How can I register a company which has an existing business name?
To register a company with ASIC that already has an existing business name, there are additional steps required as part of the company registration form, as follows:
- On the Company Details page, you will need to specify that an existing business name is being used and enter the ABN of the business name owner.
Select "Yes" for the question- "Is the proposed company name an existing business name"
- The owner of the business name must be appointed as a member of the company.
If the owner is an Individual they need to be appointed as both a director and shareholder of the company.
If the owner is a Partnership, both partners need to be recorded as a Director and Shareholder of the company.
If the owner is a Trust with an Individual Trustee, the Trustee must be at least a Director and Shareholder as Trustee for the Trust.
If the owner is a Trust a Corporate Trustee, the Corporate Trustee must be a Shareholder as Trustee for the Trust.
- On the Ready to Submit page, where an existing business name is used, select "I want this application to be processed manually by ASIC". In the text box write "The owner of the business name, XYZ, has been appointed as both a director and shareholder of the company", (or whichever applies as per step 2 above).
If the owner is a Trust, you must also email ASIC a copy of the Trust deed. Advise ASIC in this text box that you have emailed a copy of the Trust deed to firstname.lastname@example.org for them to refer to:
What to do if the company registration form is rejected
There may be instances where the form is rejected and outlined below are some common scenarios and potential resolutions.
Rejection message: V557 ABN is not that of the business name
Verify the Business Name's ABN or Business Number via the ABN Look up tool and correct accordingly.
If this does not work try removing the ABN on the first page and answering "No" to "Is the proposed company name an existing business name?". On the last page of the application, select manual processing and make mention that the business name is actually existing, and its ABN.
Rejection Message: The Business name is owned by a Sole Trader
The Sole trader needs to be recorded as a Director and / or Shareholder of the company.
Rejection message: The Business name is owned by a Partnership
Both partners need to be recorded as a Director and / or Shareholder of the company.
Rejection message: The Business name is owned by a Trustee of a Trust
The trustee of the trust needs to be a Director (for individual trustee, for Corporate trustee it should be its director/s), and / or Shareholder of the company.
Send a copy of the deed to ASIC using email address: email@example.com
Rejection message: Business Name is cancelled
Until the 'cancelled' business name becomes available, the proposed name can't be used to register as either a company or a business name.
Cancellation of a Business Name is not immediate and once the cancellation is completed by ASIC, the business name will be put on hold. The hold will be lifted based upon who initiated the cancellation:
- Initiated by the owner of the business - the name will become available after 4 months from the date the business was cancelled, or
- Initiated by ASIC - the name will become available after 6 months from the date the business was cancelled.