Q: If you start a business, is it compulsory to register a business name?
A: No, you only need to register a business name if you’d like your business to trade under a name that’s not your first and last name.
Find out more about business names and how to register for one in part two of our Business names and numbers series:
What is a business name?
A business name, also known as a trading name, is the name which your business operates under. If you register a business name, it will be connected to your Australian Business Number (ABN).
Your business name helps customers find and identify your business.
Do I need to register a business name?
You only need to register a business name if you're trading as a sole trader, partnership or trust and under a name that's not your or your partner's first name and last name.
Sally Miller has a jewelry business named 'Sally Miller'. As her business is trading under her own name, she does not need to register for a business name.
Jodie Hart has a floral business named 'Hart Flowers'. As her business is not trading under her own name, she will need to register the business name 'Hart Flowers'.
If you're trading as a company, you'll need to register a company name when you register your company.
How much does it cost to register a business name?
You can register a business name for one year or three years. A registration will cost you:
$34 for one year
$78 for three years.
How do I register for a business name?
You can register a business name through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
To register for a business name:
Decide on a name that's right for your business.
See if the business name you want is available through the check name availability search on the ASIC website.
Register for your business name online.
You'll need to already have an ABN, or be in the process of applying for one to register for a business name. You can have multiple business names linked to your ABN.
You can't register a business name that is identical or too similar to a business name registered to another Australian business or company. However, a business name does not give you legal rights to that name. This means that if someone else uses your business name for their business, you don't have any rights to stop them.
How long does it take to get a business name?
A business name registration application should take you around 15 -20 minutes to complete.
If you have an ABN, have provided all the required documents, and paid the fee, you should get confirmation in:
two business days for payment by credit card
up to five business days for payment made by BPay, EFT or Bank Transfer.
ASIC will notify you two months before your business name is due for renewal.