The four steps to changing your ABN business name
Changing the business name on your ABN is a big decision you want to make sure you get right. Changing the name of your business can be a significant step in its growth and development, and it's essential to make sure that you reflect this with ASIC and the Australian Business Register (ABR). This guide will walk you through transitioning to a new business name, including the steps and documentation required to complete the change successfully.
Changing business names on your ABN is more common than most would expect. There are several reasons why business owners go through the process of changing their business name. Some include:
- Business rebranding: A business decides to refresh its identity to better align with its target audience or stand out in a crowded market.
- Legal reasons: Some businesses choose to change their name for legal reasons, such as existing trademark conflicts, or to avoid confusion with a similar company.
- Ownership changes: Another reason for changing a business name can be to reflect an ownership change or a new direction for the business.
Whatever the reason, changing a business name can significantly impact the overall success of a business, and it's vital to ensure that your new name is reflected correctly across all of your business's online and offline channels. To rebrand your business, you can follow these steps:
Step 1. Check eligibility
Before you update your business name, you should ensure that you can use the new name. To get started, check the Australian Trademarks register, ASIC business name register, and domain sites such as GoDaddy to see if anyone else is using the name. It pays to consult a trademark lawyer if you need clarification. Before you invest in a rebrand, you'll want to ensure that your name is unique, different and unlikely to cause any legal problems or customer confusion.
Step 2: Register a new business name
Once you have determined that your new business name is available, you can register a new business name with ASIC. ASIC, which regulates business names, does not allow you to change the name on an existing ABN. However, it does allow you to add multiple business names to a single ABN. To lock your name in, you should register a new business name with ASIC by selecting the Business Name registration option (not the ABN registration option). While applying for a new business name, you'll be asked to confirm if an existing ABN will be used, and you can then enter it.
Step 3: Confirm the ABN application is complete
Now that you have completed your application for a new business name, you should receive confirmation from ASIC that the process is done. You can search for your business on the ABN Lookup portal to confirm everything has been set up correctly. Once you find your business, you should see that your ABN has two business names associated with it, the original name and your new name. It's important to note that changing your business name does not affect your ABN, and it will remain the same. The change will only be reflected in the business name section of the ABR register. You can continue to add other business names as required.
Step 4: Notify your customers and suppliers
Once your business name change is complete, you'll need to notify your customers and suppliers of the update. This can be done through email or text, and it's also a good idea to update your website and social media profiles with the new name. Because you are using the same ABN, any existing registrations, such as GST, will automatically apply. On invoices or purchase orders, you can retain the original ABN and update the business name to keep things simple.
Having one ABN with multiple business names has many benefits:
- Flexibility: A business can operate under different names depending on the context or target audience. This is useful for companies that offer different products or services or that want to appeal to different demographics or markets.
- Branding: Having multiple business names can help a business establish different brands, increasing its visibility and appeal to different market segments. This can be especially useful for businesses that want to expand into new markets.
- Cost-effective: By having one ABN but multiple business names, a business can avoid the cost and administrative burden of obtaining multiple ABNs for each business name. Having a single ABN makes it easier to invoice clients or create purchase orders.
- Legal protection: Having multiple business names can help a business to protect its intellectual property and avoid confusion with similar businesses.
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ABN Business Name FAQs
Can I change my business name on my ABN?
Yes, you can change your business name on your ABN. However, it's important to ensure that the new name is not already registered and that you follow the proper process to update your ABN details.
Do I need to register a new ABN if I change my business name?
You do not need to register a new ABN if you change your business name. You can update your ABN details with the Australian Business Register (ABR) to reflect the new name.
How do I change my business name on my ABN?
You can change your business name on your ABN by logging into the ABR website and updating your details online. Alternatively, you can contact the ABR by phone or email to request a change.
Are there any fees for changing my business name on my ABN?
No, there are no fees associated with changing your business name on your ABN.
How long does it take to update my business name on my ABN?
It can take up to 28 days for your new business name to be updated on your ABN. You should ensure that all relevant parties, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), are notified of the change.
Will my old business name still be visible on my ABN record after I change it?
Your old business name will still be visible on your ABN record, but it will be shown as a previous name. This ensures that historical information is preserved and can be accessed if necessary.
Do I need to update my business name with other government agencies if I change it on my ABN?
You may need to update your business name with other government agencies if you have registered with them, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or state-based business registration offices.
Can I change my business name on other business documents at the same time as changing it on my ABN?
You can change your business name on other business documents simultaneously by switching it on your ABN. This may include updating your business name on your website, business cards, and marketing materials.
Changing the name of your business can be a big step, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Once you decide on a new brand, you must make sure that your ABN reflects this change. Remember to check your new business name is available, add a new business name to your existing ABN, and finally, notify your customers and suppliers. By following these steps, you can ensure the process is smooth and hassle-free.