Idaho Business Name Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
Even with the help of business services through the Secretary of State, registering a business has financial consequences. Always discuss business setup with a business attorney.
How to search for Idaho business names
Before registering a business entity name in Idaho, a prospective business owner must do some research. The most important research is to ensure that the business name is available. During this phase, the business owner should also check to see if a domain name and social media names are available if he wishes the business’s online presence to have the same name as the business.
First, check the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office to ensure the name is available.
- Step 1: Navigate to the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office search tool.
- Step 2: Locate the “Advanced” tab below the search box. Click the “Advanced” tab. A new box with options will appear.
- Step 3: Enter the business name.
- Step 4: Change the radio button from “Starts with” to “Contains.” Idaho does not offer the search type “exact match.”
- Step 5: Leave the tick boxes for “Search by Registered Agent” and “Active entities only” blank.
- Step 6: Leave the “Filing Date” boxes for the start date and end date empty.
- Step 7: Click “Search.”
The system will display business names that are the same or similar to the business name entered in the box.
If the business name you entered into the box is listed, you cannot use the name as another business is using it. If the names are too similar, the Idaho Secretary of State could deny the business’s application.
How to register a business name in Idaho
When a business owner has decided on a name that has not been used by another business, he is ready to start registering the new business. Navigate to SoSBiz and create an account. Once a business owner creates an account, he can:
- Search for a business, though a business owner does not need an account to search.
- Access business forms.
- File annual reports.
- Amend a business, including the business name.
- Dissolve a business.
- Reinstate a business that the Idaho Secretary of State administratively dissolved.
- Update the registered agent.
- Terminate the business.
Idaho trademark/DBA name search
A prospective business owner should also check Idaho’s trademarks. The trademarks will show up in the search for business names. The state does not have a separate trademark database.
Sometimes a sole proprietor or a general partnership will register a fictitious name as a trade name. The Idaho Secretary of State’s office does not require those entities to register a business name that includes the business owner’s full name or, in the case of partnerships, the names of all of the partners.
A business owner can also register a trademark for a service or item she invented. Business owners can also register a trademark for business logos. However, if a business owner registers a trademark or trade name with Idaho, it does not protect intellectual property from being used in other states. The business owner must register intellectual property at the federal level.
If a business owner wishes to determine whether a business name or logo has been trademarked at the federal level, search the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Check if the domain name is available
Before a business registers its name, the business owner should take additional steps to ensure that the name is available for domain and social media use. While the domain name and social media accounts or pages do not have to have the same name as the business, it is better for marketing purposes. If other persons or entities, including incorporations, are already using the name, a prospective business owner can choose another name to register at the state level or use a different name that describes the business for the domain name and social media accounts.
Once a prospective business owner determines that the business name is available in the state, he should check if a domain name is available. Business owners can search for domain name availability through any domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
If a domain name is not available
Since domain registrars are not held to the same standards as the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office, the business name you chose could be in use online. You have two choices:
- Choose a different business name based on domain name and social media business page name availability.
- Create a domain name and social media accounts with a word or phrase that describes the business.
For example, you might want to register ‘XYZ Widgets, LLC,’ but GoDaddy shows that ‘XYZ Widgets’ is taken. Look for a new name or a descriptive name. You might choose XYZ Widgets Idado instead.
If another business or individual is using the dot com version of XYZ LLC, it is better to not use the dot net or other extensions as people tend to automatically assume that every business has a dot com, and you could end up losing customers.
Check if the social media name is available
To conduct a search on any of the social media platforms, enter the business name in the search box. If it is available, we recommend creating a page immediately. Someone could use the name before you finish with the other registrations.
Naming considerations for Idaho business entities
Idaho laws provide for specific naming conventions for different types of entities. In addition to choosing a name that is not the same or similar to another name and other regulations, each entity must include certain words, phrases or abbreviations in the name.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
Prospective business owners must register sole proprietorships and general partnerships. They can also use a ‘doing business as’ or DBA, referred to as an assumed name in Idaho. If either wishes to use an assumed name, they must register the assumed name with the Idaho Secretary of State.
Limited cooperative association
A limited cooperative association must include the following phrases or abbreviated phrases in its name:
- Limited cooperative association.
- Limited cooperative.
The business owner can abbreviate the following:
- Limited: Ltd.
- Cooperative: Co-op., Coop., or Co op, or Coop.
- Association: Assoc., Assoc, Assn., or Assn.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
All limited liability companies must include one of the following in their names:
- Limited liability company.
- Limited company.
Business owners may also abbreviate as follows:
- Limited: Ltd.
- Company: Co.
If the business is a professional entity, the business owner may include “Professional” before the word ‘limited.’ The business owner may also abbreviate the name as PLLC, P.L.L.C., P. Limited liability company, or any variation of the abbreviations.
Limited liability partnerships
A limited partnership can have the name of any partner. The name must include one of the following:
- Limited partnership.
Limited liability limited partnership
If the partnership is a limited liability limited partnership, it must include one of the following:
- Limited liability limited partnership.
- Registered limited liability limited partnership.
If any business is a professional entity, the business owner can add the following words to the title:
- Professional association;
- Professional corporation;
A corporation must include one of the following in its name:
Nonprofit corporations follow the same naming conventions.
How are business licenses obtained in Idaho?
Idaho requires business owners to obtain several licenses. Some are at the state level and some are at the city and county levels. And, some are industry-specific. Licenses include business registration, occupational licenses, sales tax permits, unemployment, withholding, and city and county business licenses. Navigate to the Business Wizard to find out which licenses each type of business needs.
What is the difference between a DBA and an ABN?
None. DBA means “doing business as.” ABN means “assumed business name.” Some states use DBA, while Idaho uses ABN.
Are assumed business names public records?
Yes, assumed business names, along with other business filings, are public records. Prospective business owners must be able to search assumed business names to determine whether a name is in use. Some states, including some websites in Idaho, might refer to an assumed business name as a “trade name.”
Do I have to get a Federal Employer Identification Number?
Most businesses must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). We can obtain this for you or you can apply for it yourself at the Internal Revenue Service. If a sole proprietor with no employees wants to open a separate bank account, the bank may require the FEIN.
How do I apply for an S Corporation?
Since the IRS grants S Corporation status, you must apply through the IRS.
Where do I file my business’s bylaws?
You do not file bylaws with any government entity. Keep the bylaws as part of your records. However, you must file an annual report with the Idaho Secretary of State.
What if I have amendments to my annual report?
Sign in to your Idaho Secretary of State’s account to file any amended documents.
How do I lookup liens?
Navigate to the UCC search function to find business liens.
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