The first step in forming a business entity in Utah is to verify the business name is available to use. Every business will need to register its name with the Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code, and a search will be needed to verify it is unique. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the state’s Business Entity Database.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Utah
How to do a Utah Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Step 2: Search for a Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Guy” and click “Search”.
Step 3: Review the Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “The Pool Guy.” To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Utah, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered. If your name comes up in the search, be sure to look at the “Status” column. Active means someone is using the name while “Expired” means it may be able to register.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the “Detail” link to see more information. In this example, we will look up “Pool Guy LLC, The.”
While the name “The Pool Guy” is not be available, other variants are such as “The Pool Guy of Utah.” Searching for this business name brings a result that says that the business name appears to be available. Even if the name looks like it is available, the Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code will do their own search to avoid confusing potential customers with a business name that sounds like someone else’s. Typically words that sound alike but are spelled differently, and even abbreviations will make names show up as available but won’t be approved.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Utah. Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the Department of Commerce will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
Something to also 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.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Company Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Principal Address – This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Utah Registered Agent 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 Agents, so their home address isn’t listed.
- Status – Active means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Names of “Expired” results may be available to register.
- NAICS Code – The North American Industrial Classification System is a number that corresponds to the industry the business is in.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Utah?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If there is a name you want to use but aren’t ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Business Name can be filed to hold the name for up to 120 days. The state filing fee for a name reservation is $22.
How do I form an LLC in Utah?
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 a Utah LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Certificate of Organization.
While not required in Utah, an Operating Agreement, which contains 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 Utah business licenses and permits to ensure the business is legal to operate.