Last updated 16 August 2016

If an association carries on business in Queensland under a name other than the name of the association, it should consider whether to register that name as a business name. For example, XYZ Environment Group Inc. may operate a chain of retail shops selling nature books to subsidise its activities. It may trade under the name ‘Nature Books’, and this would probably be required to be registered as a business name.

Forms for registration can be downloaded from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website or can be requested over the telephone. The commission’s website hosts an online database that people can use to search all registered business names and company names in Australia. However, such a search does not guarantee that the name chosen is available for registration.

It may also be prudent for an association to consider issues of trade marks. Trade mark information is available through IP Australia, the Commonwealth government agency responsible for administering patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeders’ rights.

Interstate offices

Some incorporated associations do carry on activities or establish an office outside Queensland. Large sporting organisations, charities and those associations that are geographically close to the border may need to establish such an office.

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) requires incorporated associations that carry on business outside Queensland to register as a registrable Australian body (s 601CA). Sections 18–21 of the Corporations Act define what is meant by carrying on business. Section 18 makes it clear that carrying on business will include business other than for profit. Section 21(3) sets out a number of matters which in themselves do not mean that business is being carried on in that place. For example, merely investing funds, holding property, maintaining a bank account or conducting an isolated transaction that is completed within a period of 31 days by itself will not be regarded as carrying on business.

Section 601CB of the Corporations Act sets out the requirements for registration:

  • a completed Form 401
  • a certified certificate of incorporation and constitution
  • a list of the management committee
  • the principal place of business being in Queensland
  • the registered office of the association (s 601CT Corporations Act)
  • the registration fee.

The Corporations Act is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.