Idaho Business Name Search (LLC lookup) - 2024 Guide

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LLC names
A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Idaho business name rules.

This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.

Idaho LLC name

If you file your Idaho LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Idaho business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Idaho name rules – your filing may be rejected.

The first step to checking if your LLC name passes is to make sure your name is not already taken by another business.

You can do this using the Business Entity Search. And you need to do this because two business entities in the state can’t have the same name or be too similar.

The second step is to make sure your LLC name follows the Idaho Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.

How do I search the Idaho business entity name database?

You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Idaho.

Note: This tool is sometimes called the Idaho Business Name Search or the Idaho Business Entity Search. They both refer to the same website and get you the same search records.

Visit the Idaho Business Entity Search page:

Idaho Secretary of State: Business Search

  1. Enter your desired LLC name in the search bar.
  2. Click on the Advanced Search Options tab. Change the setting to “Contains“.
  3. Then click Search.

 

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Idaho Business Entity Search

Why use “Contains”? If you select “Starts With” you might miss a similar name which adds a filler word. For example, if you searched “Gutter Guy” using the “Starts With” setting, you’d miss the existing business called The Gutter Guy Inc. You can’t name your company “Gutter Guy LLC” if The Gutter Guy Inc. already exists.

Search tips:

  • Leave out “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “Limited Liability Company”, etc., when doing your searches.
  • Leave out any commas, periods, apostrophes, etc.
  • You can search using uppercase or lowercase letters.


How to interpret the Idaho LLC search results

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

  • Let’s keep using the example above. If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the only similar names you saw were “Riverwalk Rentals” and “Riverwalk Studio Starters”, then your name should be available.
Screenshot of sample results from the Idaho Business Entity Search
Example of Idaho Business Entity Search results

If no results show up, that means your LLC name is unique and it should be available for use. To be safe, run your search again using only part of your LLC name (to double-check that there are no similar names).

  • For example, search just the word “Riverwalk” instead of Riverwalk Studios.

If your exact LLC name appears in the list of search records, your LLC name is not available for use because another Idaho business entity is already using it.

If the results show a name that is very similar to yours, your LLC name may not be available for use.

  • If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the search results show a “Riverwalk Studio”, then your name is not available.

What if my desired LLC name isn’t available?

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different name for your LLC.

Tip: Wait until your LLC is approved before you apply for your LLC EIN Number or purchase any other marketing materials. This way you don’t spend money on business supplies you can’t use because your business name isn’t available.

Idaho Secretary of State Contact Information

You can call the Idaho Secretary of State to ask questions about whether your LLC name is available.

Representatives at the Idaho Secretary of State can help you use the Idaho Business Name Search. They can’t guarantee that your LLC name will be available when you file, however.

The Business Services Division phone number is 208-334-2301. Their hours are 8am to 5pm Mountain Time, Monday through Friday.

Idaho Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

As per Idaho Code Section 30-21-301 and Section 30-21-302, there are a few rules and requirements for naming an Idaho business entity that you need to know.

Do I have to use a comma in my LLC name?

No, you don’t have to. You can file your LLC name with or without a comma. Both versions are accepted by the Secretary of State.

For example: If your desired business name is Grandpa’s Garden, you can file it as:

  • Grandpa’s Garden LLC
  • Grandpa’s Garden, LLC

Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in Idaho.

What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?

Your Idaho LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:

  • L.C.
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Company
  • Limited Liability Company

The following designators are not allowed

Your Idaho LLC can’t make itself sound like an Idaho Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.

The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:

  • Inc.
  • Corp.
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation

What words are not allowed in my Idaho LLC name?

Your Idaho LLC name can’t contain words and abbreviations that are restricted by law.

For example, you can’t make your LLC name sound like it’s a bank, part of the government or a government agency, or anything else that misleads the public.

You also can’t use words that are reserved for licensed professionals. These vary by state, but some common examples are accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, and engineers.

English language or English alphabet

Idaho has a rule that business names must contain only English letters, Arabic numerals (like 1, 20 and 100) or special characters available on standard English keyboards.

So if your desired LLC name is in another language, it must be either:

  • translated into English
  • or written in letters of the English alphabet.

For example: If your desired Idaho business name is प्राण योग Studio LLC, you must file it as Prana Yoga Studio LLC.

You can use non-English words (like Prana and Yoga), but they must be written in the English alphabet.

Your Idaho business name must be distinguishable (unique)

When you use the Idaho Secretary of State Business Entity Search, you will compare your desired LLC name to existing businesses in the state.

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different business name.

Below are rules and examples of LLC names that are not distinguishable. These rules come from Idaho Administrative Rule 34.04.02.

Designators

Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Monarch Bakery LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Idaho Business Name Search results:

  • Monarch Bakery, Inc.
  • Monarch Bakery, Corp.
  • Monarch Bakery, Ltd. Liability Co.

Filler Words

Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, and, of) won’t create distinguishability.

In Idaho, the following types of words are considered “filler words” that won’t create distinguishability:

  • article
  • a, an, the
  • preposition
  • of, by, at, in, on, off
  • conjunction
  • and, or, for
  • pronoun
  • my, our, I, we, he, she, it, you, your

If your desired LLC name is Bluebird Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • The Bluebird Farms LLC
  • By Bluebird Farms Inc.
  • Bluebird and Farms L.L.C.
  • My Bluebird Farms Corp
  • On Bluebird Farms Ltd. Co.

Plural or Singular Words and Possessive Words

Adding a letter “s” to make a word plural or possessive doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Paula’s Dances LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Paulas Dances LLC
  • Paula’s Dance Inc.
  • Paulas Dance, L.L.C.

Numerals or Spelled Out Numbers

Using numerals (like 5 or 101) instead of spelling out the number (like “five” or “one hundred and one”) doesn’t create distinguishability. And using Roman numerals (like “II” instead of 2, or “ MMXII” instead of 2012) doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is 25 Kicks LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Twenty-Five Kicks LLC
  • Twenty 5 Kicks Inc.
  • XXV Kicks Corp.

Capitalization

Differences in capitalization don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Drum and Bass LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • drum and bass Inc.
  • DRUM AND BASS LTD. CO
  • dRuM aNd BaSs LLC

Said another way, you’re allowed to use any capitalization you want. It just doesn’t make your name distinguishable from an existing company with the same name.

Punctuation, Special Characters, and Spaces

Adding punctuation and special characters won’t create distinguishability. And adding or removing spaces won’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Sam Nail Salon LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • SamNailSalon LC
  • $am$ Nail Salon L.L.C.
  • Sam-Nail-Salon Inc.
  • “Sam” Nail Salon LLC

Abbreviation vs Complete Name or Word

Using an abbreviation instead of a complete word (or vice versa) doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is New York Pizza Bros. LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • NY Pizza Bros, L.C.
  • NY Pizza Brothers, Ltd. Liability Co.
  • New York Pizza Brothers Inc.

Business Search Tips for Abbreviations

If you want to use an abbreviation, or a word that has a commonly-used abbreviation, make sure you search for the abbreviation and the complete word when you use the Business Entity Search to check availability.

For example: If you wanted to use the word “February” in your business name, make sure you also search for the business name using “Feb” instead. Or if you wanted to use the abbreviation “ID” for Idaho, make sure you also search for “Idaho”.

How to create distinguishability in Idaho

In Idaho, there are several ways to make your business name distinguishable from other businesses.

If your name is similar to another business’s name, you can try these methods:

  • Use the words in a different order.
    • For example: “Candy Stripes” is distinguishable from “Stripes Candy“.
  • Add another word.
    • For example: “Decor Features” is distinguishable from “Decor Stone Features“.

Internet Prefixes & Suffixes

There’s also a rule in Idaho that adding Internet prefixes & suffixes make business names distinguishable.

An internet prefix means “www.” and an internet suffix is any website ending, like “.com” or “.edu”.

For example: “Paddleboat LLC” is distinguishable from “www.Paddleboat.com LLC” and from “Paddleboat.org LLC“.

What if my Idaho business name is rejected?

If you file your Idaho Certificate of Organization (the document that creates your Idaho LLC) and the business name is not available, don’t panic. The state will notify you and tell you why your filing was rejected.

You will just need to file again with a variation of your LLC name or a different LLC name.

Idaho Business Name FAQs

Do I need a name reservation in Idaho?

No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Idaho. It’s an unnecessary step and a waste of money.

You can just file your LLC’s Certificate of Organization with your desired LLC name.

Note: Name Reservations in Idaho are only good for 4 months (120 days). It’s easier to save the $20 and just file your Certificate of Organization.

Does Idaho require LLC in the name?

Yes. Your Idaho LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:

  • LLC
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
Does my Idaho LLC need a DBA?

No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Idaho.

A DBA (known as an Assumed Business Name in Idaho) lets your LLC conduct business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name on your Certificate of Organization).

If you want your LLC to do business under a name that’s different from its true and legal name, you have to file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name online and pay an additional fee of $25 to the Secretary of State. Check out the Secretary of State Assumed Business Name FAQ for more information on this process.

If you are going to file an Assumed Business Name for your Idaho LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.

There is no limit to the number of Assumed Business Names an LLC can have.

For more information, please see Does my LLC need a DBA?

When would my LLC use a DBA?

Let’s say you form an LLC called Huckleberry Hiking Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Huckleberry Hikes. In this case, your LLC would need to file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name to use the name Huckleberry Hikes.

If you don’t file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Huckleberry Hiking Tours LLC.

Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Huckleberry Hiking Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name for Huckleberry Hiking Tours.

How do I get a business domain name?

Once you’ve found a business name that you like, it’s a good idea to check if your domain name is available before forming your LLC.

You can search for available domain names with GoDaddy:

What does “distinguishability” mean?

Each business entity name must be “distinguishable upon the records” of the Secretary of State.

This means that no two businesses can operate with the same exact name. Said another way, if a business already exists with your desired LLC name, you can’t register your LLC with that name.

For example, let’s say you want to form an LLC called Syringa Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Syringa Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Idaho Corporation, it is not distinguishable. You can’t use it and must choose another name.

How do I come up with a business name?

Business names are important for branding and recognition. The name of your Idaho LLC can be your company’s brand name, but it doesn’t have to be (please see the FAQ about DBAs above). Either way, picking a good LLC name is an important decision.

Here are some quick tips for coming up with business names:

  1. First, write down the features of your company and things that you want to be associated with.
  2. Then list out as many business names as you can think of. Don’t edit or analyze them. Just get as many names on the page as you can.
  3. Now go back and read through them. Write down any variations that come to mind.
  4. Next, set the list aside. Do something else, like go for a walk or get groceries, or sleep on it for the night. Then come back and review the list of names. As you go through it, write down additional ideas and variations.
  5. Read the whole list out loud. If you want, get input from friends, business partners, and family.
  6. Repeat the process: sleep on the ideas, write down new variations, read them out loud again.
  7. The best business name will often “rise off the page” and present itself. If it doesn’t, you can try this trick: Close your eyes and count to 10. When you get to 10, you must choose a name. When you open your eyes, force yourself to make a decision. Sometimes we know the best name deep in our subconscious, and this trick can help it come out. Trust yourself and go with what feels best.

For more tips, please see How to Choose an LLC Name.

Can I use the name of another Idaho entity?

No. You can’t use the same name as another Idaho business.

And it doesn’t matter what entity type it is – your LLC can’t have the same entity name as another corporation, LLC, or any other entity type.

You can’t use another business’s name even if the entity is in “delinquent” status on the Idaho Secretary of State website.

But if a business is dissolved, they no longer have rights to that name. This means you can form an LLC with the same name.

How do I change my LLC name?

You can change your LLC’s name later by filing an Amendment form with the Secretary of State.

We have step-by-step instructions on how to change an LLC name in Idaho.

How to start an LLC in Idaho?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Idaho:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your Idaho Registered Agent
  3. File the Idaho LLC Certificate of Organization
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Open an LLC bank account
  7. Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Idaho

References

Idaho Code: Section 30-21-301 (permitted business names)
Idaho Code: Section 30-21-302 (business entity designators)
Idaho Business Entity Search Tips
Idaho Administrative Rules: Rule 34.04.02 (rules for business entity names)

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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2 comments on “Idaho Name Search”

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.

  1. What if we find one that is similar, but it was dissolved a good amount of time ago?

    • Hi Daniel, those names usually become publicly available after some time. I don’t know the timeframe off the top of my head, so you’ll need to call the Secretary of State to check. However, we don’t usually recommend this as there is always potential of issues from old owner of name.

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