How to Do a Business Name Search in Tennessee

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 When an individual starts a company for themselves, it is the cheapest entity to set up. Unlimited liability is the biggest drawback. This means that the owner is personally responsible for all debts and actions. The owner could lose all of their assets if the company is sued. Due to self-employment taxes, the owner could also be subject to higher taxes than other entities.
  • A general partnership: In a general partnership, two or more people do business together. The general partnership also comes with unlimited liability. This means that the partners’ personal assets may be at risk if there is a lawsuit. General partnerships, like sole proprietorships, are subject to self-employment tax as profits and losses pass through the partners’ taxes.
  • Corporation: A corporation is legally distinct from individuals. Its greatest advantage is that it’s an independent business entity. This means owners’ assets are protected from any potential lawsuits relating to the corporation. Corporations are more difficult and more costly to create than sole proprietorships or general partnerships. The income of owners will come in the form of dividends or salaries, so there is no tax on self-employment.
  • Limited-Liability Company (LLC) LLCs provide corporation liability protection. They are similar to sole proprietorships in terms of ease of operation. They offer the greatest flexibility in taxes.

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.

Corporate Filings

312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.

6th Floor, William R. Snodgrass tower

Nashville, TN 37243

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. 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

 

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