Platform Overview

Can I Use My Business Name Overseas?

Globalisation has meant that business owners can operate and provide services across boarders. However, despite the wealth of opportunity this brings, business owners must still pay attention to domestic requirements. One such issue is whether they can operate under their business name abroad. This is a multifaceted question, with few definitive answers. As the trading laws will vary in each country, much of your ability to work overseas under your Australian business name will depend on each individual set of circumstances.

If you are thinking of using your business name overseas, we have listed some points for you to read below.

Registering a business name

When you register your business name in Australia, it is operative in Australian only. You will also need to register your business name in the country in which you seek to conduct business. This may also require you to secure the equivalent to an ABN in that particular country. If you run an online business in Australia, you are still allowed to sell to overseas consumers. However, if you register your business in another country, you will be subject to the requirements of that country. Therefore, if you manage to register the name, then you can technically use that business name overseas. Once you have done this, you must then factor in copyright laws, which we have addressed below.


Trademarks can be another obstacle to the use of your business name overseas. It is important to remember that when you trademark your business name in Australia, that protection extends to Australia only. If you would like protection internationally, you will need to apply for the relevant trademark in each country you wish to conduct business in. Otherwise, you do run the risk of copyright infringement. You must ensure that you are not encroaching on another person’s intellectual property. Copyright infringements can have serious consequences, and it is best to avoid it at all costs.

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Registering trademarks in many countries can be a costly exercise. Therefore, it is best to do your research. Working out what is most viable for you is key to ensuring success in your overseas ventures. Notwithstanding the applicable laws of overseas countries, you must not neglect the legal obligations on home soil. This is where tax laws can come knocking. We have addressed the tax question for you next.

Tax abroad

Operating business abroad can impact on your tax. As an Australian resident, you are taxed on your worldwide income. Therefore, you must disclose any income you make abroad. Factoring in these legal requirements when deciding to trade in another country is a very important step in securing your endeavours. It is important you familiarise yourself with these laws. A failure to comply with these can incur some very negative outcomes. The Australian Taxation Office has a useful video regarding overseas business on its website.

Evidently, the open borders of a new technologically geared world have their benefits for business. However, it is incumbent on all business owners to ensure that when trading abroad, they are satisfying any and all legal obligations. If you are unsure about your situation, it is recommended that you consult a business lawyer for advice.

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