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Business names

Registration

Registration is required if:

  • a person uses a name that is in any way different from their own true name (true name means the surname only or the surname with the addition of his forenames or their initials) or
  • a firm (partnership) uses a name that is in any way different from the true names of all the partners, or
  • a company uses a name that is in any way different from its full corporate name or
  • a person acts as agent on behalf of another person or company.

See - Registration forms

Registration is not required when business is carried on by a trustee in bankruptcy or by a receiver or manager appointed by a court. Before registering, you should also check that your proposed name doesn't already have a trade mark registered against it.

Changes to registration details

If any details relating to the business name change, you must notify the Companies Registry on the appropriate form within 14 days of the change.

This includes changes in the name or address of the business itself or in the names or addresses of the owners of the business name. There is no fee payable if you inform us of the change within 14 days but a penalty is payable if you notify us after that time.

See - Business names forms

Annual declaration

Every business that has registered a business name is required to file an annual declaration in the Companies Registry confirming they continue to trade and that there have been no changes to the particulars required to be delivered to the department.

The declaration should be filed each year on the anniversary of the name being registered. There is no registration fee.

See - Annual declaration, form BNSD

Cessation of trading

If a business name ceases trading, the Companies Registry should be notified within 3 months by submitting Form RBN 14, which needs to be signed by either the sole proprietor, or on behalf of the sole limited company or by all the partners if it is registered as a partnership. There is no fee payable.

See - Form BN14

Fees, forms and practice notes

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