Utah 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 Utah business names
Before a prospective business owner registers a business in Utah, the business owner must ensure that no other business is using the entity name. The Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code does not allow exact matches. It also doesn’t allow similar names.
To search for a business name in Utah a business owner has one search type — the entity name.
- Step 1: Navigate to the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code’s search tool to start entering search criteria.
- Step 2: Select the tab labeled “Business Name.”
- Step 3: Enter the business entity name in the box labeled “Business Name.”
- Step 4: Click the ‘Search’ button.
- Step 5: Review the search results for exact matches and similar names. If a business owner finds an exact match or a similar name, she must use a different business name.
How to register a business name in Utah
To register a business entity in Utah, a business owner must create an account with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. Creating an account also allows the business owner to access the Utah State Tax Commission, Utah Department of Commerce, and Utah Department of Workforce Services.
In some cases, cities require business licenses. Business owners can obtain city business licenses through the OneStop Business Registration System.
If a business owner is unsure which entity type is best for her business, she should contact a business law attorney before registering the business. Each entity type has its own tax consequences. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes profits for corporations at the corporate level, then again at the personal level. Whereas profits for a limited liability company are only taxed once – at the personal level.
Most entities, including limited liability companies, offer protection of personal assets from corporate creditors and lawsuits. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not offer this protection.
Utah trademark/DBA name search
Some business owners want to protect their logo, a trademark, or a service mark in addition to the business name. Business owners can register intellectual property in Utah. However, intellectual property registered in Utah is only protected in Utah.
If a business owner wishes to protect intellectual property at the national level, she should register it with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
To search for trademarks in Utah:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce Code’s trademark search tool.
- Step 2: Enter the descriptive keywords for the intellectual property in the box labeled ‘Keyword.’
- Step 3: Leave the dropdown box for ‘Status’ empty.
- Step 4: Leave the ‘Registered by’ and ‘License Number’ boxes empty.
- Step 5: Click the ‘Search’ button.
- Step 6: Review the search results to ensure there are no existing exact matches or intellectual property that is too similar. The Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce Code will not accept trademarks and other intellectual property that is too similar, or that is an exact match.
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.
Having an internet presence often brings more people to a business, even if the business does not sell goods and services on the website. To search name availability on the internet, navigate to any domain registry. Enter the business name in the search bar. Review the results.
If a dot-com name is available, we recommend registering the dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org names so that another business cannot use the same name with a different extension. Domain registries also have several other extensions. A business owner might also register extensions such as dot-us and dot-store. Use the extra pages to create landing pages that point people to the main dot-com site.
If a domain name is not available
If a dot-com name is unavailable but is available with another extension, we do not recommend using the same name with a different extension. It is too easy for customers to end up on a competitor’s website.
Check if the social media name is available
Social media platforms offer another way for cheap or free advertising for the business. To search for an available business name on social media platforms, enter the name in the search box.
If the search does not display another business’s site, we recommend registering the business account as soon as possible. Social media platforms are worldwide, so anyone can use the business name you chose.
Naming considerations for Utah business entities
Utah has several naming conventions for business entities. Utah has a convenient page to check most of the naming conventions, but we recommend checking the statute before creating a business name. The statutes are listed on the webpage, so a business owner doesn’t have to look them up.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
Business owners who choose to do business as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership do not have to register with the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code as long as they use their surname in the business name.
Business owners who choose this route can also register a ‘doing business as’ name (DBA name or trade name) if they prefer that, instead of using their surnames. Registering a DBA does not give the business owner any protection, and the business owner does not have to append the entity type to a trade name since it is not a “real” entity.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
Business owners who choose to incorporate as a limited liability company must append one of the following to the end of the business name:
- Limited company.
- Limited liability company.
Additionally, if the limited liability company is a professional LLC, the business owner must append one of the following to the business name:
- Professional limited liability company.
Utah also allows low-profit limited liability companies. Those who elect this entity type must append one of the following to the end of the business name:
- Low-profit limited liability company.
Limited liability partnerships
Business owners who choose to incorporate as a limited liability partnership must append “limited liability partnership” or “L.L.P.” to the end of the business name.
Business owners who choose to incorporate as a limited liability partnership must append one of the following at the end of the business name:
- Limited partnership.
A business owner who chooses to incorporate as a corporation must append one of the following to the business name:
A nonprofit corporation must append one of the following to its business name:
A business owner that chooses to incorporate as a professional corporation, he must append “professional corporation” or “P.C.” at the end of the business name.
Business trust and business development corporation
Business trusts must add “business trust” at the end of the business name. Additionally, a business development corporation must add “business development corporation” at the end of the business name.
Does my business need a registered agent?
If a business is registered with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, it must have a registered agent. The registered agent ensures the company remains in compliance with state regulations and laws and affords privacy to the business. The registered agent accepts service of process and other legal documents, keeping legal affairs away from customers and employees.
Does my business need a Federal Employer Identification Number?
Yes, any business with employees must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). In some cases, banks, creditors, and vendors might require a business with no employees to obtain a FEIN. Business owners can apply for a FEIN, or we can obtain the FEIN for the business owner.
Does my business have to file an annual report?
Yes, if the business is registered with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, it must file an annual report. Utah refers to annual reports as “business renewal.” If a business does not file an annual report, it risks administrative dissolution.
How do I know if a vendor or creditor filed a lien against my business or specific business property?
Business owners can log in to Utah’s Division of Corporations and Commercial Code website to search for UCC filings against the business or against the business owner.
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