If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Idaho, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. This search checks all the registered business entities in the state to see if the business name you want to use is available. Like most other states, Idaho requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. So, before starting your business, it’s important to run a business entity search to verify if the name is available through the Idaho Secretary of State before registering your LLC or Corporation.
There is no fee to search.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Idaho
How to do an Idaho Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Go to the Idaho Secretary of State website.
Step 2: Search your Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Search ” field. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order” to see if it is available to register.
Step 3: Review Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order.” In order to register a business name with the Secretary of State, the name has to be unique from other corporation or LLC names. Assumed names do not have the same requirement.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the business name. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order LLC.”
Clicking on the link for “Lawn & Order LLC” brings a detailed report. In addition to the information below, you can also click on the “View History” button and see an image of the original Certificate of Organization.
To see an example, search for a name that isn’t being used, such as “Cowboy Cleaners.” This search brings no results. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Idaho. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
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:
- Filing Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Active-Existing means the business is in good standing with the Secretary of State, and all reports and filing fees are up to date
- Term of Duration – The business entity intends to operate indefinitely
- Principal Address – This can be either the physical address of the business or an address where business records are stored
- Registered Agent’s information – A 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 Agent, so their home address isn’t publically listed.
- Initial Filing Date – Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
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.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
How to Register an Assumed Business Name (Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)
Just like the corporation and LLC, a sole proprietorship or partnership operating their business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name will register for an Assumed Business Name, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name or Trade Name. Registration is done through the Secretary of State’s website.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Idaho?
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 not ready to form the LLC, the name can be reserved. A name can be reserved for up to four months by filing the Reservation of Legal Entity Name can be filed with the Secretary of State.
How do I form an Idaho LLC?
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 Idaho LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in Idaho, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is 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 Idaho business licenses and permits to ensure the business is legal to operate.