Tennessee Secretary of State Business Search
If you are starting a business in Tennessee, one of the initial steps should be confirming whether the name you want to use is available through the Secretary of State’s business entity search tool.
Searches can be conducted using business names or control numbers. Furthermore, users may select whether to search only names beginning or containing certain words from their search term.
Name Availability Search
A Name Availability Search on the Secretary of State’s website can help confirm whether the business name you wish to use is available. This search will check whether your proposed name already exists on record with the state and provide details such as which entities filed it; you will also be able to see additional information such as their type, location, status and control number – it even shows if it’s being used currently by anyone! Punctuation marks, spaces, or special characters won’t skew search results, so enter words or phrases including them!
Name Availability Search provides insight into any restrictions on a business name, such as disclaimers or scope limitations imposed by other businesses with similar names. Furthermore, this tool helps determine whether registration of your name in other states will be necessary.
If the name you want for your business is available, file an Application for Name Reservation to hold onto it for one year. However, before operating under that name, you must first file all required documents with the Secretary of State’s office – for assistance in this process, they can also be contacted directly.
Name reservations usually take 120 days, after which a confirmation letter from the Secretary of State’s office will be provided, and you can begin operating under your reserved name.
Additionally, you should conduct a trademark search to ensure you do not infringe upon another business’s rights. Any business name too similar to another’s could lead customers astray and make them think it is affiliated with them; should any questions arise regarding this process, it would be prudent to consult a lawyer or the Secretary of State’s office for advice.
Reserve a Business Name
Most states permit entrepreneurs to reserve business names for an allotted time frame that enables them to file formation documents. The process is typically straightforward and usually only involves searching and filling out an appropriate form – the primary aim is ensuring the business will retain a legal name before another entity files paperwork with the state to take it away.
Most state websites feature a search engine that allows a person to enter any business name and immediately find what entities have filed registrations or paperwork with the Secretary of State. Results typically appear alphabetically and include such details as the date of formation, type of entity, and registered agent contact info.
Some business names may require specific terms or abbreviations depending on the structure of an entity. A name availability search should be conducted with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to make the process smoother and ensure accurate results. This will offer more thorough results than state business databases.
If you have an excellent business idea and name in mind, reserving that name for several months or even longer before actually beginning operations is often beneficial. Doing this will prevent someone else from swiping it before your startup gets underway – something which has happened far too often to businesses investing money and time only to discover that someone had reserved it ahead of them!
Reserving a business name may be optional for sole proprietors and partnerships. Still, corporations or limited liability companies typically must register their names with state officials to operate legally. To register your corporate or LLC name with your state’s Secretary of State or equivalent agency, file Articles of Organization along with details such as legal ownership structure, a registered agent (individual or entity), address for service of process as well as any filing fees involved in filing these documents.
Filing an Application for Name Reservation
Selecting an identifiable name when creating an LLC or corporation is one of the first and most crucial steps. However, before registering it with the Secretary of State, you must perform a Tennessee business name availability search to ensure your chosen name is available. This process can be made simple using online tools provided by them.
The website features an interactive tool that enables you to search by control number or company name, restrict results only to active businesses, or identify those with specific terms or abbreviations. Furthermore, when you find one with your desired name, you can apply to reserve it.
Once complete, the form will be submitted to the Secretary of State, and a reservation certificate will be issued. Should you later change your mind about reserving a name or withdrawing the application by filing a Notice of Withdrawal with their office – there’s no fee for canceling business name reservations.
In addition to registering corporate names, the Tennessee Department of State’s Business Entities division also reports state trademarks and UCC filings. Furthermore, this division provides information about businesses, such as their ownership structure and location – making searching possible via their website; each time a new business forms or changes its name or structure changes, its database is updated automatically.
When conducting business in Tennessee, all registration requirements stipulate using its name as part of its marketing and promotional efforts. Furthermore, to ensure it qualifies as an independent legal entity and protects its owner’s assets and any business interests, including incorporation as an LLC into its name.
Filing a DBA
Doing business as, or DBA, names are registered at the state level to declare that an individual, corporation, or partnership can legally operate using another name other than its legal entity name. Although not as complex as registering a new business, DBA filing still requires significant research and filing efforts.
Step one in starting any business involves selecting an appropriate trade name that reflects its nature, which may require creativity. Once you have identified one or more characters that best meet your requirements, check your state’s business database to make sure the name is available – be sure to choose something that doesn’t imply corporate status, as this could create legal complications and customer confusion.
Once you have selected your DBA, the next step in registering it with your county office or Register of Deeds office will be filling out an application to register it with them. When filing this application, you must include information like the legal name and physical address (typically your home if it’s a sole proprietorship or general partnership), along with all owners’ names and addresses and payment of an applicable filing fee; fees vary by county.
While operating a business under a DBA is possible, some companies register it as an additional entity under their corporation or LLC umbrella for marketing and liability reasons. While this approach provides some other protections, such as financial or personal liability protections, this approach may require more maintenance from a management perspective while not offering as much legal security as creating separate LLCs or corporations.
Some states impose strict requirements on what can be included in a DBA. You cannot have phrases like “Inc,” “LLC,” or “Corp” because this could misrepresent your business as something it’s not, leading to legal complications and confusion. Furthermore, any words suggesting an affiliation with fraternal, service veterans, religious organizations, or professional associations must not be used; otherwise, a DBA will expire after an agreed-upon period has elapsed.