How to register a business name: the lowdown

3 minute read

There’s all kinds of admin and paperwork to get sorted when you start your own business. But one of the first and most important is getting it registered.

So, once you’ve come up with a great name for your business, it’s time to register it officially. We’ll look at exactly how to do that in this guide, along with the costs involved.

We’ll also cover other important things you need to do as the proud owner of a new business – such as finding a good way to manage your finances.

For example, open a free Wise Business account and you’ll have a low-cost way to send and receive money internationally.

But more on that towards the end of this guide. First, let’s get your business name formally registered.

Registering a business in Australia

Registering your new business isn’t simply a matter of filling out one form. There are actually a few different parts to it. These include¹:

  • Registering the business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • Getting a Tax File Number (TFN) – to make sure your business will be paying the right taxes
  • Getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) – this is a unique number which identifies your business to the government and community, and you have to have one if you’re registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The first thing to do is choose your business structure. Whether you’re a sole trader, company, partnership or trust will determine which of the above steps you need to do.

If your business is a company, it will need to be registered separately. This is because companies are legal entities with different responsibilities than other business types.²

This seems like a lot to take in, but don’t worry. The good news is that you can register for pretty much everything you need all in one place. The website has all the info you need, and you can start multiple registrations at once.

Registering a business name in Australia

If you plan to conduct business under a name other than your own, you’ll need to officially register a business name. This is also important so that your customers and clients can find and identify you.

You can register a business name at the ASIC website. Alternatively, using the Australian Government Business Registration Service portal, you can register a business name at the same time as getting an ABN and registering a company³.

This is a real time-saving feature, as you can get everything sorted at the same time without having to make several applications.

Before registering your chosen name, use the government’s Business Name Check tool to make sure no one else is using it. Your name must be unique and not infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property or trade mark⁴. If you want to, you can apply for a trade mark to protect your business name.

To register a business name, you’ll need an Australian Business Number (ABN) or be in the process of applying for one⁵. You must also renew your business name every year. Once you’ve registered the name, it’ll be added to the ASIC national business names register. This will mean you’re officially registered to trade in any state or territory in Australia⁶.

Cost of registering a business name⁷

You’ve picked out the perfect business name and you’re ready to officially register it. But how much does it cost? This is an important thing to factor into your startup budget, especially if you’ll need to renew your business name every year.

It costs $37 AUD to register a business name for a year. Alternatively, you can save a little cash by registering it for three years at $87 AUD.

The fees for renewing your business name for one or three years are just the same. And if you need to update or cancel your business name, there are no fees to pay.

An account for your business

If you’ve successfully registered your business name, congratulations! You’re one step closer to getting your new enterprise off the ground.

While you’re getting the setup essentials in place, it could be a good time to think about how you’ll manage your business finances. You’ll need an easy, cost-effective way to pay your bills and get paid by customers and clients.

If your business has big plans to trade internationally, a Wise Business account could be just the ticket. Sign up for free for a borderless account, and you can soon start sending money all over the world for low, transparent fees. Even better, you’re guaranteed the mid-market exchange rate – which will likely knock spots of the rate your bank offers.

You can receive money in multiple currencies for free, convert currencies for tiny fees and spend overseas like a local using your linked Wise Platinum debit Mastercard.

For easy accounting, your account can be seamlessly integrated with third-party software such as Xero. There’s an Open API to help you save time on automating payments, and a Mass Payments tool to help you handle payroll.

And if you need it, you can even get a custom solution that meets your requirements perfectly.

So that’s pretty much it – everything you need to know about registering a business name in Australia. We’ve covered the fees involved, how to check that your chosen name is available and the other steps involved in officially registering your business.

There are quite a few admin boxes to tick, but thankfully you can register for most of the essentials at the same time. The best of luck with your new business!

Sources used:

  1. How to Register a Business
  2. Register a Company
  3. Company Type
  4. Company Type
  5. Registering a Business in Australia
  6. Company Type
  7. Business Names - Fees

Sources checked on 19-October 2020.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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