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Display of Company Name and ACN (or ABN)

Display of Company Name

A company must display its name prominently at every place at which the company carries on business and is open to the public - section 144(1) of the Corporations Act 2001.

A public company must also display its name and the words ‘Registered Office’ prominently at its registered office - section 144(2) of the Corporations Act 2001.

A company must also set out its name on all its public documents and negotiable instruments - section 153(1) of the Corporations Act 2001.

Display of ACN (or ABN)

Generally, if the company’s ACN is not used as part of its name, the company must also set out with its name, or with one of the references to its name, the expression ‘Australian Company Number’ (or ‘ACN or ‘A.C.N.’ - see section 149(1) of the Corporations Act 2001) on all its public documents, and ‘negotiable instruments’ (including cheques) - section 153 of the Corporations Act 2001. Further, if the last 9 digits of the company's ABN are the same as, and appear in the same order as, the 9 digits of the company's ACN, the expression 'Australian Business Number' (or 'ABN' or 'A.B.N' - see section 149(1) of the Corporations Act 2001) may be used instead of the ACN in these circumstances - section 153(2) of the Corporations Act 2001.

- exception relating to receipts

A company does not have to set out the expression ‘Australian Company Number’ (nor ‘ACN or ‘A.C.N.’ - see section 149(1) of the Corporations Act 2001) followed by its ACN on a receipt (for example, a cash register receipt) that sets out information recorded in the machine that produced the receipt - section 154 of the Corporations Act 2001.

Use of ABN instead of ACN

Since a change in the law effective 1 July 2003 (and speaking generally), where the ACN of a company is required (or permitted to be used) by a Commonwealth law, and where the last 9 digits of the company's ABN are the same as, and appear in the same order as, the 9 digits of the company's ACN, the ABN may be used instead of the ACN - see section 1344 of the Corporations Act 2001.