When it comes to buying websites and domain names, it can be a bit confusing whether to own it against a business name or your own personal name or an ABN. Especially when you’re buying a domain name in Australia. Today we chat to Jeanette Jifkins from Onyx Legal, about whether we need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to buy websites or domain names.

CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW to hear from Jeanette Jifkins

Do I need an ABN to own, operate or buy a website?

Matt Raad:               Today I’m here at the kitchen table with Jeanette Jifkins from Onyx Legal. And today’s question is – here in Australia, do I need an ABN (or a business name) to operate a website, or to buy and sell websites?

Jeanette Jifkins:         An ABN and a business name are actually two different things. An ABN is a business registration number. And a business name is basically just a name.

If you want to register a business name, you do need to have an ABN. But regardless of that, you don’t have to have either of those things to buy a domain name. Particularly if the domain is a “.com”.

Do I need an ABN to purchase a domain name in Australia?

Matt:               And being in Australia, it’s immaterial, isn’t it? When using a “.com”, you can purchase in your own name.

Jeanette:         Yes. But if it’s a “.com.au” (or it’s got a particular ending like that) , there may be other obligations that apply.

Here in Australia it’s a bit harder to get a “.com.au” unless you have an ABN. There are conditions around “.org” etc. so you just have to comply with those conditions.

But if you’re just getting started, and you’re purchasing a “.com”, then you don’t need anything special.

Do I need multiple ABNs to purchase multiple domain names?

Matt Raad and Jeanette Jifkins speak about buying websites, domain names & ABNs
Matt Raad and Jeanette Jifkins speak about buying websites, domain names & ABNs

Matt:               Great, but if you do want to go the Australian “.com.au”, then you need an ABN. Do I need separate ABN’s for multiple domains?

Jeanette:         Oh gosh, no!

Matt:               You can have one ABN and have multiple domain names sitting underneath that.

Jeanette:         Absolutely.

Matt:               And they don’t have to be related or anything like that?

Jeanette:         No. And actually, if you do want to go down the path of registering a business name, then you can use the business name to identify the registrant of all the domain names, with your ABN, instead of your own personal name.

So, it’s just a privacy thing instead of paying for privacy, you can do it that way. But you don’t have to have it by any means.

Matt:               Because registering a business name in Australia, was it around $36 a year?

Jeanette:         Yes, perhaps around $85 for three years.

Matt:               So there you go. $85 dollars to register a business NAME in Australia – I think that’s worth it especially if you are going to be buying websites or building websites. Awesome, thanks for that Jeanette.

Jeanette Jifkins regularly speaks at the E-Business Institute’s Digital marketing workshops & training boot-camps about the legal aspects of buying websites and all things to do with website legals.

Matt Raad
Matt Raad

Matt Raad is a website investor, Angel Investor and leading educator on Digital Asset Investments, and is recognised as the Australian expert in buying, renovating and selling profitable websites and businesses. Find him on Facebook, LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.