businesses time to transition over to the new business name register.
What you need to do
If you want to continue trading under a specific name, you’ll need to register it as a business name with ASIC. You can do this online through the ASIC website. Make sure you have your ABN when you apply.
You don’t need to register a business name if you trade under your own name (‘John Smith’), but you’ll need to have a business name if it’s anything else (‘John Smith Plumbing’).
You can’t apply for a business name that is identical to one already on the register. Before you apply, use the ‘Check name availability’ search function to see if the name you want is available.
If the name you want isn’t available, we recommend changing your name so that it is not identical. For example, instead of ‘Bunch of Apples’, try ‘Sam’s Bunch of Apples’.
The fees for registering a business name are:
›$35 for one year
›$82 for three years.
If you have questions about how to register a business name, you can phone ASIC on 1300 300 630 between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Select the following options:
›2 for running a Business
›2 for Business Names, and
›1 for Business Name Registrations.
What happens next?
After a business name has been successfully registered, ASIC will email you a copy of your record of registration and your business name will appear on ABN Lookup on the same day.
You must display your business name wherever you’re open to the public including at your storefront. You must also include your business name and ABN on any business correspondence that you send out, including invoices or purchase orders.