Nebraska 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 Nebraska business names
A business owner should search for name availability before attempting to register a business with Nebraska’s Secretary of State’s office. To search for name availability in Nebraska:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s search tool to start entering search criteria.
- Step 2: Select the radio button for ‘Name Keyword Search.’
- Step 3: Select the radio button for ‘Match Any Word.’
- Step 4: Enter the entity name in the ‘Name’ box.
- Step 5: Check the CAPTCHA box for ‘I’m not a robot.’
- Step 6: Click the ‘Perform Search’ button.
If an exact match exists, the name is unavailable. If the system does not display an exact match, but displays partial matches, browse through the matches. If the name is too similar to an existing name, the Secretary of State’s office will reject the application.
Additionally, if you choose a similar name, customers might become confused and end up on a competitor’s website.
How to register a business name in Nebraska
- Step 1: Navigate to the Nebraska.gov Secretary of State’s filing portal for new businesses.
- Step 2: Select the filing type. For new businesses, select the radio button for ‘forming a new entity/qualifying a foreign entity.’ If the business is a sole proprietorship or general partnership and the business owner is filing a ‘doing business as’ or DBA name, select ‘registering a trade name.’
- Step 3: From the menu that drops down select the entity type, e.g., corporation, limited liability company, etc.
- Step 4: Optional. Enter a memo.
- Step 5: Click the ‘Continue’ button.
- Step 6: The information pages for each entity will open a new window. Complete the required information. After each information page, click the ‘Continue’ button until the system asks you to submit your filing.
Nebraska trademark/DBA name search
Nebraska does not have a trademark search function. If you wish to file a trademark, you can file by paper. The filing fee is $110.00. A business must also submit three examples of the mark used.
Nebraska does not guarantee that a business mark is not already filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If a business owner registers a trademark in Nebraska, the business does not have exclusive use across the country.
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 another person or entity is 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.
Domain names are not regulated state by state; thus, someone else could use the same business name a business owner wishes to register – even in the same state.
To search for domain names, navigate to a domain registry’s site, such as GoDaddy. Enter the business name in the search box.
The system will advise as to business entity name availability. If the name is not available as a dot-com name, but the dot-net or another extension is available, we do not recommend using the name. It’s too easy for customers to end up on a competitor’s website because they are confused over a similar name.
If a domain name is not available
- Choose a different business name if the business owner has not registered with the Secretary of State’s office yet. Search the three types of name searches until a name is available on all three.
- Choose a similar name for the domain name and social media name. However, do not pick a name that is so similar that customers become confused and end up on a competitor’s website.
- Choose a descriptive name for the business to use as the social media account name or domain name.
Check if the social media name is available
To determine whether a business name is available on a social media platform, navigate to the chosen platform. Enter the business name in the search box. If someone is already using the business name, you might be able to use the name, but we do not advise it. It is too easy for customers to end up on a competitor’s site.
Naming considerations for Nebraska business entities
Before a business owner can register a business entity, she must know which entity type she will be filing. A business owner has several factors to take into consideration, including how the Internal Revenue Service taxes the chosen entity and whether the entity provides protection for personal property, such as vehicles and a business owner’s home.
If a business owner does not know which entity he needs, the business owner should consult a business attorney to help him choose an appropriate entity type.
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
Business owners who wish to work as sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not have to register with the Nebraska Secretary of State. However, if the business owner of a sole proprietor or general partnership wishes to use a trade name, she must file the trade name with the Nebraska Secretary of State.
Trade names are filed by paper and in duplicate. They are good for 10 years, at which time the business owner can renew the trade name.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
A business owner who chooses to incorporate as a limited liability company must append one of the following at the end of the business name:
- Limited liability company.
- Limited company.
A business owner who wishes to incorporate as a corporation must append one of the following at the end of the business name:
Nebraska doesn’t require a nonprofit to amend one of the above to its name.
How are business licenses obtained in Nebraska?
Nebraska does not have a general business tax. Business owners should check with local jurisdictions at the county and city levels to determine whether the county or city requires business licenses.
How does a business determine whether a vendor or creditor filed a lien on the business or business property?
Navigate to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s UCC filings page. Nebraska charges for a UCC search. Choose one of the available searches, including the name search, original document number search, EFS name search, or EFS original document number search.
Does my Nebraska business need a registered agent?
If a business is registered with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office, it must have a registered agent. The registered agent ensures the business remains in compliance and offers privacy for the business owners. The registered agent accepts service of process and other legal documents and documents from the Secretary of State’s office.
Does my Nebraska business need a Federal Employer Identification Number?
If the business has employees, it must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). However, some banks, creditors, and vendors might require a business to produce a FEIN, even if it does not have employees. A business owner can apply for the FEIN, or we can obtain the FEIN for the business owner.
What taxes might a business have to pay?
Nebraska collects several taxes from businesses, including a sales and use tax, income withholding tax for employees, cigarette tax, charitable gaming tax, motor fuels taxes, and a prepaid wireless surcharge. Counties and cities might also collect taxes. A business owner should research all of Nebraska’s taxes prior to starting the business.
Does my business have to file an annual report in Nebraska?
It depends. Limited liability partnerships must file annual reports by April 1 every year. Domestic and foreign businesses, including corporations and professional corporations, must file a biennial occupation tax report in even-numbered years. The report is due on or before March 1. Domestic and foreign LLCs must file biennial reports in odd-numbered years. The reports are due before April 1.
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