Business names

ASIC’s role is to maintain the Business Names Register. For more information on how to search the register see our website. If you have concerns that a business's details are incorrect on the Business Names Register, refer to our Business Names FAQs for more information.

While we receive reports about business names issues, ASIC has very limited powers under the relevant law and generally does not intervene in these disputes. We generally only take action if we have concerns about other unlawful conduct, or when the business has a history of failing to meet their obligations under the law.

If you are in dispute with someone about a business name, we encourage you to seek qualified legal advice. See Moneysmart for free legal advice services.

Problems using our online business names service

If you have any problems using our online business names service you can report a difficulty with our online services.

ASIC receives reports about businesses:

  • carrying on a business under an unregistered business name

Generally, an entity must register if it is 'carrying on' business in Australia, by conducting an activity, or series of activities:

  • in the form of a profession, a trade, employment, a vocation or a calling
  • in the form of an adventure or concern in the nature of trade, or
  • on a regular or continuous basis, in the form of a lease, licence or other grant of an interest in property.

If the entity is not entitled to an Australian Business Number (ABN) (e.g. a private recreational pursuit or hobby, or as an employee), then they will not be carrying on a business for the purposes of the Business Names Registration Act 2011.

For information on dealing with unregistered business names, read Unregistered business names (INFO 200).

  • not including their business names in written communications

In your report to ASIC, please list the documents you have that do not have the business's name.

  • not displaying their business names at places open to the public

In your report to ASIC, please give details of the addresses open to the public.

To find out what to do if you have a dispute with a business because they have not displayed their business name, read Failure to display a business name (INFO 201).

  • carrying on a business under a business name while disqualified

In your report please state details of the reason for disqualification (see section 32 of the Business Registration Act 2011).

  • disputes about a similar business name

ASIC’s guidance about similar business names is set out in INFO 187

We welcome reports of misconduct if a business has broken the laws we enforce, but we will only contact you about your report if we need more information:

Last updated: 30/06/2023 06:00