Renewing is not a huge expense. But the costs of missing the renewal window – costs counted in financial, reputational and emotional terms – can cripple a growing business.
Here’s how to keep on top of business name renewal, protect your brand and avoid paying the high costs associated with cancellation.
What happens when you fail to renew your business name?
Risking penalties for operating illegally
You must register a business name unless you’re a sole trader operating under your legal name. There’s no exception.
If ASIC cancels your business name due to non-renewal, you cannot operate under that name. Continuing to do so is a breach of the Business Names Registration Act 2011 and will risk penalties, including fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.
Legal action against unregistered businesses
Providing goods or services under an unregistered business name could be considered a breach of contract under Australia’s civil code. Unhappy customers might pursue legal action, including taking you to court or seeking a settlement.
ASIC is the body in charge of Australia’s company register. They do not intervene in contractual disputes, meaning you’re on your own to bear the high costs of legal action.
Loss of protection and reputation
Failing to renew your business name leaves the door open for anyone to claim the same moniker. There’s very little you can do when this happens.
Losing your registered business name means losing the associated protections, such as the ability to take legal action against someone who infringes on your business name or reputation.
It also leads to confusion among customers, diluting your brand and damaging your reputation. There’s a good chance that whoever claimed your cancelled business name will want to hold onto it, requiring you to build a new brand from scratch.
Marketing and advertising
Failing to renew your business name not only voids your right to trade under your preferred name but also your ability to promote that moniker. This can be a double blow for growing businesses.
Any and all marketing carrying your cancelled business name needs to change immediately. This includes:
- Social media accounts
- Google Ads and other online advertising
- Shopfront signage
- Sponsorship signage
- Newspaper or magazine advertising
- Out-of-home advertising, such as shopping centres and billboards
- Brochures and flyers
- Vehicle branding
Recalling or removing all this marketing collateral is a big job. Considering that renewing your business name with Registry Australia costs just $99 for 1 year and $199 for 3 years, it’s worth keeping your business name active even if you’re not trading right now.
Re-registering (and dealing with business name availability issues)
If you want to trade under a cancelled business name, you’ll need to go through the entire registration process again. This means checking the business name availability, completing the necessary forms and paying the registration fees.
It’s important to consider the financial implications of re-registration and factor in any potential costs when deciding whether to renew or let go of your business name.
Understanding the business name renewal process
Business name renewal is straightforward when you’re prepared. However, ASIC’s online renewal process can be quite time-consuming:
Look out for the business name renewal notice
ASIC will notify you by email 30 days before it’s time to renew your business name.
Unless you’ve partnered with an ASIC Registered Agent like Registry Australia, this notification will only ever come from ASIC directly.
Find your ASIC account number or ABN
You’ll need this to ensure you are renewing the correct business name. Because there is no limit to the number of business names you can register, it’s vital to double-check the ABN or account number before paying renewal fees.
Check the business details
Before continuing with the business name renewal process, ensure your details are up to date (including any spelling errors or punctuation marks) and you are renewing the correct business name.
Decide on your renewal period
Business names can be renewed for 1 or 3 years. If you plan to continue growing your brand in the future, it’s a good idea to renew for a longer period to ensure your right to trade is protected by Australia’s company register.
Double-check the details and pay
This is your last chance to confirm the details before finalising your payment. You will also need to declare that you are authorised to renew the business name.
Wait for confirmation
After finalising your payment, look for the message confirming your successful transaction. If this confirmation doesn’t appear, there may have been an error during payment.
The hassle-free business name renewal solution
We understand business owners don’t always have time to go through these steps. In addition, business name renewal has a habit of sneaking up when you’re focused on building your brand.
Registry’s small business support services ensure you never risk cancellation or penalties. As an ASIC Registered Agent with a first-class support team and user-friendly online portal, we eliminate the hassle of renewing your business name.
Our low fees include ASIC registration costs, professional management through our secure online portal, automated notifications and support when you need it.