Should I Register a Business Name for My Partnership?

Partnerships are a business structure which allow you to run a business with other people. Accounting and law firms often take this form, as a partnership structure means that all profits are distributed equally amongst the partners. In this article, we’ll outline how legal names and business names work and outline when you’ll need to register a business name for your partnership.

Table of Contents


A partnership can be a great way to run a business with another person. To establish a partnership, you first need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN). In addition to this, you should also have a signed partnership agreement which outlines the obligations each partner has to the business.

Get a free legal document when you sign up to Lawpath

Sign up for one of our legal plans or get started for free today.

Legal name

A partnership’s legal name, similar that of sole traders, reflects the personal names of the people involved in the business. For partnerships, the legal name is the surname of each partner followed by the initial of their first name.


Susan Adams and William Wilson have registered a partnership through which to run their business. The legal name for their business is Adams S. & Wilson W.

Business Names

A business name is the name by which your customers will know your business. Formerly known as a trading name, a business name is especially useful for businesses which do not operate under a company structure. Your business name not only identifies you to your customers, but also allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Businesses which are under a sole trader or partnership structure are recognised by the legal names of the individuals involved, unless a business name is registered.


Susan Adams and William Wilson have want their business to be known and marketed as ‘A&W Designs’. In order to do this, they will need to register a business name.

Registering a business name

To register a business name, you will first need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN). After this, it’s important to check the availability of your chosen name. It is also helpful to check at this point whether there are any trademarks registered under your chosen name. If the business name is available and there are no conflicting trademarks, you can then register it.

When you won’t need to register a business name

If the name you use consists of you and your partner’s surname and first name, then there is no need to register. For example:

  • Susan Adams and William Wilson have a jewellery business named ‘Adams S. & Wilson W.’ As this business is trading under their legal names, they will not need to register a business name.
  • Alternatively, if they chose to name their business ‘S&W Jewellers’, they will need to register their business name.

In conclusion, the latter requires registration because Susan and William are not trading under their own names, but rather a trading name.


Partnerships are formally known by the legal names of the partners involved. The only way this can be changed is by registering a business name, which can be almost any name you choose (provided it has not already been registered). If you’re unsure as to whether you need to legally register your business’s name, it is worth contacting a business lawyer for further advice.

Find the perfect lawyer to help your business today!

Get a fixed-fee quote from Australia's largest lawyer marketplace.

Most Popular Articles
You may also like
Recent Articles

Get the latest news

By clicking on 'Sign up to our newsletter' you are agreeing to the Lawpath Terms & Conditions


Register for our free live webinar today!

Tax Strategies for Small Business Success

12:00pm AEDT
Thursday 25th July 2024

By clicking on 'Register for webinar' you are agreeing to the Lawpath Terms & Conditions

You may also like

Want to open a pet shop but not sure how? This article teaches

Thank you!

Your registration is confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox for an email with details on how to watch the webinar.