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  • #979141
    eagerbeaver
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    Hi All,

    I am currently employed as a sole trader through my casual job. For that job, I have a registered ABN under my name. I am now looking into starting up a small business and also running it as a sole trader. For this, I will also need an ABN. My understanding is that because both roles are as sole traders, I can only use the one ABN. However, I do not want the ABN of my small business to reveal my name when it is looked up – rather, I want it to show my business name or trading name – anything other than my real name (for professional appearances and also because I wish to remain anonymous amongst competitors).

    Is there any way to make this happen? My casual work has become less important lately and I guess I could cancel my current ABN completely if that is what needs to be done.

    Any advice is truly appreciated. I have called the ATO and small business centre but have been running around in circles lately. I have arranged to see an accountant but I have seen many amazing answers through here that I thought I would try as well.

    #1112298
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi There,

    If you want to operate as a sole trader, there’s not going to much of a way around this. A sole trader = legal entity. ABN belongs to the Legal entity. Under the new business name system, your details will likely come up on the business name database as the holder of the business name irrespective of your ABN situation.

    You might consider registering a company for your new business, rather than operating as a sole trader under the business name. This means the company will be entitled to its own/separate ABN to the one you have as a sole trader now; plus on the company database it won’t show your name personally, just the company details, likewise in the ABN look up tools. (Or, a company could have one ABN but it could be the business name holder of multiple business names).

    Note – it will generally always be possible for someone to obtain your personal details, whether you are a sole trader with a business name, or the director of a company. It’s possible to purchase extracts of company details, which would show who the director is and their details. The alternative may be to speak to your accountant about a trust set up… If you’re purely wanting to stop it being ‘too easy’ for your name to come up on databases, a company might be the better option than a sole trader/business name.

    Good luck :)

    #1112299
    Divert To Mobile
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    Sounds like you might need to create a new entity if you dont want your personal details displaying. A trust or company might be the way to go – but still if someone digs hard enough it will end up pointing to you anyway.

    Steve

    #1112300
    Just Launch
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    You can easily register a new entity. If you think that this business venture has a bright future then you could consider setting up a new entity, either a Trust or Company, and benefiting from some tax advantages and asset protection should anything go wrong.

    Setting up these types of entities is quite inexpensive considering the benefits you get out of them.

    John Whale CA

    #1112301
    Kennethti
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    Unfortunately if you are seeking anonymity you cannot run very far. For a fee searches can be taken out with ASIC with respect to your business name, your ABN, or ACN. Even if you register a new company you must still disclose to ASIC who are the directors of the company and who the shareholders are.

    The alternative is to set up a trust, however you would need advice from your accountant whether this is suitable for you.

    #1112302
    eagerbeaver
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    Thanks for all your wonderful advice. After much consideration I think I will run the business initially as a sole trader just to test the waters and then change business structures down the line if it goes well. It sounds like I can’t escape linking my name to the business!

    #1112303
    Kennethti
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    eagerbeaver, post: 125952 wrote:
    Thanks for all your wonderful advice. After much consideration I think I will run the business initially as a sole trader just to test the waters and then change business structures down the line if it goes well. It sounds like I can’t escape linking my name to the business!

    Another matter for you to consider – a “change” in business structure usually means that the business is being transferred or being “sold” to another entity operating in a different structure. Stamp duty may apply to your transaction even if no money is exchanged. You should speak about doing this to your accountant.

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