For those unaware, back in May 2012 the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) overhauled the then-extant system used by entities to register what was then known as a ‘trading name’. Replacing state and territory registers, ASIC introduced a streamlined national business names register.
Before ASIC’s announcement, the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR) was obliged to record and collect the business name registered for the entity under the law of the state or territory, or – if this hadn’t been done – any name used for business purposes by the entity.
Since ASIC introduced the national business registration service, there has been a transitional period in effect; a feature being that these entities’ trading names (i.e., those registered with the ABR under the old model) have remained visible on the ABN Lookup. This will no longer be the case as of 31 October 2018.
From November, the only names that will appear on ABN Lookup will be an entity’s legal name, as well as an entity’s ASIC-registered business name.
Indeed, this means that all trading names will be removed from ABN Lookup – even the trading name listed against your Australian business number (ABN).
Am I Affected?
Simply, you’re affected if you registered a trading name with your state or territory (i.e. not ASIC).
Unaffected are those Australians who registered a business name after 28 May 2012. Why? Because the only way to have done so since this date has been via ASIC.
Whilst you can continue using a trading name for business purposes, please be aware that from November onwards, the entities you interact with will be unable to use ABN Lookup to verify your identity or GST registration status.
For those wanting to operate under a name that isn’t your legal/entity name, they need to register a business name with ASIC. This is strongly encouraged, as it ensures that a specific name currently being used by an entity for business purposes cannot be taken by somebody else. Be aware that this is an absolute possibility after October 31st.