New National Business Names Registration System 

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Friday 03 February 2012

Updated: Wednesday 23 August 2012

The new National Business Names Registration System has now commenced, replacing the state and territory registers.

All business name registrations are now managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) External link.

How does it affect new businesses?

You now only need to register for a business name once, instead of having to register your name in each state and territory you want to operate in. Once your name is registered, it's registered nationally.

You need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN), or be in the process of applying for one and not have been refused, in order to apply for a business name.

ABN registrations continue to be free.

How does it affect existing businesses?

You don't need to do anything to transfer your business name to ASIC. Your existing business name registration has automatically been transferred over into the new system. The due date for renewing your business name will remain the same.

If you previously registered your business name in more than one state or territory, all your business names have been transferred to ASIC's national business names register. Any of these names can be used to carry on business nationally.

You may choose to keep one business name record (e.g. the one with the latest registration expiry) and allow your remaining business names to lapse by not paying the renewal fee.

If you have multiple different business names, or also have a registered company, you are now able to align the renewal dates for those registrations.

If you have multiple principal places of business across Australia, ASIC will notify you of which address it intends to use as the principal place of business for sending documents. You may nominate an alternative address for service through ASIC External link.

If your business had an identical name as another business operating in another state or territory, ASIC will provide additional information on the public register to differentiate affected businesses. This may be the state or territory your business name was first registered in. This identifier doesn't form part of your business name, but is used to allow people to distinguish between identical business names on the public register.

I have a company registration, do these changes affect me?

ASIC continues to manage and administer company registrations throughout Australia. If you also have a business name, or multiple business names registered, you can align the renewal dates for all of those registrations under the new system.

Before I register a new name, can I check if the name I want is available?

Yes. The new system allows you to search existing business names before progressing with an application for registration a new business name. You can see if a business name is available by using the check business name availability search External link on the ASIC website, or by commencing an application to register a business name on ASIC Connect External link. A series of automated tests are applied to your query, and you will be notified immediately after your search if the name you requested is available, unavailable or if it requires further review by ASIC.

Before registering, you should also check that your proposed name doesn’t already have a trade mark registered against it. You can search Australian trade marks at IP Australia Trade Mark Check (TM Check) External link. For more information on trade marks and business names, see our Trade marks page.

How can I register a business name?

Once you have an Australian Business Number External link, you can register a business name online. You can do this through the ABN application or through ASIC Connect External link.

How much does it cost to register or renew a business name under the new system?

You can find out what the business name payments and fees External link are for registering or renewing a business name on the ASIC website.

Who notifies me when my registration is due for renewal under the new system?

ASIC will notify you - usually within 28 days to two months of your renewal due date. If your renewal was due before 28 May 2012, you must pay for the state or territory consumer affairs agency your business was registered with. You will be able to renew your registration through ASIC Connect External link. Renewal notices will be sent by mail to the address for service of documents for your business. You can check your business name details on the register External link to see what address is recorded.

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 External link at any time.

Who can I contact for information?

ASIC now manages and administers all business name registrations and renewals throughout Australia.

If you:

  • have an enquiry about your registration
  • need to pay your registration renewal
  • need to update your business details
  • wish to cancel your registration,

visit the ASIC External link website or call 1300 300 630.

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