Compliance Changes for Trading Names

If you don’t know the difference between a trading name and a business name, rest assured, it isn’t common knowledge.

Before the advent of the National Business Names Register on 28 May 2012, a ‘trading name’ was a name that businesses could use every-day but was not registered.

Today, a business name is the name by which the entity conducts a business.  Businesses are required to register their business name if they carry-on a business within Australia and are not trading under their own name.

Hence, if you’re currently carrying-on your business under an unregistered trading name, to continue using it you will need to register it as a business name on the National Business Names Register.

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Exceptions include:

  • if you are operating as an individual/sole trader and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname;
  • if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all the partners’ names; or,
  • if you are already registered as an Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company’s name.

As an example, if your name is Di Jones and you’re operating your business under the name ‘Di Jones’, you won’t need to register your business name. However, if you trade under the name ‘Di Jones & Co’, then you must register your business name.

Today, the Australian Business Register and ABN Lookup display unregistered trading names but from November 2023, only registered business names will be displayed. From 28 May 2012 to 31 October 2023, trading names will slowly be transitioned out, allowing professional service providers an opportunity to advise businesses affected by the change sufficient time to make corrections to their business administration and inform their customers, suppliers and stakeholders of changes to their trading name.

If you have any questions or need advice and clarity specific to your business, feel free to contact Semmens & Co on 03 8320 0320 for a free consultation.

Thoughts From Our Principals

Mark Semmens

Mark is a Chartered Accountant with a wealth of experience in accounting and taxation. Mark is a Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Tax Practitioners Board and the National Tax and Accountants Association.

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Daniela Semmens

Daniela Semmens is a Co-Director of Semmens & Co. and joined the company as General Manager in 2017. Daniela is an Affiliate Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and also a Member of the Australian Institute of Project Management.

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