The Australian Business Register (ABR) is working with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) in preparation for the retirement of trading names. From November 2018, all trading names will be removed from ABN Lookup. Only registered business names will continue to be listed.

Trading names are being ‘retired’

The National Business Names Register was introduced in 2012 and is managed by the ASIC. With the introduction of the National Business Names Register, the Registrar of the ABR stopped collecting and recording:

  • business names registered for an entity under the old state or territory laws;
  • unregistered names used by entities for business purposes.

However, during a transitional period, these historical names, referred to as the entity’s trading names, have continued to be displayed in the trading name field of ABN Lookup. The transitional period ends on 31 October 2018, and the Registrar will not publicly display the trading names that were recorded in the ABR prior to the introduction of the new National Business Names Register afterwards. The only names displayed on ABN Lookup will be entities’ legal names and entities’ business names registered with ASIC. To continue trading under a specific name, the entity needs to register it as a business name with ASIC. After a business is successfully registered, it will appear on ASIC’s business names register and on the ABR’s ABN Look up facility.

What’s the difference between a business name, a trading name and a legal name?

Business name is simply a name under which you conduct a business. You must register a business name in Australia, unless you trade under your own name, or fall within an exemption.

Trading name refers to an unregistered name that businesses could use before the introduction of the National Business Names Register on 28 May 2012. A trading name is not a registered business name.

Legal name is the name of the entity that appears on all official documents or legal papers, for example, legal contracts and registrations, property leases and employment contracts. Your legal name can be different to your business name and be determined by your Business structure. If you’re a sole trader, your legal name will most likely be your own name. Other legal names include the name of a partnership, a proprietary limited company or an incorporated association.

Need help?

If you would like any further information or help with registering a business name, please do not hesitate to contact our accountants at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or fill out an online enquiry form today.