Do I need to register the LLC name with my state?

The name of your business is important as it is likely what you will build your brand, products, and services off of. You’ll want to protect that name as much as possible by making sure others do not build a business with the same name or a similar one. Upon LLC formation or the creation of your limited liability company, you must register your name with the federal government. In most states, they do not let businesses register as an LLC if the name is already registered. If you have successfully formed your LLC with the federal government, you usually do not have to separately register the LLC name with your state.

However, even if you filled out the LLC paperwork and successfully registered your business, you have other name registration options open to you:

  • Register a Fictitious Name: If you plan on selling services or products under a name that differs from your LLC registered name, then you may need to fill out an assumed name certificate with your state Department of Corporations or Secretary of State.
  • File a DBA Certificate: Certain states require LLCs to file a “doing business as” certificate, or DBA, with the fictitious name if it differs from the LLC name on file. The certificate must be filed with the city clerk or other official.
  • Trademark the Name: If you really don’t want anyone else encroaching on your brand, you might apply for a trademark for your business name with the federal government.

Whatever name the public or government knows your business as, make sure you fill out the proper tax ID application and get an employer identification number if you have any employees, are taxed as a partnership, or are taxed as a corporation. If you do not yet have your EIN, you can fill out an online EIN application. Your business requires an EIN for payroll and for properly filing tax returns in most cases. If you have applied but not yet received your number, you may track your EIN application with GovDocFiling.

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