Business name registrations set to change

Written on the 12 April 2012 by Macmillans Waller Fry - Accountants

Until now, business name registration has been handled by state-based agencies (e.g. Fair Trading in NSW or Consumer Affairs in Victoria).

Effective from 28 May 2012, this process will be streamlined and managed nationally by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). ASIC will oversee a national business names database and will handle all Australian business name applications and renewals.

What do you need to know about this change?

The change will not affect existing registered business names. No action is required on these as they will automatically be transferred to the new register and retain their existing expiry dates.
Business names which expire before the transition date (May 28) will receive a renewal notice from their state-based agency, as in the past. The renewal should be made through that agency. Registration of the name will subsequently be transferred to ASIC.

After May 28, renewal notices will be sent from ASIC. Payments and renewal applications will need to be made to ASIC. An online service will be available to do this. (ASIC point out that renewals on or just after May 28 may arrive late, but names will not be cancelled before an extended opportunity to renew has been given).

After the transition, business name registration will apply nationally. This means that if you have the same name registered in multiple states, you will no longer need to do so. All the names will be registered under your name in the new database, after which it will be up to you whether or not you cancel any duplicated names.

Essentially this new system is about cutting down the red tape of registering a business name in multiple states. However, there are a couple of points to note:

  • "Protection" remains limited to that of a business name which does not have the same standing as a company name and you may still look to register a company for a higher level of protection. Similarly, the trademark provisions still apply and you would need to register a trademark over a name if you wanted that level of protection.
  • If there are similar or identical names already registered in different states, these won't be nullified but will have an identifier added to the formal records e.g. NSW so the public can differentiate when searching.

ASIC will also be running a free road show series to help business name holders and industry professionals understand the new business names register.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us.


Author: Macmillans Waller Fry - Accountants

 

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