Legal requirements for small business
If you operate a small business using a business name, you have certain legal obligations. Here we outline what you need to do to comply with Australian law.
- Registering your business name
- Changing or cancelling your business name
- Renewing a business name
- If you become disqualified
- Using your business name in documents
If you intend to carry on a business under a business name, you must register the name. You do not need to register a business name if:
- you conduct business under your personal name (e.g. John Smith)
- you have a company and you conduct business under the company name
- you are in a partnership and you conduct business under all of the partners' names (e.g. Smith & Holt)
If you trade under any other name, see registering a business name to find out how to make your business name legal.
ASIC may also request information for the purposes of establishing or maintaining the Business Names Register. You must provide this information if requested.
Registering a business name will not stop someone who has registered the name as a trademark from using it. Find out more about business names and trademarks.
You must renew your business name before the renewal date to avoid it being cancelled by ASIC. Get more details on renewing your business name.
ASIC must be notified where a business name holder, or a person involved in the management of a business name holder, is disqualified from holding a business name.
You can use ASIC Connect to notify us that you or a person involved in the management of a business name holder is disqualified.
If you are conducting business with another entity, any documents you provide must include your business name and Australian Business Number.
- Legal requirements for companies
- Starting a company
- Starting a small business
- Protecting your small business
- Illegal phoenix – what happens when a failed company is rebirthed
- First Business app – helps you decide whether to start a business
- MoneySmart website – tips and tools for your personal finances