Georgia Name Search

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Georgia LLC Name Search

How to form an LLC in Georgia
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Georgia.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Georgia LLC Costs:
Georgia state fee: $100
Annual registration fee: $50 per year

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Hire a reliable service to form your Georgia LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

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Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your state. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. In this video, we are going to teach you how to research and choose your desired LLC name. The purpose of this video is to help you: avoid infringing upon someone else’s name rights, to help you differentiate your business name from existing entities, and make sure your desired LLC name is available for use. In order to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use, you will need to search it against the existing organized entities on the State’s online database. We will first walk you through some requirements and restrictions and then later we will show you how to perform your search. Name requirements. Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC”. Using the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common. For example, Joe wants to start a company by the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services”. Since he is forming an LLC, he must file under the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services, LLC”. Again, using the abbreviation “LLC” (or the full word “Limited Liability Company”) is a requirement when forming an LLC. Name restrictions. Your LLC name cannot imply that it is a corporation. You are not allowed to use the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated”, or the abbreviations “Corp.” or “Inc.” anywhere in your LLC name. Let’s look at our example again. Since Joe wants to form an LLC, he cannot call his company “Joe’s Landscaping Services, Inc., LLC” or “Joe’s Landscaping Services Incorporated, LLC”. Your desired LLC name must also be “distinguishable”. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of existing organized entities that are found in the results during the search of the database. We will now illustrate several examples of distinguishability, and we will provide examples you may see while performing your search. Differences in designators, which are the identifiers at the end of a business name. do not create distinguishability. Examples of designators would be “Inc.” or “Corp.” (for Corporations) and “LLC” or “L.L.C” (for Limited Liability Companies). There are other designators as well, but these are the most commonly used. For example, your desired LLC name is “Smith Investments, LLC”, but during the search of the database let’s say you found the business under the name “Smith Investments, Inc.” In this example, your desired LLC name would not be available for use. You would have to think of an alternative name that is unique and different. An example would be “Smith Financial Group, LLC”. Grammatical differences. The following do not create distinguishability: differences and variables in singular, plural, possessive forms of a word. For example, your desired LLC name is “Apple Farm, LLC”. Let’s just say during the search you found the business under the name “Apple Farms, LLC”, or let’s say you also found a business under “Apple’s Farm, LLC” (with an apostrophe s). Both of these names, although slightly different, are too similar and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “Apple Orchard, LLC”. The following do not create distinguishability: differences in articles such as “A”, “An”, or “The”. For example, your desired LLC name is “Print Shop, LLC”. Let’s just say that during the search the database you found a business called the “The Print Shop, LLC”, or you found a business called “A Print Shop, LLC”. Again, although they seem different, these names are all the same in the eyes of the State, and therefore your desire LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative name would be “Printing Solutions, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of conjunctions such as “And”, “Or”, and the ampersand symbol. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Night & Day, LLC” with the ampersand symbol. But during your search, you find a “Night and Day, LLC”, or you found a “Night Day LLC”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and your desired LLC name is not distinguishable and therefore not available for use. An example of an alternative name will be “Moon and Sunshine, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of certain punctuation such as hyphens, slashes, periods, commas, etcetera. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC”, but during your search you found “Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Incorporated”, or you found a “Peter, Paul, and Mary Studios, Incorporated”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “PPM Productions, LLC”. Alphanumeric: differences in numerical, or written numbers does not create distinguishability. For example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Three Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with a number “three” spelled out), but during your search of the database you found a company called “3 Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with the number “3”). Again, these are deceptively similar; the State does not look at these as any different and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “A Few Good Teachers Consulting, LLC”. Deceptively similar names that are too similar to existing organized entities also do not create distinguishability. For example, your desired LLC name is “Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”, but during your search let’s say you find “Speed Delivery Services, LLC”, or you find a “Super Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”. Again, these names are too similar. Therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “At Your Door Quick, LLC”. Takeaways: as you can see, just filing the paperwork with your desired LLC name is not as straightforward as you may have originally thought. The most important takeaways from showing you all these examples are as follows: it’s important to make sure your name is truly unique and not too similar to the names of existing organized entities; if your desired LLC name is unavailable for use, either by its exact match already being used, or by it being too similar to an existing name, we recommend using some creativity and coming up with a variation of your original LLC name, so that the name is now unique and is “distinguishable”, and stands apart from other businesses. Some additional tips to think of when creating your LLC name are: Make your LLC name easy to spell. You want to make sure people can find you when they’re looking for you. Make your LLC name short. Shorter names are easier for people to remember. Make your LLC name have a positive connotation. Leave people with a good feeling when they hear about your business. You are now ready to search your desired LLC name against the State’s online database. We showed you a number of examples where the desired LLC names were not available for use, but don’t worry. In the next part of this video, we will provide plenty of examples of names that are available for use, so that you can best understand the database and the results that you see. Company Statuses in the Georgia Database. Companies in the Georgia database will show various statuses when doing your search which will help you determine your LLC’s name availability. There are multiple statuses in the database, including “Active/Compliance”, “Admin. Dissolved” (for “Administratively Dissolved”), “Automated Administrative Dissolution/Revocation”, “Diss./Cancel/Terminated”, (“Dissolved” is what “Diss.” stands for), “To Be Dissolved”, and “Withdrawn”. Let’s explain the most common statuses. Statuses of names that are available will be “Dissolved/Cancel/Terminated”, and “Withdrawn”. What that means is, is that if you do a search and your desired name is already in existence, but it has one of these statuses, you can still use that name. Statuses of names that are not available are “Active/Compliance”, Admin. Dissolved (for “Administrative Dissolved”, “Automated/Administrative Dissolution/Revocation”, and “To Be Dissolved”. Again, what this means, if you do a search for your name and it comes up already in existence and has one of these statuses, you’ll need to think of a variation for your name because it will not be available. Don’t worry, this will make more sense in a moment when we show you how to search the database. Remember, these are the most common statuses that you’ll see. For a full list of all the entity statuses that may show in your search results, please see below this video. Let’s search the online database now. To show you how this works, it may be easier to watch us perform the search the 1st time, then you can re-visit this part of the video when you do your own search. Let’s look at our 1st example. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Atlanta Antiques Show, LLC”. So let’s go over to the database and, we’re first going to search “Atlanta Antiques”. Here I am at Georgia’s database. Right here, we’re going to leave the default as they are which is the “Business Name Starts With”. Whether you type lowercase, or uppercase, it doesn’t matter, so let’s go ahead and do our 1st search. Now although our desired LLC name is “Atlanta Antiques Show”, I’m just going to do a search for “Atlanta Antiques” to see all the results because this is the best way to determine distinguishability. All right, now I’m going to hit the “Search” button, and let’s look at the results. You can see there are 4 results here. We have “Atlanta Antiques & Auction Company, LLC”, “Atlanta Antiques & Collectibles”, “Atlanta Antiques International”, and “Atlanta Antiques”. In this case, our desired LLC name is going to be available because there’s nothing that’s too close to it. Now, just to double-check, let’s go and search this a 2nd time. And now I’m going to search “Atlanta Antique Show” without the “s” on “Antiques”. This is to be sure that the name is definitely distinguishable and unique. All right, I’ve entered “Atlanta Antique Show”, and I’m going to click “Search”. And we have “No data found”. That means there’s nothing that starts with “Atlanta Antique Show”. In this example , our desired LLC name, “Atlanta Antique Show”, is unique and,distinguishable, and therefore it’s available. Let’s look at another example. Let’s say the desired LLC name is “Tech Tools, LLC”. Let’s go to the database and, let’s first search”Tech Tool” (singular). I’m going to enter “Tech Tool”, click “Search”, and look we have “Tech Tool Belt, LLC” and “Tech Tooling, LLC”. Cool, so far “Tech Tools” is distinguishable as it’s unique from these names here. Let’s go ahead and double-check that. We’re going to searchit 1 more way. We’re going to do “Tech Tools” (plural), click “Search”. “No data found”. Perfect. Again, in this case, our desired LLC name, “Tech Tools, LLC”, will be available for use because it’s distinguishable, and there’s,nothing like it that’s existing. Let’s look at 1 more example. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Joemax Enterprises, LLC”. Let’s head over to the database and let’s search “Joemax Enterprises”. “Joemax Enterprises, and I’m going to click the “Search” button. We have a result here: “Joemax Enterprises, LLC”. However, remember earlier we mentioned to check the, statuses. In this case, this is dissolved, which means that this name is available for use. Again, “Joemax Enterprises, LLC” is going to be available for use because the prior entity has been dissolved. Let’s look at some examples of unavailable names. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Peach Trader, LLC”. Let’s head over and search “Peach Trader”. I’m going to click “Back to Search”, “Peach Trader”, click the “Search” button. “Peach Trader, Inc.” with the status of “Active Compliance”. In this case, because there’s a “Peach Trader, Inc.”, our desired LLC name (“Peach Trader, LLC”) is not going to be available because it’s not distinguishable even though that we want to have an LLC and there’s already a Corporation, it doesn’t matter, the State will not approve it because there’s already an active and compliant Corporation. Let’s look at another example. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Cookies & Milk, LLC”. We’re going to the database, and we’re first going to do a search for “Cookies and Milk”using the ampersand symbol, and then we’ll do “Cookies and Milk with “And” written out. So let’s go Cookies and Milk with the ampersand symbol, hit “Search”. “No data found”. Okay, cool. So let’s go ahead and let’s do that search again, but let’s do “Cookies and Milk” and let’s hit “Search”. See, it’s good that we did the the symbol and the “And” spelled out. In this case, look: “Cookies and Milk, LLC” with a status of “Active”. So in this case, because there’s that existing LLC (Cookies and Milk), just because we want to use the ampersand symbol does not make it unique, and therefore this name is not available for use because there’s already an active and compliant LLC. Takeaways: you want to search your desired LLC name every way that you can think of to make sure it’s truly unique and distinguishable. The good news is that you can search as many names and variations as you’d like, and it’s not going to cost you anything. This is an important step in forming your LLC, so take the time to ensure your name is unique, and that it does not conflict with any existing businesses. If you have any questions about the database, you can call the State at the phone number found below this video. Once you find a name that is unique and distinguishable from existing businesses, you can then proceed to the next step. This now concludes the Name Research Lesson.

The first step to forming an LLC in Georgia is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it’s available for use.

Georgia LLC Name Requirements

Before searching your LLC name in Georgia, there are a few requirements you need to know:

1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.

2. Because an LLC is not a Corporation, your desired name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.”, “Inc.”).

3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Georgia.

Differences in designators (the identifiers at the end of a business name) and differences in grammar do not create distinguishability.

For example:
• LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
• singular, plural, and possessive
• A, An, The
• and, or, &
• hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
• three vs. 3

The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
– Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
– Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
– Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
– Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
– Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
– Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Georgia:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Searching the Georgia Name Database

1. Go to the Business Search page:
https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch

2. Enter your desired LLC name in the “Business Name” box. Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation. Capitalization doesn’t matter.

Tip: To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: if your desired LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “Johnny Apple”).

3. Leave the rest of the boxes blank.

4. Click the “Search” button and browse the list of existing Georgia businesses:

• If a “No data found” pop-up appears, that means your desired LLC name is available for use.

• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.

• If your desired LLC name appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

• If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

You’ll find many different statuses in the name database. See below to find out which of these statuses mean a name is available and which are not available. Generally speaking, it’s best to stay on the safe side and not use a name which is already in the database.

Tip: If you’re not 100% sure that your desired LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with Georgia anyway. If your name is not available, the state will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.

Statuses of Available Names:
• Abandoned
• Cancelled
• Disapproved Filing
• Diss./Cancel/Terminated
• Expired Name Reservation
• Inactive
• Inactive Limited Partnership
• Judicially Dissolved
• Manual Administrative Dissolution/Revocation
• Non Qualified
• Revoked
• Void
• Withdrawn
• Withdrawn/Merged

Statuses of Names That Are Not Available:
• Active Name Reservation
• Active/Compliance
• Active/Non-compliance
• Active/Owes Current Year A/R
• Admin. Dissolved
• Automated Administrative Dissolution/Revocation
• Consolidated
• Converted
• Do Not Use Disapproved
• Election to LLC/LP
• Flawed/Deficient
• Involuntary Dissolution
• Merged Name Reservation 90 Days
• Name Reservation Rejected
• Pending
• Redeemed
• See Notepad
• To Be Dissolved

Next Step

Once you find an LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Georgia Registered Agent.

Georgia Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Georgia Secretary of State (8am – 5:30pm) at 404-656-2817.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

4 Comments

  1. Jonathan Mobley February 5, 2018

    Hi Matt,

    I reserved a name and forgot the LLC behind the name. I got the approval email though. When I File Articles of Organization and Transmittal Forms do I need to add the LLC or without? Do not want to waste $100. THanks in advance

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 9, 2018

      Hi Jonathan, you pretty much reserved the “wrong” name. You should have “LLC” in the name reservation. However, if you ran a name search and there are no business names identical (or deceptively similar) to yours, then you can just form the LLC using your full intended name, including the “LLC” designator (and don’t worry about the name reservation). You can’t form an LLC without including its designator. Hope that helps.

      reply
  2. Kyle August 8, 2018

    Evening,

    I have a question in regards to the status of an already established LLC. In the status field it says active/non-compliance with the last annual registration in 2017. At what point does that LLC name become available or does it?

    Thanks.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 15, 2018

      Hi Kyle, that depends on how the LLC is dissolved. If it’s the owner who voluntarily dissolved the LLC, then the name becomes available immediately. However, if it is the Georgia Secretary of State who initiates the dissolution process (called administrative dissolution), then you’ll have to wait for five years from the date of dissolution before the name becomes available. However, it’s often risky using the name of a dissolved LLC since the owners can always later try to make a claim on the name. Hope this helps.

      reply

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