What is a trading name? This information might help

Trading name(s)

Q. What is a trading name?

A. Before 28 May 2012, the Australian Business Register (ABR) collected names used by entities to carry out their business activities. The ABR displays this name as a trading name.

Since 2012 the Australian Business Register (ABR) stopped collecting or updating trading names. Trading names that were collected prior to 28 May 2012 will continue to be displayed on ABN Lookup until 31 October 2023 but can no longer be updated.

Trading names were to be retired from 1 November 2018, but transitional arrangements have now been extended for a further five years to 31 October 2023. This gives affected businesses more time to inform their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders of any changes to the name that they use to conduct their business.

This extended transitional period will also provide additional time for businesses to take steps to register business names with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

ABN Lookup will continue to display trading names until 31 October 2023. From 1 November 2023, ABN Lookup will not display trading names and will only display registered business names.

To continue using a trading name, you need to register it as a business name.

NOTE: Trading Names did not have a fee applied.

Business Name(s)

The National Business Names Register is maintained by ASIC (prior to 2012 these were registered and maintained by the various states).

In most cases you will need to register a Business Name if you don’t already have one. Business Names can only be applied to an ABN and that entity should be actively trading.

You can opt to register a Business Name for either 1 year ($36) or 3 years ($84). Renewals notices are sent out by ASIC one month before the due date to the email address given at the time of registration. It is therefore important to make sure that your details are kept up to date at all times (any changes should be made within 28 days).

Please refer to the following for requirements relevant to your trading circumstances:

Sole Trader:

If you trade by anything other than your legal name or a shortened version of your name eg: John Smith Plumbing or John’s Plumbing you will need to register a Business Name.


If you are a Partnership and you trade as ANY other name - you will need to register a Business Name.

Note: when you apply for an ABN the Legal Name is automatically allocated eg: it will include ALL names of ALL parties which is not always optimal for trading purposes. Most Partnership will require a Business Name if they don't already have one.


If you trade as a Company and use your Company name to trade - no change.
If you trade as a Company but use ANY other name to trade - you will need to register a Business Name.


Due to the complexity of setting up a Trustee Company, we recommend you contact us for assistance

Trusts will need to register a Business Name if trading as ANYTHING other than the Trust name.

If the Trust wishes to use the Trustee Company’s name or a version of that name: (Under the Business Names Act only the Company is entitled to use that name).

In these circumstances it is necessary to –

1. apply for an ABN for the Company,

2. apply for and register the required Business Name to the Company,

3. transfer the Business Name from the Company to the Trust, and

4. cancel the newly acquired ABN for the Company as it is not required and not actively being used.

This will show the relationship on ABN Lookup and link back to ASIC registers to confirm the identity of both the Trust and Trustee Company.

Note: For tax compliance purposes every supplier will need to register their trading name/s as business names and meet ALL compliance as set out by the ATO otherwise the entity they are trading with will not be able to claim GST and potentially have to withhold 47% of the total invoice amount from the supplier – the ABN entity name must appear on tax invoices.

Registering a business name

The first thing you need to do is check if the name is available. Please see attached which will show you how to do this.

You will then need to set up an ASIC Connect Login and link your business before you can apply for the business name (or provide us with the details if we are to do it on your behalf).

What is the ASIC key? (this is different to the ASIC Corporate Key which is attached to the ACN)

Your ASIC key is a unique number used in ASIC Connect that helps us establish your identity. It protects your information and makes sure that only authorised people can change it.

Each business name will have its own unique ASIC key. Prior to 2012 ASIC Keys started with 88… Current ASIC Keys commence with 1-11.. etc

The key is sent to you when you register a new business name or renew your existing registration.

You'll need your ASIC key to link your business name to your ASIC Connect account so you can update your business name details or cancel your business name.

Linking your ASIC key to your ASIC Connect account

Before you can update your business name details, you need to make sure your business name is linked to your account.

If your business name appears under the 'Lodgements and notifications' tab in ASIC Connect, then it's already linked.

Otherwise, you'll need to use your ASIC key to the link the business name. Our step-by-step guide shows you how.

What if I haven't received the ASIC key?

If you request your ASIC key online, we'll usually send it by email within a few minutes of your request. If it's being sent by post, it may take a few days.

If you haven't received it after a week and you urgently need the key, you can contact ASIC to get it delivered.

Third party requests for an ASIC key

If you're acting on behalf of the business name holder (for example, you are their accountant or agent), you can ask for the ASIC key to be sent to you directly. The client will need to provide written authority for this to occur.

Further information can be found on the ASIC website

Check name Availability

Start your business name search

To get started, visit the ASIC website at www.asic.gov.au.

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  • Click on ‘Business Names’. this will take you to ASIC Connect Search

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Select the ‘Search Business Names Register’ tab.

  • Select 'Check business name availability' from the drop-down box.

  • · Enter the business name.

  • · Select 'Go' to view results.