The Australian Business Register is retiring trading names for businesses on 31 October 2023.
What is a trading name?
A trading name was a name that businesses used to conduct their business activities when their public name was different than the name of their company or entity. The Australian Business Register (ABR) collected trading names prior to 2012. Trading names have not been collected since May 2012 and slowly been phased out in favour of registering business names. As of 31 October 2023, trading names will be retired and will no longer appear on the Australian Business Register website.
What is a business name?
A business name is a name or title under which a person or entity conducts a business. Businesses are now required to use a registered business name instead of a trading name. If businesses are still using a trading name, they must ensure that a business name is registered prior to the end of October this year.
All businesses must register their business name unless a person trades under their own name or an exhemption applies. Business names are linked to an Australian Business Number (ABN), which is a unique 11-digit number that identifies a business to the government, community and the public in general.
When should I register a business name?
You will need to register a business name if you carry on business within Australia and are not trading under your own name before the end of this month.
Exceptions to this include:
- if you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname
- if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all the partners’ names, or
- if you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company’s name.
The law does not allow any changes from the business holder’s name if you wish to rely on the above exemptions. For example, if your name is John Smith, and the name of your business is ‘John Smith & Co’, you will need to register the business name ‘John Smith & Co’.
Register your business name on the ASIC website here.
Current business names can be checked on the ASIC website here.
While a registered business name allows you to operate under the registered name, it does not necessarily grant permission to use that name exclusively. If a business name requires protection and exclusivity, then the business will need to apply for a trade mark. A trade mark is a type of intellectual property used to protect a brand. It’s usually a symbol or name which customers recognise in the marketplace that distinguishes a business from competitors.
What to do now?
ABN Lookup will continue to display trading names until 31 October 2023.
Trading names were to be retired from 1 November 2018, and transitional arrangements have been extended to 31 October 2023. This has given affected businesses more time to inform their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders of any changes to the name that they use to conduct their business.
We ask for ABN numbers when arranging insurance for businesses and their operators. Ensure you have yours ready to go from November 1 2023.