Trading names will soon be a thing of the past. From November 2018, the ABN Lookup will cease displaying all trading names and only registered business names will be available. If you wish to operate under a different name to your legal name, you will need to register a business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

You will not need to register a business name if you trade under your own name e.g. ‘Joe Bloggs’. However, you will need to have a business name if you trade under anything other than just your name e.g. ‘Joe Bloggs Electrical’.

A business name cannot be registered if it is similar to one that already exists. We suggest that you check the name you want is available on the ASIC website, then contact our office to attend to the registration for you.

Once your name is registered, you will have to:
• Display a copy of the certificate on your storefront (if applicable); and
• Include it along with your Australian Business Number (ABN) on any business correspondence, purchase orders and in particular invoices.

With this change coming into effect, it has become increasingly important to have the correct name and ABN on your invoices. This is so payers can refer to the ABN lookup to check the validity of their supplier. However, confirming that an ABN belongs to a certain supplier may now be a little tricky. In some instances (with Trusts) the Trustee name is displayed on the invoice rather than the Trust name. In the past the trading names section on the ABN lookup has been used to link the trustee name to the ABN quoted. But as this section will no longer be available you may need to look at drafting your invoices differently. So, if you currently have your Trustee name on your invoices, ensure you include the words ‘as trustee for’ or ‘ATF’, followed by, either the name of your trust or your business name. For example, if you were trading as J Bloggs Pty Ltd, it will now need to be displayed as either –
Using the Entity Name:
• J Bloggs Pty Ltd as trustee for Bloggs Trust, or
• J Bloggs Pty Ltd ATF Bloggs Trust, or
Using the Business Name:
• J Bloggs Pty Ltd as trustee for Bloggs Electrical , or
• J Bloggs Pty Ltd ATF Bloggs Electrical.

By making this change, you reduce the possibility of payers withholding 47% from your payment because they believe that the ABN quoted is invalid. If you need any additional advice regarding the information required on your tax invoices, please contact our office on 02 6652 2333.

Ian Hogbin

– Posted 28.3.18

This article is compiled as a helpful guide for your private information and is subject to copyright. We suggest that you do not act solely on the basis of material contained in this article because items are of general nature only and may be liable to misinterpretation in particular circumstances. We recommend that our advice be sought before acting on any of these crucial areas.

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