It's time to register your business trading name

October 10, 2018

The Australian Business Register will soon be removing trading names from its database unless they are registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which could create headaches for some business owners.

If your business is currently trading under a business name that is different to your legal business name, then you should be aware that from 31 October 2018, the trading name will disappear from the Australian Business Register. To continue using it, you'll need to register the trading name.

What's the difference between a legal name and a trading name?

Sometimes a company may want to operate under a different name to its legal name without the identifiers such as Pty Ltd. This is a trading name.

For many business owners there may only be subtle differences in the trading and legal names that could cause some issues. For example, Joe's Plumbing might be its trading name, but the legal name might be Joe Palmer Plumbing Pty Ltd.

Before the National Business Names register came into existence in 2012, unregistered trading names could be used, however this is now changing.

Why does the difference matter?

While the name above example may seem a subtle difference, the removal of trading names from the ABR could cause problems for business owners if the business cannot be found on the register.

For example, due diligence by banks, finance companies, insurance and other providers to provide finance typically include an ABR search. In other cases, a potential business buyer will want to check out the ABR as part of buying a business to ensure there are no issues associated with the company.

If the organisation or person undertaking due diligence cannot find a legal name in the ABR, then there maybe unexpected issues, for example it may impact your ability to get finance or sell your business.  

So what is changing?

After October 2018, trading names will disappear from the Australian Business Register.  While the ABR currently shows trading names in search results, these will be removed from the database.

What should you do now?

There are two ways to register a business name, which is to visit the ASIC website and follow the prompts or contact Bates Cosgrave and we can register the name on your behalf and ensure the correct legal names are linked to your ABN.

In most cases, the name will be added to the register fairly quickly unless your business contains a word that is restricted by ASIC. In that case, your application will be manually processed, which may take a little longer.

It should also be noted that registering your business name doesn't automatically give you trademark protection, which would have to be applied for separately via IP Australia.

Need more information?

Contact us on 02 9957 4033 if you would like our assistance in registering a business name or searching for any listed names on the Australian Business Register that relate to your business.



Follow Bates Cosgrave on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter


This article is provided for information purposes only and correct at the time of publication. It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.

Share this

Get Small Business News each month

ChineseLanguage Select