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Trading Names get a Last-Minute Reprieve (Again!)

Last Updated:
Update: This post was originally published on . It has been updated following the announcement of a further extension to the Trading Name phase-out period until .

The Australian Government has extended the transition period for the abolition of Trading Names until .

What is a Trading Name?

A Trading Name was a name used by a business that was not previously registered on a State or Territory Business Names Register or on the ASIC national Business Names Register.

The ABN system, which commenced on with the implementation of the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST), allowed for unregistered Trading Names to be recorded with an ABN on the Australian Business Register (ABR).

In 2012, the Government began a 6-year transition period to retire unregistered Trading Names in favour of registered ASIC-registered Business Names. The transition period was to allow businesses time to transfer their Trading Names over to the ASIC Business Name system.

The initial transition period was due to end on , but this deadline was extended until and then further until .

While previously-recorded Trading Names will continue to be displayed on the Australian Business Register until the end of the transition period, it is no longer possible to associate a new Trading Name with a new or existing ABN registration on the ABR.

What is a Business Name?

A Business Name is a name that is officially registered for business use within Australia. A Business Name registration allows the business to trade under the registered Business Name, rather than under its formal legal name.

Prior to 2012, business name registrations were administered by various State and Territory agencies, such as Queensland‘s Office of Fair Trading.

Since , registration of Business Names has been administered nationally by ASIC under the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Cth). Existing State and Territory business names were migrated onto ASIC‘s national register upon commencement.

Under the legislation, a business must register a Business Name if it trades under a name that is not identical to its legal name.

An ASIC Business Name can be associated with an ABN, if the Business Name holder also has an ABN.

What should businesses do?

The changes mean that Trading Names will continue to be displayed in the ABN Register until .

From the end of the transition period, Trading Names will no longer be linked to ABNs or displayed on the ABR.

Businesses that currently rely upon a Trading Name should consider whether they are required to register an Business Name with ASIC. If so, businesses should take immediate steps to apply for registration of their Business Name with ASIC.

Be aware that trading under an unregistered business name may constitute an offence under the Business Names Registration Act. Penalties may apply.

Businesses may also consider protecting their brands with a registered trade mark. For more information about the differences between a trade mark and a business name, read this post.

Further Information

Mirai Legal provides advice and assistance for registration of business names, companies and trade marks. Please contact us or your professional adviser for further information and advice or to register a business name.

The Australian Government provides self-service Business Name registration via:

The Australian Government has published an article on the differences between business names, trading names and legal names here.

This post is intended for general information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should obtain appropriate professional advice for your circumstances or contact us for further assistance.


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