How to Register your Business (2021 Update)
Learn about two aspects of registering your business: registering an ABN and registering a business name.
Registering your business has two aspects: registering an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering a business name. This allows your business to be conducted Australia-wide rather than in each state and territory individually.
You do have the option of changing your company structure in the future if the nature of your business changes. However, getting it right from the beginning can save you a significant amount of money.
What is the difference between an ACN, ABN and a business name?
An ACN, or Australian Company Number is the unique number you receive when you register your company. This will enable you to obtain your ABN.
An ABN is a 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and the community. A business name is the name under which you conduct your business.
Do I need to register my business?
There are several reasons for why you need to register an ABN, which is free of charge, including:
- Being able to register for GST or PAYD.
- Avoid getting payments withheld (your business clients must withhold 49% of payments if you do not quote an ABN on your tax invoice).
- Enhancing the legitimacy of your business by including an ABN on your tax invoices and/or website.
- Being able to register a domain.
- Being able to register a business name.
- To be endorsed as a gift deductible recipient or income tax exempt charity (if eligible).
- Claim potential GST credits.
- Claim potential energy grants credits.
If you are conducting business in Australia, you are also required to register a business name unless:
- You are operating under your own name as a sole trader;
- You are in a partnership that is operating under the names of all the partners; or
- You are already a registered company in Australia and your company name is your operating name.
To register a business name, you will need to have an ABN or be in the process of getting an ABN. Some key benefits to registering a well thought out business name include:
- Differentiating your business from competitors.
- Being identifiable.
- Creating a marketable brand.
The business name must be unique as part of the application. Registration will then occur in a matter of days. Registering a business name does not however, offer the same protection as a trade mark. While business names must not be too similar to a pre-existing name, a trade mark gives exclusive rights to the use of that name. For example, one can trade mark an existing business name and exercise their right to exclusive use.
Lawpath can help
Lawpath has options to help you kickstart the registration process. Our company registration process is a comprehensive option. Alternatively, the links below may provide some assistance for whatever stage you are at: