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Starting a New Business in Australia

There different ways of starting a new business and this article is primarily intended to help you understand how you can start a new business and register a .com.au domain name. The .com.au domain name is important part of starting a new business and ideally you would want to register both the .com.au and .com extensions of your company name. This can be increasingly difficult to acquire, as many .com domains have already been registered because there are no eligibility requirements for registering a .com domain. The common question is, should I register a domain name first or register my business name with the Office of Fair Trading? If you could register your business name and domain name simultaneously, that would be the perfect solution but  unfortunatley you cannot.

Using your legal name as a business name

If  you are starting a new business, you may want to use your name as a business name and operate as a sole trader. However if you want to register a .com.au domain name, you must supply us with an ABN. eg. Tom Jones Parker wants to register a tomjonesparker.com.au but though he can legally run a business under his own name, he cannot register the domain name tomjonesparker.com.au without an ABN. To apply for an ABN, go to http://abr.gov.au/ABR_BC/ .

There is no fee to register an ABN with the Australian Taxation Office.

Once you have an ABN issued by the ATO to your personal name, you can then register your .com.au in your personal name.

Another way to acquire a .com.au or .net.au domain name without registering an ABN is to register a business name with the Office of Fair Trading in your State. You are able to register a .com.au, .net.au domain name with a BN certificate alone.

Choosing a unique business name

Most new businesses will want to use a unique business or trading name. In the new world created by the Internet, choosing the right company or product name is a very important decision. It can determine both your business success and help you avoid costly legally hassles, when another business decides that your chosen name is infringing on their intellectual property, trademark or is too similar to their company name. Do some research and choose a unique trading name.

Research your proposed trading name online

Our advise is to research your proposed trading name. Go to http://www.search.asic.gov.au/gns001.html and see if any similar names exist. Make sure you check the box that says "ALL NAMES". If you find that your proposed company name is not registered by another party or not similar to any other registered company or business name, then you should then go to www.Google.com.au and type in the proposed company name and look at the search results. Is there an existing company that has your proposed name or something confusingly similar? If the answer to this is YES, then you may want to consider choosing another name but if the answer is NO, then you should attempt to register without delay the .com version of your business name.

There are no eligibility requirements for .com domains, so if your domain name is available, register it and register the .com.au domain later.

Register the .com of your proposed business name

To register a .com domain, visit http://domains.passioncomputing.com.au Although, it may happen that ASIC or The Office of Fair Trading will not approve your proposed business name, it is a small amount of money to spend to secure a key asset from being registered by another party.

After you have registered the .com version of your proposed business name, you need to decide whether you will be incorporating a company or organisation or if you will be simply registering a business name at the Fair Trading Office in your Australian State or Territory.

Register a Business Name or Incorporate a Company?

If you choose to register a business name and not incorporate a company, it does not protect your business name from being used in another Australian State or Territory. Therefore, despite the additional cost, it is best to register an Australian company name with ASIC.

"Registration or use of a business name:

  • does not create a legal entity (only registering a company creates a legal entity) and
  • does not allow the use of privileges to which a company is entitled, such as a corporate tax rate or limited liability.

A business name has no legal status. If a company carries on a business in a name that is different to its company name, it must register the business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority. While the requirement to register business names is not under the Act, business names are still recorded by ASIC's National Names Index, and the register against which proposed new company names are checked includes business names." Go to http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/ASIC.NSF/byHeadline/Starting%20a%20company%20or%20business for more information.

If you choose to register a business name, then the following is a list of State Government Offices, where you can register a business name.

Although not essential, you can register a business name with your State Fair Trading Office, even if you intend to incorporate a company.

VIC http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au

NSW http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

QLD http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

ACT http://www.ors.act.gov.au/

TAS http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au

SA http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au

WA http://www.docep.wa.gov.au/

NT http://www.nt.gov.au

Incorporating a Company or Organisation

To incorporate a company or organisation, you can either fill in the paperwork and instructions provided by ASIC. http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/ASIC.NSF/byHeadline/Starting%20a%20company%20or%20business or you can hire a lawyer or accountant to help you with the paperwork or you can use an online services.

Why register a AU domain name ?

International trade has changed the way trade is governed and to protect one's trademarks and to reserve your business name for trading in Australia, many companies choose to register domain names in different countries. Although it doesn't provide complete protection against individuals who may use your company name or trademark in Australia, it does offer a relative inexpensive way of protecting a key asset, your domain name in..au domain extension. After all, if you own your domain name, nobody else does !

Building a .au domain name will be beneficial if you wish to appear in local search results in Australia. Examples of Australian search engines include; www.google.co.au  and www.yahoo.com.au

Or you can use domain name forwarding to redirect your .au domain to your main website. Generally, it is better to use a .com domain name if you want to appeal to a global audience and a .com.au domain name if your market is in Australia.

Applying for an ABN (Australian Business Number)

You are not required to register for an ABN if you want to register an Australian domain name. However, all businesses, that have a turnover of greater than a certain amount must register for GST (Goods and Services Tax) and register an ABN.

Visit http://www.ato.gov.au/businesses/pathway.asp?pc=001/003/021/001/004&mfp=001/003&mnu=615 to apply for an ABN.

Related Links

Australian domain names prices

Registering an Australian domain name as a foreign company

Registering trademarks

Register domain names online

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What is included in your domain name registration?

  • Professional domain name registration services. All domains are registered and managed directly through accredited domain name registrars’ systems.
  • Personal domain service - domain name registration systems are far from perfect and we are here to assist you.
  • FREE access to online management tools. No management fees.
  • FREE domain name forwarding (Choice of standard or masked forwarding)
  • FREE DNS management. Login to order free DNS hosting and edit your zone files
  • FREE domain name administration. Login to delegate your name server records.
  • Search for and register available domains. Competitive pricing. International domains.
  • Great prices on email hosting or web hosting plans.
  • Great prices on DIY websites. Login, build and publish your website with a web browser.

Our services are comprehensive without hidden extras or complicated plans. You have full control over your domain name. Need help? Contact sales@passioncomputing.com.au