The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Arizona is to check and see whether the name is available to use. Each business entity that is registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC)has to have a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the Arizona Corporation Commissions Business Entity Database.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Arizona
How To Do An Arizona Corporation or LLC Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website
Step 2: Run the name search
Enter the business name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field.
In this example, we will look up “Sew What” and click “Name Availability Check”.
Step 3: Review results
When we search “Sew What” a message saying “The entity name is not available” comes up. If we want to look at registered business names with “Sew What”, click on the “Search” button.
Step 4: Look for matching names
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Sew What”. To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Entity Name” column. In this example, we will look up “Sew What LLC”.
Step 5: Check any detailed results
Clicking on the link for “Sew What LLC” brings an expanded result.
While “Sew What” isn’t available other variants are such as “Sew What Quilting” or “Sew What Seamstress”. Searching for those names brings a result that says “The Name is Available”
If the result shows the name is available, it is likely open for your to register, however, final approval is still made by the Arizona Corporation Commission when filing the LLC or corporation filing.
Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find information on:
- Business name
- Entity type
- Date of formation
- Status – Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date.
- Life period – Perpetual is the most common and means the entity intends to exist indefinitely.
- Statutory Agent’s information – Also called a Registered Agent in many states, this is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or Inc File so their home address isn’t listed.
- Principal information – Names of officers or members of the entity.
- Address for the entity.
How to Register a Trade Name for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
If you are registering a sole proprietorship or partnership, you may need to register for a DBA, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name if operating a business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name.
To search available DBA, search the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.
How to form an LLC in Arizona
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Arizona LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Arizona, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
Also, be sure to check for Arizona business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Arizona?
To register an LLC in Arizona there are a few requirements.
- The LLC name must contain the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviations “L.L.C.,” “L.C.,” “LLC” or “LC,” in uppercase or lowercase letters.
- The LLC name may not contain the words “association”, “corporation” or “incorporated” or words related to banking.
- The LLC name must be distinguishable from other entity names and trade names.
Related: Arizona LLC Name Requirements
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If you aren’t ready to file for the LLC, you can file a name reservation up to 120 days before filing the LLC. To do so, fill out the Application to Reserve Limited Liability Company Name with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The cost to reserve the name is $10.