Registering a Business Name
After you have chosen a business name and you have searched to make sure no one else has that name, you should register your business name. Registering your business name gives you the right to use that name exclusively and it will be used for all legal and tax purposes.
The way you register a business name is not a formalized process, but there is one way to make your business name official - use it when you apply for an Employer ID Number. Putting your "official" business name on the EIN application makes this name the one the IRS and other state and federal entities will consider your legal business name.Register a Business Name for a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
If you are operating your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you should register your business name with your state. Check the website of your state's secretary of state for more details.
Register a Business Name for a Limited Liability Company or Corporation
If you are are operating as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, you don't need to register the business name, because the process of setting up the LLC or corporation includes the business name registration. No separate business name registration is required.
You May Need to File a Fictitious Name (DBA) Statement
If your business name is different from the name you are using for advertising and public purposes (your business trade name), you will need to file a "fictitious name" statement, sometimes called a "d/b/a" or "doing business as" statement. This statement is filed in the county where your business is operating. The process of filing a d/b/a or fictitious name statement is one of the first things you should do if you are going to use a trade name that is different from the name you have registered.
Back to Business Name Steps.