Small Business
How to transfer a business name
A step-by-step guide on how to transfer a business name from a sole trader to a company

When you hear mention of transferring a business name, your mind might automatically assume that this involves transferring ownership. However there are likely to be other instances where you might find yourself needing to transfer a business name, such as when your business grows from a sole tradership to a company.

It can be confusing to work out what to do, so we’ve broken down the steps for you below…


How to transfer a business name from a sole trader to a company

Preparing your business name transfer with ASIC

In order to begin the transfer process, you’ll first need to visit ASIC Connect and link your account to your business name. You can choose to create an account if you don’t have one already. If you are creating a new account, you’ll be asked to provide your ASIC key, list your role within the business and enter your date of birth.

Get your business transfer number

Once you’ve created an ASIC Connect account and have linked your business name, you can begin the process of transferring it to your company. Within the ASIC Connect portal, select ‘Cancel/Transfer business name’ and then click ‘Go’. Work your way through the steps that follow before reviewing your transaction, completing any declarations and confirming the transaction. Once the transaction has been finalised, you’ll be provided with a 13 character transfer number via email within the next 24 hours. If you did not provide an email address, the transfer number will be mailed to you, which can take 3-5 business days. 

Register your new business name to the new ABN

Once your transfer number arrives via email, you can use the code to start your business name transfer to your company. Login to the ASIC Connect account that is connected to your company and in the ‘Licences and Registrations’ tab select ‘Business name registration’. Follow the steps that come next, entering the ABN for your company, or an ABN application reference number, when prompted.

Once you’ve entered your ABN, you can then enter your transfer number, select a registration period (one or three years), and then add in any extra contact details as requested. Prior to the confirmation of your transaction, you’ll need to review the information you’ve shared, declare that you agree with the conditions of the transaction and pay a fee for the registration of the business name.


Notify others about the business name change

Once the business name transfer has been confirmed and the name change is registered, you’ll need to notify all relevant parties. As well as your clients and suppliers, you’ll also need to notify any other relevant stakeholders, organisations and government agencies.


Do you have to get a new ABN?

If you decide to register your business as a company, you will receive a new ABN. This ABN won’t cancel out your sole trader ABN, so you may choose to cancel it if you won’t be using it any longer.


How much does it cost to change a business name?

The process of transferring a business name is free, but you will need to pay for business name registration. The costs of choosing to register a business name are as follows:

  • One year - $37
  • Three years - $87

Even though you may have previously registered the business name as a sole trader, the prior renewal period will not carry over to your company. The business name registration period resets as soon as the transfer occurs.


What is a transfer number?

Valid for four months and 28 days, a transfer number is a 13 character number that is used to move the ownership of a business name from one person or entity to another. Without this unique number, the transfer cannot go ahead. Transfer numbers help to make the name change process simpler, especially if you happen to be in the process of changing business ownership or restructuring your business.

It’s important to note that if a transfer doesn’t occur within the period that the transfer number is valid, the business name will become available for other businesses to register.

Want to know more about running a successful small business? Discover the wide selection of guides and resources over on our small business blog.

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