Your California business entity needs the perfect name, and we’re here to help. In this section we’ll guide you through searching the CA Secretary of State business register, tell you about the rules for naming your business, describe “Fictitious Business Names” and get you started with registering your LLC.
You should start naming your business by completing a “California business entity search” with the Secretary of State. They have a helpful tool on their website, which lets you search the register of CA LLCs and corporations to see if someone already has your desired business name.
If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available and you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name instead.
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet California Secretary of State naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got general naming rules below, as well as naming rules specific to LLC businesses formed in CA.
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in. You will need to pay attention to these rules, as they will influence the name you choose for your California LLC.
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of California. This is why you should check business name availability on the CA SOS website.
It’s not enough for your CA LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in California. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name of another business:
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their name. These words should normally come at the end of the name.
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
In addition to the general rules listed above, the California Secretary of State has some specific business naming rules for your LLC. You will need to follow these rules if you want to name your CA business appropriately.
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In California, doing business under a different name is known as a “Fictitious Name.” You might choose to use a different name from your CA formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called California Leisure and Travel Holding Company LLC, and you have a chain called Hollywood Bus Tours. You should file a Fictitious Name to let the California Secretary of State know. In California, you do that through filing a form with the county administration that your business is located in. You can also have Incfile do it on your behalf through our Assumed Business Name service.
Once you’ve searched for your California business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your CA LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
You might find the following answers useful.
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the California Secretary of State, which will tell you if there are any CA corporations or LLCs with that name.
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of California). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name.
Yes. The California Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
You might find these resources helpful.
You must be careful that your California LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
|State Fee||State Filing Time||Expedited Filing Time|
|$75||15 Business Days||5 Business Days|
This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.
Due Date: During six-month period ending on last day of anniversary month of incorporation or qualification.
Filing Fee: $20
Important:The initial Statement of Information filing is due within 90 days of the entity formation date.
Franchise Tax Fee: $800 (minimum)
$800 payment for the LLC Franchise Tax is due by 15th day of the 4th month after your LLC is filed. The month your LLC is filed counts as Month 1, regardless if you file on the 1st of the month, the last of the month, or any day of the month, really. This means that if you were to file your LLC on March 22nd, then you must pay the $800 fee no later than June 15th (in this example, March is Month 1, April is Month 2, May is Month 3, and June is Month 4). Then, every year after your first payment $800 LLC Franchise Tax will be due by April 15th. You pay the $800 LLC Franchise Tax using Form 3522 called the LLC Tax Voucher.
(We do not assist in the filing of the Franchise Tax Report)
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