One step closer to a National Business Name Registration System

We earlier posted about the introduction of the new National Business Names Registration System.

As a refresher, the National Business Names Registration Package is comprised of three different acts – the Business Names Registration Act 2011 Business Name Registration (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2011 and the Business Names Registration (Fees) Act 2011.  The new system will:

  • replace existing state and territory registers with one national register, which can be searched online at no cost;
  • provide for a seamless online registration system, which includes the functionality of instant confirmation or rejection; and
  • lower registration fees (particularly for businesses which hold registrations in more than one state – the cost will be $30 for 1 year or $70 for 3 years).

When the system is operational, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will manage all registrations for business names and Australian Business Numbers (ABNs).

ASIC, and other government websites are reporting that the new system is expected to come into operation on 28 May 2012, pending the passage of the legislation through state parliaments.  This is because the Commonwealth Parliament is not expressly empowered to legislate in relation to business names.  In order to establish the national scheme, each state must either refer legislative power to the Commonwealth Parliament or adopt the Commonwealth business names legislation.

I currently have a registered business name, what do I need to do?

If you currently hold a business name registration with any state or territory office, your registration will be automatically transferred to the new national register. Business names originally registered in a state or territory will still be due for renewal on their original expiry date.  In future you will receive any renewal reminders from ASIC.

Importantly, if your business name is ‘identical’ or ‘nearly identical’ (see our earlier post for some more detail about what these terms might mean) to other business names which currently exist on a register in a different state, ASIC may insert a distinguishing mark or expression on the register.  This will not mean you need to change your business name or signage, but will affect later applications to the Register.  It is therefore vital that you ensure that your state-based registration has not lapsed prior to the commencement of the national system, or your registration will not be transferred and you may not be able to register your name.

I can’t get enough and want to know more

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research have compiled a handy Fact Sheet and list of FAQs.  You can also find more information and subscribe to receive updates from ASIC.

ASIC has indicated that it will post a regulatory guide on business names in March, as well as rolling out a series of National Roadshows to be held in every state and territory capital during April and May 2012.  For those of us otherwise engaged, not to worry – ASIC will make a podcast of these Roadshows available online for our later enjoyment!

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