By Dan Barrett

What’s the Best Way to Register a Business Name

Businesses

Setting up a small business can be a trying experience that can dampen the enthusiasm of any entrepreneur, regardless of how much passion they have. The idea of the bureaucracy involved with going through the process of registering your business sounds like a headache that you just don’t need on top of everything else. The good news is that registering your business is actually an easy, painless task.

Registration

All business’ are registed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The price ASIC charges for registration varies depending on the sort of company you need to register:

  • Public company with share capital (201A) – $463
  • Public company limited by guarantee (201B) – $382
  • Proprietary company (201C) – $463

While all business names are registered with ASIC, you may find benefit in lodging your application through a Private Service Provider. Such a provider may be an accountant, solicitor, or a business that offers registration services with ASIC. These third-party providers offer services beyond ASIC, such as advice, templates for documents such as Minutes and Directors Consent, and domain name checks.

Any private service provider who submits an application on your behalf is subject to legislative rules cited in the Business Names Registration Act 2012. Submitting an application through one of these third-party providers is just the same as if you had submitted directly with ASIC itself.

In registering as a company, you are also able to register a company name.

Company Names

If you carry out business or trade in Australia without it happening under your own name, you must register a business. By registering your business name, you hold exclusive rights to that name across every State and Territory in Australia.

ASIC process company name registrations. When submitting a registration, you will need to provide:

Australian Business Number (ABN): It is free to apply for an ABN. Prior to applying for an ABN, you are advised to determining what your business structure will be. The Australian Business Register provides a helpful guide to this on their site. Also, when establishing which business structure suits your needs, it is helpful to consider the role of the Director in a small business.
Individual details: The name of the business name holder(s).
Birth details: Including both the business name holders date of birth and country of origin.
Email address: For delivery of notices.
Residential address: A physical or street address must be provided – a PO box is not acceptable. This address will not be displayed publicly, only used for administrative or law enforcement purposes.
Address for service of documents: This must be a physical or street address or post office box address.

Any company name you choose cannot already be assigned company name not already registered to a company or business. There are also restrictions in the names that you can use to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of your business (intended or otherwise). For example, you cannot use the word ‘University’ in your title if you are not legitimately a university.

Understand that a registered business name does not grant you a trademark, protecting your intellectual property or brand.

Your Australian Company Number (ACN)

Every company in Australia must be issued with an Australian Company Number (ACN) – a nine-digit number that ensures identification of a company involved in a business transaction. When a company is registered with ASIC, they are provided with their unique ACN.

You are required, by law, to display your ACN on:

  • accounting statements, such as invoices
  • any documents you lodge with ASIC
  • receipts (if they’re not machine generated, e.g. from a cash register)
  • orders for goods and services
  • business letterheads
  • official company notices
  • cheques, or any documents that represent a legal amount of payment
  • written ads making a specific offer that can be accepted (such as by completing an order form).

If your documents already display an ABN and your company name, there is no need to also display your ACN.

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