Overview of Changes to Business Name Registration in Australia

  • States, territories and the Australian Government have worked together to introduce a program of new initiatives that will reduce red tape, save time, cut costs, improve knowledge and certainty for Australian business.
  • A new National Business Names Registration Service will replace the current state/territory services, so that businesses only need to register their name with a single register nationally.
  • It is anticipated the new National Business Names Registration Service will commence on 28 May 2012 (dependent on the passage of legislation through the state parliaments).
  • The new National Business Names Registration Service will be managed and administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Visit www.asic.gov.au/business-names for more information.
  • Businesses will be able to apply to register or renew a business name online and in most cases receive confirmation of their registration straight away.
  • Costs for registering a business will come down in most jurisdictions – businesses can choose to register their business name at a cost of $30 for one year or $70 for three years. Currently, a business operating and registering their business name in every state and territory will pay more than $1,000 for three years registration.
  • To help new businesses, there is also a linked process for registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a national business name, the two most common registrations when starting a business abr.gov.au
  • Businesses can also link to Australian trade mark and domain name searches which may be important to establishing their businesses. Visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au for information on trade marks or www.auda.org.au for information on domain names.
  • Existing businesses do not need to do anything to transfer their business name to ASIC when the new National Business Names Registration Service is launched. Their existing state and territory business name registration will automatically be transferred into the new National Business Names Register.
  • Until the new service is in place, businesses will need to follow the current process for registering a business name in each state and territory they wish to trade in. For more information on how to register or renew a business name in your state or territory, visit www.business.gov.au  

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