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Registration and licensing

If an entity carrying on a business wishes to use a trading name that is not exactly the same as the owner's or a company name, the name must be registered on the national Business Names Register which is administered by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) under the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Cth). For more information, visit the ASIC website. Registration can be done online through ASIC Connect .

An Australian Business Number is required to register a business name, and this number must be used on any tax invoice issued by the business, and is also required to claim certain rebates. For further information about ABNs see the Register for an Australian Business Number page on the business.gov.au website.

However, registration of a business name does not give proprietary rights in the name itself. Whilst no-one else can register the same or similar business name, care should be taken to protect the name as a trade mark, to prevent others from using it as their own trading name. See the section on Intellectual property.

The Business Names Register allows a person dealing with the business to search and find who is responsible for the business, and to check if the company is still operating, and detailed information about the business can be obtained either free or for a small fee from ASIC.

The law also protects consumers by requiring that certain services only be provided by qualified people.

Anyone practising and charging a fee as a lawyer, doctor, architect or psychologist must have appropriate tertiary qualifications and satisfy registration procedures.

The Australian Business Licence Information Service can provide information on what licences and particular type of business may require. Consumer and Business Services can also advise on which trades require licences.

The following trades are usually required to be licensed:

  • builders
  • conveyancers
  • land agents
  • land sales representatives
  • plumbers
  • gas fitters
  • electricians
  • second-hand motor vehicle dealers
  • security and investigation agents
  • tax agents

South Australian Health Commission approvals are needed for various food business and a liquor licence is needed if liquor is sold.

Sometimes an unqualified or unlicensed person may be promised a fee despite not having a licence or qualification. However, a person commits an offence and payment cannot be recovered (even if a good quality service is provided and the person was promised payment) if that person does not have the necessary qualification, licence or registration.

Registration and licensing  :  Last Revised: Fri Nov 17th 2017
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.