New Mexico Business Name Search
Even with the help of business services through the Secretary of State (SoS), registering a business has financial consequences. Always discuss business setup with a business attorney.
How to search New Mexico business names
Before registering a business in New Mexico, a business owner must search the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office to determine name availability. A new business cannot use a business name that is already in use. To search the New Mexico Secretary of State’s database:
Step 1: Navigate to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s search tool to start entering search criteria.
Step 2: Select the radio button for ‘Starts With’ for the search type.
Step 3: Select the radio button for ‘Entity Name / DBA Name.’
Step 4: Enter the entity name in the box labeled ‘Entity Name / DBA Name.’
Step 5: Leave the box labeled ‘Business ID #’ blank.
Step 6: Leave the box labeled ‘Registration/Reservation No.’ blank.
Step 7: Check the reCAPTCHA box labeled ‘I’m not a robot.’
Step 8: Click the ‘Search’ button.
The system will display any matching results. If the results show an exact match, the business owner must choose a different name. If one or more results are similar, the business owner must also choose another name. For example, if the business owner wishes to register ABC Widgets, but one of the results is ‘The ABC Widgets,’ the name is too similar. The Secretary of State’s office will not accept the application.
Business owners can file trademarks with the New Mexico Secretary of State. Prior to filing a trademark, the business owner should conduct a trademark lookup in the trademark database to check for trademark availability.
- Step 1: Navigate to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office trademark search tool.
- Step 2: Enter either the name of the trademark or service mark, or a description of the mark in the appropriate boxes.
- Step 3: Leave the boxes labeled ‘Name of Applicant/Registrant’ and ‘Registration Number’ blank.
- Step 4: Leave the boxes labeled ‘Expiration Date,’ ‘Registration Date From,’ and ‘Registration Date To’ blank.
- Step 5: Click the ‘Search’ button.
- Step 6: Review the list of results for exact matches and similar trademarks or servicemarks. If a similar mark or an exact match exists, the business owner must change the mark.
Registering intellectual property in New Mexico only protects it in New Mexico. If a business owner wishes to protect intellectual property on a nationwide basis, it must register the intellectual property with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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.
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.
Check if the domain name is available
An internet presence, even if a business does not sell its goods or services online, can boost sales, especially if the business owner search optimizes the website. To search for domain availability, navigate to a domain registry such as GoDaddy.
Enter the business name in the search box, then review the results. The system will not allow you to use a name that is already in existence. You can, however, use similar names. We do not recommend using a name that is so similar that it confuses your customers and causes them to end up on a competitor’s website.
Additionally, if a name is available as a dot-com, we recommend registering the dot-net and dot-org web extensions so another person or business cannot use your name with a different extension.
If a domain name is not available
If the business name is unavailable as a dot-com, but is available as a dot-net, we do not recommend using it, as customers will end up on the competitor’s dot-com website. Instead, choose a different domain name or even a different business name.
Check if the social media name is available
Social media is another low-cost or free way to get a business’s name in front of many people. To search a social media platform for business names, enter the business name in the search box. If an exact match does not come up, create an account for the business as soon as possible.
If an exact match comes up, think of a name that aptly describes the business. A business owner could also restart the search with a new business name if she hasn’t already registered the name.
How to register a New Mexico business entity
To register a business entity name with the New Mexico Secretary of State, a business owner must create an account. New Mexico does not allow all business filings online. Business owners can only register limited liability companies through the business portal. They must file partnerships and corporations by mail or by walking into the Secretary of State’s office.
Before registering a business entity, the business owner must know which entity type he wants to use. If a business owner is unsure which entity to use, she should contact a business law attorney.
Each entity has its tax consequences. For example, profits from corporations are taxed twice – once at the corporate level and again at the personal level. A limited liability company is a pass-through entity, which means that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes the owner of the LLC on the owner’s personal taxes.
The type of entity a business owner chooses also determines whether the business owner’s personal assets are protected from business creditors and lawsuits. For example, a limited liability company and corporation offer the protection of the corporate shield, but a sole proprietorship and general partnership do not.
Naming considerations for New Mexico business entities
New Mexico requires businesses to append certain phrases, words or abbreviations at the end of their names.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
Since sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not have to register with the New Mexico Secretary of State, they do not need to append an entity type at the end of their names. However, if a sole proprietorship or general partnership wishes to use a ‘doing business as’ or alternate name (trade name), it must register the alternate name.
New Mexico recently updated its laws regarding alternate names.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
A business owner who wishes to incorporate as a limited liability company must append one of the following to the end of the business name:
- Limited liability company.
- Limited company.
Business owners may also abbreviate ‘limited’ as “Ltd.” and ‘company’ as “Co.”
If a business wishes to incorporate as a limited partnership, it must append one of the following after the business name, which is normally the partners’ surnames:
- Limited partnership.
If the partnership is a limited liability partnership, the business owner must append one of the following:
- Limited liability limited partnership.
If a business owner chooses to incorporate as a corporation, the business owner must append one of the following to the end of the name:
A business owner who wishes to incorporate as a professional corporation must append one of the following to the end of the business name:
- Professional association.
- Professional corporation.
How are business licenses obtained in New Mexico?
To determine whether you need a business license for a specific industry, navigate to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. Businesses should also check with local jurisdictions to obtain any county or city business licenses that the local jurisdiction might require.
Does my business need a registered agent?
If the business is registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State, it must have a registered agent. The registered agent ensures the business remains in compliance with state regulations. It also accepts service of process and other legal documents on behalf of the business, which ensures the business’s privacy.
Does my business need a Federal Employer Identification Number?
Yes. If your business has employees, it must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In some cases, vendors, banks, and business creditors might require a business to have a FEIN to do business, even if the business does not have employees. A business owner can apply for the FEIN herself, or we can obtain the FEIN for the business.
Does my business have to file an annual report?
If a business is a nonprofit, it must file an annual report. All other business entity types registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State must file biennial reports.