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Business Name Registration. What’s in a name?


In 2014, almost 150,000 business names were registered with ASIC. Based on these figures, at least 1 new business is starting every 3.5 minutes. Quite astonishing.

Owning and running a business is a journey. Choosing a business name occurs at the beginning of this journey yet it can have lasting effects on your business identity, what the business stands for and who its preferred customers are.



What is a business name?  A business name is a name under which a person or entity conducts a business. It identifies the business to customers and differentiates a business from its competitors.

Why register a business name? Generally, it is mandatory to register a business name under which a business trades in Australia. You do not need to register a business name if you are trading under your (or a registered company) name. There are other exemptions also.

Who maintains the register of business names? From 28 May 2012, ASIC assumed responsibility for registering, renewing and administering business names for all Australian businesses. Prior to this, each state and territory had its own business name registration system.

How to apply to register your business name When you apply to ASIC for your business name registration, some details you will need to provide include the name you want and the name and ABN of the business name holder. The business name holder can be a sole trader, a registered Australian company with an ACN or other entity such as a trust or partnership.

Other considerations when starting a business There are other relevant regulatory requirements and registrations to consider when starting a business including:

  • setting up the legal structure for your business;
  • ATO registrations;
  • payroll tax;
  • workers’ compensation insurance;
  • superannuation contributions;
  • trade mark registration;
  • domain registration; and
  • government licensing requirements.

Need more information?

You can read more information about business names on the ASIC website or through Thomson Reuters’ online document generation business, Cleardocs. Cleardocs also has resources available to assist you with your company registration.


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