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How do I register a business name?

Try the Australian Government's new Business Registration Service to use a single form to apply for key business and tax registrations, including an ABN, business name, goods and services tax (GST), pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and fringe benefits tax.

Where do I register a business name?

You can register a business name online with the;

  • Australian Government Business Registration Service
  • or
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Who can register a business name?

A business name can be registered by:

  • a person (e.g. a sole trader)
  • a partnership or joint venture
  • a company or other incorporated entity
  • unincorporated entity, including a trust, superannuation fund or unincorporated body or association

Searching before registering a business name

Before registering a business name you should consider doing a number of searches.

Type of searchWhere to searchWhat to look for
Business name availability search Australian Securities and Investments Commission's business names register

This search will show you if the name you want to register is already registered.

There may be similar names already registered, and some of these similar names may also come up in the search. You can consider registering an alternative business name if you decide that the similarity is so great that:

  • your customers might be confused, with the risk that you may lose business, or
  • the customers of the business similarly named might be confused, with the risk to you that the owner of the similar name might claim that you are engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and seek that you stop using your business name.
Company name search Australian Securities and Investments Commission's business names register

There is no need to undertake a company name search.

A business name availability search will also tell you about company names.

Trademark search IP Australia's Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS)

If the name that you want to register is already registered as a trademark, or is similar to an already registered trademark, you can still register your business name.

But you need to consider that:

  • your customers might be confused, with the risk that you may lose business, or
  • the customers of the trademark owner might be confused, with the risk to you that the trademark owner might claim that you are engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and seek that you stop using your business name

In either case you might consider an alternative business name to register.

Domain name search Any domain name registrar

If you intend to register a domain name, there are many advantages to having the same, or similar, business name and domain name.

You should check whether your intended domain name, if you want it to correspond with your intended business name, is available.

If it is not available, you might need to consider a different business name, or a different domain name.