- As a business name registration service provider, we are flooded with questions on how to register a business name almost on a daily basis.
- It's important to note that just because a business name is available for registration through ASIC, this does not mean it's not trademarked.
- Read on to find out the steps to register a business name in Australia.
As a business name registration service provider, we receive a large number of queries and questions almost on a daily basis.
Complicated procedures, temperamental online forms which sometimes work (and sometimes don't), error messages and rejection letters are some of the most frequent frustrations new business owners seem to be facing - way too often if you ask me.
The last thing any new (and even existing) business owner needs is to be inconvenienced because a system lacks both functionality and transparency.
In defence or even maybe defiance (depending on how you look at it) of ASIC, I must declare that they are continuously changing and updating both systems procedures and policy. In a way it's good, as it improves the system. However, consequently these changes lead to even more frustration as they happen often and without notice.
I hope that the following will help clarify the process of registration for you:
What Is the Process of Registering a Business Name in Australia?
Below are the steps you need to take in order to register a business name in Australia:
- Search the business name availability
- Check whether an available business name is trademarked
- Register an ABN
- Register your business name with ASIC
Let's look at these steps in a little more detail.
1. Search the business name availability
A business name will be denied registration if a duplicate or similar business or company name already exists on the register. You should always first search business name availability before beginning your application. There is a strict list of names which will be denied registration. You can find a list of undesirable and restricted words and phrases here.
2. Check whether an available business name is trademarked
It is important to note that just because a business name is available for registration through ASIC, this does not mean that it is not trademarked. It is the proprietor's responsibility to check that the name does not infringe on anyone's intellectual property.
3. Register an ABN
In order to register a business name, the proprietary entity (sole trader, partnership, company or trust) must have an Australian business number (ABN). An ABN can be applied for free of charge on the ABR.gov.au website. The ATO may take up to 28 days to process your application.
4. Register your business name with ASIC
Once you have an ABN you can then register your business name with ASIC. An ABN reference number may be used to submit an application for the purpose of securing a name, however, until the ABNis officially allocated the application will 'sit' in the system. After the ABN is allocated, the ATO will notify ASIC and the business name application will automatically be processed and the Business Name Register will reflect the new business name.
The average turnaround time for ASIC to list a business name on the register is anywhere from 2-5 business days. In peak periods this may take longer.
The cost to register a business name is $34 for 1 year or $78 for 3 years (prices updated as of September 2014, per the www.asbc.gov.au website).
Other Things to Know About Registering a Business Name
A business name may be registered for either 1 or 3 years. A renewal notice will be sent from ASIC to the registered postal address 28 days prior to the renewal date. A business name can only be renewed after the notice has been issued. The ASIC Key will be necessary for the renewal process.
Both a physical business address as well as a registered address for the service of documents must be provided on the application. PO Box addresses will not be accepted. The registered address is made available to the public on the ASIC business name register. It is suggested that individuals working from home, not willing to disclose their home address, should use their accountant's office address.
Each business name is allocated an ASIC key- which is a unique 9 digit code which will be necessary in the event that any changes, such as address updates, renewals or cancellations need to be made. This key should be kept safely guarded. Anyone with access to it will be able to make changes to the business name account.
Business Name Certificates are no longer issued. Instead, a letter of registration and a confirmation of registration are sent to the registered address.
The system on the ASIC website through which all business name registrations and changes are made is called ASIC Connect. Once you set up an account you will then need to follow the prompts.
If you do not feel confident in applying and managing your business name account, you can enlist the help of an ASIC agent (corporate service provider).
I hope this helps to clarify the steps you need to take. ASIC has endeavoured to make this process more straightforward and painless in recent years, with the cost to register a business name having also been reduced during that same period.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask by commenting below.
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