Trading Names – New Requirements

Trading Names 2

Trading Names – New Requirements


Trading names will cease to be displayed on the Australian Business Register from 1 November 2018. ASIC registration will be required to keep these displayed thereafter.

Trading names

Trading names or business names in Australia can be one of two types: those registered under State or Territory laws (typically trading names or, in the case of many trusts, the name of the trustee company), or those registered as an Australian Business Name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and linked to an Australian Business Number (ABN).

The Australian Business Register

From 28 May 2012, the registration of business names in Australia became the responsibility of ASIC, who launched the Australian Business Register (ABR) to maintain a central record of all registered names. From this date, the ABR has displayed both historical trading names already in existence at that date and all Australian Business Names that have been registered with ASIC since.

Changes to the register

From 1 November 2018, the ABR will cease to display anything other than ASIC registered Australian Business Names, meaning that historical trading names will be unable to be searched on the ABR’s ABN Lookup function.

These changes raise a couple of potential issues:

  • Where customers are unable to verify your ABN or GST registration status (often by searching the ABN Lookup using the trading name on invoices) they are obliged to withhold at the top tax rate on any payments over $75 excluding GST. They are also unable to claim an input tax credit on the purchase
  • Where you have a trading name that has not been registered with ASIC, there is a risk that the name may be registered by another business and linked to an ABN that does not belong to you.

Responding to the changes

Where you have trading names that you use in the course of your business, or names that you wish to keep reserved for your own use, it is important that you register these with ASIC by 31 October 2018. A search on the ABR’s ABN Lookup website is the easiest way to do this:

Where any names show as trading names rather than business names, these are the ones that will need to be registered with ASIC to be maintained.

Registering your business name

To register a business name, you must have:

  • An ABN (or have applied for one);
  • A proposed business name (your trading name if it hasn’t already been taken); and
  • Business details (address, contacts, etc.)

Where you have multiple trading names to register, a separate registration must be completed for each.

Fees apply to the registration of business names; these must be paid to ASIC within 10 days of lodging the application or it will lapse and a second application will be required:

One year                               $36

Three years                           $84

Again, any changes will need to be completed by 31 October for the name to remain visible. Your ESV contact is available on 02 9283 1666 should you need any further information or assistance.