Tennessee business entity name search: Learn to use the Tennessee Secretary of State’s resources, understand state business laws, and steer clear of any potential trademark conflicts with the USPTO.
How to Look Up an LLC or Any Business Entity in Tennessee (Summary)
To look up an LLC or any business entity in Tennessee, you can follow these steps:
- Visit the Tennessee Secretary of State website.
- Click on “Business Services” in the top menu bar.
- Select “Business Information Search” or “Search Businesses” from the drop-down menu.
- Choose the “Search by Business Name” option.
- Enter the name of the LLC you are looking for in the search bar.
- Review the search results to find the LLC you are looking for.
- Click on the name of the LLC to view its business information, including its status, registration date, and registered agent.
What is a Tennessee Business Entity?
A Tennessee business entity refers to an organization that is legally formed and recognized to conduct business within the state of Tennessee. The process for creating and managing these entities is overseen by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Division of Business Services.
The common types of business entities that can be formed in Tennessee include:
- Sole Proprietorship: This is a type of business that is owned and run by one individual. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, so the owner is personally responsible for the business’s debts and obligations.
- Partnership: This can be a general partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. A partnership involves two or more individuals who agree to share in the profits and losses of a business.
- Corporation: This is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders, which provides liability protection to its owners. It can be formed as a for-profit or a nonprofit organization.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a type of business entity that combines elements of partnerships and corporations, offering the liability protections of a corporation with the tax and operational flexibilities of a partnership.
TN Secretary of State Name Search
Each of these types of business entities has its own rules and regulations regarding formation, taxation, and liability. For instance, forming an LLC or a corporation in Tennessee involves filing the appropriate documents with the Secretary of State’s office, and may involve a filing fee.
Search Business Names in Tennessee (Tennessee LLC Lookup Guide)
Note that if the LLC is not registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State, it may be registered with a county or municipal government. In that case, you may need to contact the local government to obtain information about the LLC.
|Searching for Tennessee business names is done through the Tennessee name availability site.|
All companies that wish to do business under a different or assumed name in Tennessee must register their business name.
Choose a Business Structure
Before a name can ever be registered, it is necessary to choose a business structure. How the business is legally organized will depend on its structure. These are the four business entities:
- Sole proprietorship
- A general partnership
- Limited-Liability Company (LLC)
Remember that Tennessee does not have a standard business license for companies to file. However, some businesses may need permits from agencies or special licensing in order to open.
A majority of Tennessee businesses require an annual license issued by the county clerk. A license may also be required if the business is within the city limits.
Guidelines for Choosing a Name
Once the entity has been chosen, it is necessary to register the business name. You don’t need to file if you operate a business under your first name and last name, whether a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or general corporation.
A general partnership that operates under a different name must file a Statement of Partnership Authority.
An assumed name registration might be required if the business operates under a different name or DBA. This determination will be made by the register of deeds in the county where the business is located.
The Secretary of State must receive the Application for Registration Of Assumed Name if an assumed name filing is required.
These are some rules to follow when naming your business:
- Differentiable: Your name must be unique and cannot be used by other businesses. Use the U.S. Search Engine to check if your preferred business name is available. The TESS System of the Patent Office. Some counties require a physical form. Check with your county clerk or secretary of state’s office.
- No implications: A business name does not imply affiliation with government agencies or charities.
- Special permission to use financial terms: Tennessee demands that words like mortgage, credit union and trust cannot be used without the permission of the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions.
How to file for an assumed name
You can register your company under an assumed name by creating an account at the Tennessee Online Filing System. You must include your full name, address, telephone number, desired DBA of the company, and complete address to the business.
You can mail the completed form to the address below if you prefer a hard copy. Include the $20 filing fee.
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
6th Floor, William R. Snodgrass tower
Nashville, TN 37243
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Tennessee Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Tennessee will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Tennessee
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
Tennessee LLC Name Search FAQ
How can I verify if an LLC is registered in Tennessee?
To check if your business name has been taken out of the database, you can use the Tennessee Business Name Search Tool.
Find out more information about the availability of business entity names in the How To Search Available LLC Names section.
Do I have to name my LLC after me?
Although there is no prohibition against naming your LLC after yourself (most experts recommend against it).
An advantage of an LLC is that you can choose a different business name, which can make your business sound more professional.
What words are prohibited in a Tennessee LLC’s name?
It is not possible to include words in business names that suggest that the company is a bank or financial institution, or that it is affiliated with a local or state government agency.
Tennessee LLC names must not contain “corporation”, “incorporated,” or any abbreviation thereof.
Find out more information about LLC naming requirements in the Tennessee Naming Requirements section.
Do I need an LLC name generator?
An LLC name generator is a great tool to help you choose a name for your LLC.
What is a brand?
A brand name is a name that a company gives to a product line or product. It can be the exact same as the company name, or something else.
Our How To Name An LLC guide will help you learn more about branding your business entity name.
Do I need to include LLC in the name?
Yes, Tennessee law requires LLCs to use the “Limited Liability Company” abbreviation (e.g. LLC or L.L.C. in their legal name.
Find out more information about LLC naming requirements in the Tennessee Naming Requirements section.
Do I have to renew my Tennessee business name?
Tennessee does not require LLCs to renew their legal names; assumed names must be renewed every five years.
You can renew online, or by submitting form SS-4239 Renewal of Registration for Assumed Name. The filing fee is 20.
Is it possible for my business name to be different from the Tennessee LLC name?
Some companies prefer to operate under a different name than their legal name. It can be called either a “doing business as” (DBA name) or an assumed name in Tennessee.
LLC assumed names in Tennessee are filed with the Secretary of State.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: email@example.com