You can change a company name after a company has been registered.
You can only choose a new company name that is available to be registered, that is one that is not already registered to a company or business and is acceptable for registration.
Once you have chosen a new name that is available and lodged details of the resolution to change the company name with us, we will accept or reject the proposed change.
Step 1—Choose a new name
Is the name available and acceptable?
Under s147 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), a name is available to a company unless it is:
identical to a name that is reserved or registered under the Corporations Act for another body under the rules set out in the Corporations Regulations 2001 (Corporations Regulations), or
identical to a name that is included on the National Business Names Register in respect of another individual or body who is not the person applying to have the name (under the rules set out in the Regulations), or
unacceptable for registration under the Corporations Regulations. (e.g. where the name includes the word(s) ‘trustee’, ‘consumer’, ‘Bank’, ‘ANZAC’, or other specified words, or where the name may suggest a misleading connection with government, or The Royal Family, or may be offensive to the public).
When determining whether two names are identical, the law disregards some things including:
the use of the definite article (‘the’) or indefinite article (‘a’ and ‘an’) as the first word in one or both names, and
whether a word is in the plural or singular number in one or both names.
The fact that we may approve reservation or registration of a name does not mean that a company is exempt from action taken by another company or body with a similar name. The onus is upon a company to consider the problem of similar names when a change of name is proposed or registered.
We will confirm whether the name has been reserved either online, or in writing to the lodging party or to the company’s registered office. If the name is available, the notice will confirm name reservation for a period of two months. If the name is not available the notice will explain the reasons why.
Using a registered business name
If a company proposes to change its name to a name that is identical to a registered business name(s), information regarding the business name must be provided on the Form 205 itself in the space provided, or in an annexure to the form. See ‘Step 3—Notify special resolution using ASIC Form 205’ below.
We will check the given business name(s) with the national business names register. Under previous state or territory law, it was possible for identical business names to be registered in each state or territory and be owned by other companies or persons who have no connection with your company. In such circumstances the name may not be available to the company as its new name.
Step 2—Pass a special resolution
A company must convene a meeting of members and pass a special resolution to change its name. Unlisted companies must give at least 21 days notice of a meeting of members, listed companies must give at least 28 days notice—however, a company may call a meeting on shorter notice.
The special resolution must be passed by at least 75% of the votes cast by members entitled to vote on the resolution.
Step 3—Notify special resolution using ASIC Form 205
Details of special resolution
If you are lodging online you will need to provide details of the special resolution.
If you lodge on paper, the text of the special resolution should be machine printed or clearly handwritten in the space provided on the Form 205 Notification of resolution, or you may attach a copy of the special resolution as an annexure. Any annexures must conform to the requirements as shown in the Guide to the Form 205.
Using a name the same as a registered business name
If a company proposes to change its name to a name that is identical to a registered business name(s), information regarding the business name may be provided on the Form 205 itself in the space provided.
You may also provide business name information as an annexure. If so, provide the same information as is required on the Form 205 including the business name(s), ABN(s) (or previous state or territory of registration and the registration number(s)), AND the following statement must also be included: If yes, I declare that I hold, or am registering the company name for the holder(s) of the identical business name(s), the registration details of which are listed below.
The company director or secretary who signed the Form 205 must also sign and date the annexure and also declare that the information given in the annexure is true and correct as follows: I declare that the information given in this annexure is true and correct.
The annexure must accompany the Form 205 and conform to the requirements in the Form 205 Guide under ‘Additional requirements’.