Updated November 10, 2020:

Do you know how to change your business name in North Carolina? Changing your business name requires certain guidelines, as outlined in the North Carolina secretary of state rules on naming your business.

What Are the Naming Guidelines in North Carolina?

The naming guidelines in North Carolina include:

  1. The name of your LLC must be distinct from that of other North Carolina business entities.
  2. The name of your North Carolina LLC must end with LLC, Limited Liability Company, or L.L.C.
  3. Your North Carolina LLC should not have a name that can be confused with that of another business operating in the state.
  4. To determine whether there is enough difference between names, you cannot claim the uniqueness of your business name using different typefaces, accents, punctuation, fonts, subscript/superscript characters, or words such as and, of, the, and others.

What Are the Prohibited Words?

You can't use the following words to differentiate your business name from another's company, corporation, incorporation, incorporated, corp., professional corporation, PC, Inc.., Co., limited, LP, L.P., Ltd, limited partnership, limited liability limited partnership, L.L.L.P, or LLLP.

For example, you are prohibited from claiming that White Fang Co., White Fang LLC, White Fang Inc., or White-Fang Incorporated are unique entities.

What Are the Restricted Words?

Some restricted words require extra documentation if you intend to add them to your business name. They include names linked to institutions, such as a bank, banking, banker, mutual, trust, co-op, or cooperative, as well as words associated with specific professional fields, such as architect, architecture, architectural, engineer, engineering, insurance, surveyor, survey, surveying, certified public accountant, and their abbreviations.

Which Department Rejects the Application of Your Corporate Name?

If you don't provide the required documentation proving you are legally qualified to offer the service associated with a word(s), the secretary of state could reject specific names included in your business name.

Does North Carolina Allow DBA?

You can operate a business in North Carolina under a different "doing business as" name. DBA is called an assumed name in North Carolina. More information about DBA is available on the secretary of state website.

Does Filing a Name Registration Guarantee You Will Be Granted the Name?

Filing a name registration doesn't necessarily mean you will be assigned the name. Before conducting any transaction with the name, it's advisable to wait until you are sure of your LLC's legal status. You also need to check whether your proposed business name is not infringing on another North Carolina business's trademark or service mark.

The simplest way to perform a trademark search is by going through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database. Otherwise, you can search the trademark registry of the North Carolina secretary of state to check if the name has already been registered.

How Do You Conduct a Search in the North Carolina Secretary of State Database?

You can search for the availability of your business name in the registry of the North Carolina secretary of state by searching for:

  • Entity name
  • Company officials
  • Officer/registered agent

What to Consider When Naming Your North Carolina Business

When choosing a business name, make sure the name:

  • Describes the operations of your North Carolina business
  • Is appealing to your target market
  • Makes finding your business easy
  • Is unique
  • Doesn't restrict your business to a specific type of product, service, or location

How Do You File a North Carolina Corporation Amendment?

If you wish to amend your articles of incorporation, download the Articles of Amendment, B-02, and Business Corporation forms from the North Carolina secretary of state website, fill them in, and send to the corporations' department in person, by mail, or online.

If you choose to file in person, you need to provide a Coversheet for Corporate Filings. You must include it, as it enables you to choose a shorter processing time and your preferred method of return.

Where Can You Find the North Carolina Corporate Amendment Forms?

You can get North Carolina corporate amendment forms on the North Carolina secretary of state website.

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