Tennessee Name Search

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Tennessee LLC Name Search

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

Detailed Lessons:

 

Tennessee LLC costs:
State LLC filing fee: $300 (one-time fee)
Annual report fee: $300 (every year)

Need help?
Hire a company to form your Tennessee LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)


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 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 to 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 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, and possessive forms of a word. For example, your desired LLC name is “Apple Farm, LLC”. Let’s just say during the search you found a 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 “Bob’s 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 of the database you found a business called “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 desired 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 would 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 the 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 a “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 your 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. Let’s head over to the State’s online database. The link below this video will take you there. Here we are on the State’s website. Again, the link below this video will take you here. Although in the 1st part of this video we showed you many examples of distinguishability, the Tennessee website does most of the work for you. We showed you all those examples and took the time to explain distinguishability so that you fully understood the rules. Now, Let’s take a look at how to search your desired LLC name. On this page, after “Search Name”, you’re going enter your desired LLC. You do not want to search with the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.”., and also capitalization doesn’t matter (you can search all lowercase, or uppercase, or any variation). Let’s look at a few examples. Let’s first take a look at an example name that is not distinguishable. For this example, I’m using a sample company called “Printers Press”. I’m going to place the name in the Search Box, and then I’m going to click “Search”. This name is not available; although it says “The name ‘Printers Press’ may be currently in use in the State of Tennessee”, it is definitely in use because you can see down here, we have an active Limited Liability Company called Printers Press, LLC”. In this example, this name would not be distinguishable Let’s look at 1 more example. This is for a company called “Flowers by Bob, LLC”. I’ve entered “Flowers by Bob”, and I’m going click “Search”. This 1 is also not distinguishable because there’s an existing corporation, and although we’re forming an LLC, this name will not be distinguishable because there’s an existing entity with the same name. Let’s take a look at an example of a name that is distinguishable. I’m going to now type this sample company into the Search Field. I’ve entered “Chocolate Cupcake Factory”, and I’m going to click “Search”. It says “No Matches Found”. What that means, is that this name is distinguishable and will be available to use. So when you see “No Matches Found”, that means the name’s available. If you have any questions about the database while going through your search, you can contact 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 Lesson. This now concludes the Name Research Lesson.

Name Availability Search

https://tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/NameAvailability.aspx

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

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

State Contact Information

Phone: 615-741-2286 (hours: M-F, 8:00am – 4:30pm Central Time)
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://sos.tn.gov/contacts

Next Step

After you’ve found an available LLC name, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Registered Agent.

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.

2 Comments

  1. RP Chowdary September 5, 2018

    Greetings,
    I am trying to setup LLC, but its purpose is to tie to self directed IRA so that I can do some real estate investing, the custodian company saying legal zoom sets them up wrong and at the end it costs more to fix the mess, so they are advising to start fresh with CPA, do you have procedure you can share on how to setup LLC where IRA is member.

    Thanks
    RP

    This is all i have
    Form an IRA LLC with the professional assistance of either a seasoned tax attorney or experienced IRA LLC facilitator who specializes in setting up IRA LLC regularly, and can ensure the entity is set up to meet your specific investment needs.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 5, 2018

      Hi RP, IRA/LLCs are on our list, but we don’t have an information published on them yet. We recommend working with an attorney or professional who specializes in IRA/LLCs. Thanks.

      reply

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