Changing a company name

This is Information Sheet 16 (INFO 16).

It's possible to change the name of your registered company. However, the new name must be available. This means that:

  • the name is not identical to a name which is already registered, and
  • the name is not unacceptable for registration.

Once you've chosen a name, you must pass a special resolution and lodge a Form 205 Notification of resolution, giving details of the company’s special resolution to change the company name.

The availability of a company name is not guaranteed and a resolution to change a company name must be submitted to us and accepted to secure the name.

We'll let you know once the name change is accepted or rejected.

Step 1 - Choose a new name

A new company name must:

  • not be identical to an existing name held by another entity on our registers
  • not contain any restricted words (e.g. consumer, bank, ANZAC etc) (unless Ministerial or Public Authority consent has been obtained)
  • not suggest a connection to government or other organisations where such a connection does not exist; or
  • not be offensive to members of the public or suggest illegal activity.

Before applying to change the name, we recommend searching our registers for similar names and visiting IP Australia to see if there are any trade marks that your proposed name may infringe upon.

Even if we approve a name change for a company, it doesn't prevent someone from being able to take legal action against the company if the name infringes on a trade mark.

If the name your company wants is already held by you as a business name, you must confirm that you're the owner of the business name.

If there are any identical names already on the register (which could have been registered in different states or territories as part of the old legislation), you won't be able to use it as your company name, even if you own one of the identical business names.

When the business name holder is...

the name is available if…

an individual

that individual is a current company director or member

a company

it is the company itself which is changing its name

A trust or partnership cannot be a director or member of a company. If the identical business name is held by a trust or a partnership, the name is not available to the company. You will need to transfer ownership of the business name to the company or an individual that is a current director or member of the company if you want to use it.

Reserving a name

If you've found a name you like but aren't ready to use it, you can apply to reserve it by lodging a Form 410 Application for a reservation of a name.

If we approve your application, we will reserve the name for two months. If you wish to extend this period, you'll need to submit another Form 410 to apply to extend the name reservation.

We will not reserve a name indefinitely as this may prevent other people from using the name to conduct business.

Step 2 - Pass a special resolution

A company must convene a meeting of its members and pass a special resolution to change its name.

Unlisted companies must give at least 21 days' notice of the meeting to its members. Listed companies must give at least 28 days' notice. Shorter notice can be given if members with at least 95% of the votes agree beforehand.

The special resolution must be passed by at least 75% of votes cast.

Step 3 - Apply to change the name

Once you've confirmed your name is available and you've passed a special resolution, lodge a Form 205 Notification of a resolution (including a copy of the passed special resolution) and pay the required fee.

Make sure the form is lodged within 14 days of the resolution being passed. Otherwise, late fees will apply.

Ensure that you've entered the name correctly and there are no typographical errors in your application; once it's approved, we cannot update the name. You will need to pass another special resolution and lodge another Form 205.

Step 4 - We accept or reject the name

If we accept the name change, we'll send a certificate of registration to your online services inbox (if you lodged the Form 205 online) or by mail to the company's registered office address.

If we reject the name change, we'll write to you and explain why. We can apply the lodgement fee you've already paid to another Form 205, or refund it on request.

Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.

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Last updated: 19/03/2014 12:00