Starting out

How to register your business name

Have a business idea and name and ready to register it? Congratulations! In this guide, we will share step-by-step on how to register the name.

You can apply for your business name as well as other essential business registrations through the Business Registration Service. But before you register, here are four steps you will need to consider.

Step 1: Identify your business structure

When you register for a business name, you will need to select your business structure.

The four most common types of business structures in Australia are:

1. sole trader – this is the simplest structure and gives you full control of your business

2. partnership – made up of two or more people who distribute income or losses

3. company – this is more complex, limits your liability because it's a separate legal entity

4. trust – this is where a trustee is responsible for business operations.

Step 2: Have an ABN

Have your Australian business number (ABN) handy. If you don't have an ABN, you can apply for one here.

An ABN is a unique 11-digit number that identifies your business. It doesn't replace your tax file number. You will need an ABN for tax purposes and to transact on other business activities.

An ABN can be used to:

  • identify your business, especially when ordering and invoicing
  • avoid pay as you go (PAYG) tax on payments you get
  • for goods and services tax (GST) purposes
  • claim energy grants credits
  • register an Australian website domain name.

Step 3: Check if your business name is available

Business names are registered nationally which means you don't need to register again with your state or territory.

Visit the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) business names register website to find out if your business name is available.

Step 4: Think about protecting your brand

Registering a business name doesn't automatically protect your Intellectual Property (IP) and branding. To get exclusive rights to your business name, you will need to trademark it. You can understand the differences between a business name and a trademark here.

Make sure you also check that the business name isn't already a website name or trademark.

Catherine Ngo

Senior Editor and Content Writer, My Business

Catherine is passionate about unravelling the latest news and insights to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and employers.

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