Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the TN Secretary of State, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need to perform a TN SOS business search, plus LLC naming rules, assumed names and registering your business.

 

General Rules for LLC Names

These rules typically apply to all LLCs, regardless of the state they're formed in.

1
Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique

The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Tennessee. This is why it's imperative to perform a Tennessee business search before you begin the filing process.

2
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name

It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Tennessee. Also, you cannot use the following factors to differentiate your business name from that of another business:

  • Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc
  • Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
  • The conjunction "And," or “&"
  • The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
  • Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
3
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words

All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the name.

4
Your LLC Business Name May Have Other General Restrictions

Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:

  • Are similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Tennessee Department of Revenue, Tennessee Police, Treasury, etc.)
  • Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
  • Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the International Olympic Committee
  • Imply a purpose illegal for your business to carry out

Specific Tennessee Rules for Business Names

In addition to the general rules listed above, Tennessee has some specific business naming rules. You'll need to follow these rules to name your business appropriately. Tennessee code, Title 48, Chapter 54 says a business name cannot contain language stating or implying the business:

1

transacts or has power to transact any business for which authorization is required under Tennessee law, unless the appropriate commission or officer has granted such authorization and certifies that fact in writing;

2

is organized as, affiliated with, or sponsored by any fraternal, veterans, service, religious, charitable or professional organization, unless that fact is certified in writing by the organization with which affiliation or sponsorship is claimed;

3

is an agency or instrumentality of, affiliated with or sponsored by the United States or the State of Tennessee or a subdivision or agency thereof, unless such fact is certified in writing by the appropriate official of the governmental entity;

4

is organized for a purpose other than that permitted by the applicable business statutes and the business’ charter, articles or certificate.

How to Come Up with a Great Business Name

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:

Not be used by another business in Tennessee

Appeal to your customers

Be memorable and stand out from other businesses

Represent your product or services

Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.

Tennessee Business Search

Once you have an idea of what business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to complete a Tennessee business entity search to make sure another business in the state doesn’t already have that name.

Incfile offers a simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The TN Secretary of State also has a tool that lets you search the registry of LLCs and corporations in the state to see whether someone already has your desired business name.

Find out whether your preferred business name is available in Tennessee with Incfile’s free tool

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Tennessee LLC name doesn’t infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name doesn’t do that is to complete a trademark search through Incfile. If no one else is using it, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.

Make sure your business is starting off on the right foot when it comes to intellectual property.

Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.

 

Tennessee DBA or Assumed Name

You might decide to do business under a name other than your legal LLC name. Some states call this a DBA (doing business as), fictitious name or trade name, while Tennessee calls it an assumed name. You may want to use a different name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your LLC might be called Tennessee Music Holding Company, LLC and you have a chain called Bluegrass Records. You'll need to file an Application for Registration of Assumed Name form to inform the TN Secretary of State. You can also have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA filing service.

Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.

Register and manage a DBA or assumed name with our easy-to-use service
 

Register Your Business Name with the TN Secretary of State

Once you’ve completed a Tennessee business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and determined whether you need an assumed name, you can register your LLC name in one of two ways:

1

If you don’t want to form your LLC right now, you can reserve the business name. You’ll need to complete an Application for Reservation of a Limited Liability Company Name form and file it with the TN Secretary of State to reserve your name for four months. You don’t need to do this if you're forming your business right away.

2

If you’re ready to start your LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the TN Secretary of State or have Incfile do it for you.

Incfile can handle all your formation paperwork with the State of Tennessee for you — and we’ll do it for free!

Form an LLC in Tennessee for $0 + State Fee ($50 per member; $300 minimum)

FAQs About Naming Your Tennessee LLC

How Do I Search for My Tennessee Business Name?

Just go to the free Business Name Search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can also perform a TN Secretary of State business search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether any corporations or LLCs in the state have that name.

Are There Any Rules for Naming My Tennessee LLC?

Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the State of Tennessee). Details are above.

Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Tennessee?

Yes. You can conduct business under an assumed name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My Tennessee LLC?

Yes. The TN Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above.

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