Updated: Jun 19, 2021
A business name, also known as a trading name, is simply a name under which a person, or another legal entity, trades as.
Your business name not only identifies you to your customers, but also allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and enables your customers to make an emotional connection to your business and brand.
For many businesses, the name is often the most valuable asset.
Remember, a business name is only used to identify your business. If you want exclusive rights to that name, you should consider protecting it with a trade mark.
To register a business name, you'll need to have an ABN as the business name will be connected to your ABN.
If you haven't already got one, you can register for an ABN and business name at the same time.
Do I need a business name?
When setting up your business, if you choose to operate as a sole trader, partnership or a trust, and not as a company, then you will have to register your business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
If you're trading as a company, you'll need to register a company name when you register your company.
If your business name is your, or your partner's, first name and surname, then there is no need to register.
Jane Ness has a retail business named 'Jane Ness'. As her business is trading under her own name, she does not need to register for a business name.
Sarah has a service business named 'Sarah's Services'. As her business is not trading under her own name, she will need to register the business name 'Sarah's Services'.
Cost of registering
The fees to register your business name with ASIC are:
$37 for 1 year
$87 for 3 years.
Renewing a business name
ASIC will notify you - usually within 28 days to two months of your renewal due date.
Renewal notices will be sent by mail to the address for service of documents for your business.
If you don't renew your business name registration on time there are no late fees; however the registration of the business name will be cancelled if the renewal fee is not paid by the due date on the invoice. No extensions will be granted.
If you don't want to renew your business name, you don't need to do anything when you receive your renewal notice. The business name will be cancelled after the renewal date if no action has been taken to renew the name. You can also cancel your business name at any time.
Business names certificate of registration
Did you know that you no longer need to display your certificate of registration for your business name?
In 2012 legislation was introduced that removed the need for businesses to display a certificate of registration
However, if your business is prominently open to the public, such as a café, you'll still need to display your business name somewhere.