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Registering an LLC Name in Washington DC

Whether you’re searching for the right Washington DC business name or registering your LLC with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on a Washington DC business entity search, LLC naming rules, fictitious names and registering your business.

Washington DC Business Entity Search

You need to check whether there’s already another Washington DC LLC registered with your desired business name. That means searching the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) website using its business search tool. You can easily look up DC LLCs and corporations by name and other details. Using the tool is easy:

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.

Washington DC business name search tool

Rules for Naming Your Washington DC LLC

Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs naming rules.

Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique

The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in Washington DC. This is why you should check business name availability on the DC DCRA website.

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

It’s not enough for your DC LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Washington DC. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name of another business:

  • Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
  • Definite articles like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
  • The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
  • Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.

Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words

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.

Your LLC Business Name May Have Other General Restrictions

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

  • Are very similar to the name of a federal or DC agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue, Washington DC 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 Olympic organization
  • Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out

DBA/Trade Names in Washington DC

You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Washington DC, doing business under a different name is known as a “trade name.” You might choose to use a different name from your DC formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your LLC might be called Potomac Cleaning Services Holding Company LLC and you have a brand called Monument and Mall Restoration Services. You should file a trade name online to let the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs know. Incfile can do this on your behalf through our DBA/Trade Name service.

Incfile’s DBA/Trade Name service

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FAQs on Naming Your Washington DC LLC

You might find the following answers useful.

How Do I Search for My Washington DC LLC Business Name?

Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which will tell you if there are any DC corporations or LLCs with that name.

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

Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.

Useful Resources for Naming Your Washington DC LLC

You might find these resources helpful.

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Washington DC 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.

Incfile Trademark Search and Registration service

Find the Perfect Name for Your Washington DC LLC

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:

  • Appeal to your customers
  • Be memorable enough to stand out
  • Best represent your product or services
  • Not be used by another business

Incfile guide to choosing a business name

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Washington Dc?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$220 3 Weeks 4 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

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.

Annual Report

Frequency: Biennially

Due Date: April 1st

Note: Starts with year after incorporation or qualification; then each second year thereafter.

Filing Fee: $300

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