Registering a Business

If you are going to conduct a business, you will need a business name. To check and see whether a name is available that you like, you can visit www.asic.gov.au This site has pretty much everything you need to know about registering and operating new businesses. Look under starting a new business and then ‘how to Register a New business’.

Business Entry Point

For all other forms and links go to the Business Entry Point: www.business.gov.au This is an excellent site and absolutely recommended to anyone starting out. This is a Federal Government initiative offering a range of value-added features that will assist business to discover, manage and complete Federal, State and Local government transactions through a single entry point.

If you are starting out there are generally two alternatives to registering a business. Establishing a Pty Ltd company, or registering and trading under a business name. A proprietary Limited company costs between $800 - $1000 and protects the name of the company in Australia. Registering a business name costs approximately $125 and only protects the name in the state you register in. However it does allow you to register a domain name.

Registering a Business Name

f you just want to register a business name or your company carries on a business in a name which is different to its company name, it must register the business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority. These are:

  • Registrar-General of Business Names (Australian Capital Territory),
  • Department of Consumer Affairs (New South Wales),
  • Office of Business Affairs (Northern Territory),
  • Office of Consumer Affairs (Queensland),
  • State Business and Corporate Affairs Office South Australia),
  • Corporate Affairs Office (Tasmania),
  • Office of Fair Trading and Business Affairs (Victoria) and
  • Business Names Registration Office (Western Australia).

Sole Traders and Partners. Businesses which are not companies (e.g., sole traders and partnerships) are required to register their business name. The exception to this is if they conduct their activity only under the name of the person or persons involved (i.e., first name and surname, or initials and surname).

Registration or use of a business name does not create a legal entity (whereas registration of a company does) and does not allow the use of privileges to which a company is entitled, such as a corporate tax rate or limited liability. A business name has no legal status.

While the requirement to register business names is not under the Act, business names are still recorded by ASIC's index, and the register against which proposed new company names are checked includes business names.

ASIC may refuse to register names which are offensive or suggestive of illegal activity.

Registering a Company

You will need to lodge an Application for registration as an Australian company (form 201) together with the prescribed fee. Prescribed fees are listed in the Fees for Commonly Lodged Documents information sheet.

This can be lodged in person at any ASIC Service Centre or with a Local ASIC Representative or by mail to:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission
PO Box 4000
Gippsland Mail Centre VIC 3841

The form will require you to state:

  • the proposed company name (if the company does not have a proposed company name, the name on registration will be its Australian Company Number);
  • the class and type of company;
  • the registered office details;
  • the principal business office details;
  • director and secretary details; and
  • members and share details.

After the Application for registration as an Australian company (form 201) has been received, fully paid and successfully processed, ASIC gives the company an ACN or ABN, registers the company and issues a Certificate of Registration.

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