December 1, 2022, was the deadline for complying with North Carolina’s revised laws regarding assumed business names, as the 2017 Assumed Business Name Act went fully into effect. The revised set of laws established a public, searchable online database for all assumed business names across the state. Additionally, businesses can designate multiple counties in which they conduct business, rather than filing individually with each county. Finally, the notarization requirement has been removed, simplifying the process of filing an assumed business name and completion of certificates.
WHAT IS AN ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME?
An assumed business name is often referred to as a “DBA” – a “doing business as” name. A DBA is any name a business uses other than its legal name registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State (“NCSoS”). The factors that determine whether a name qualifies as a DBA differ by type of entity. For corporations or limited liability companies, a DBA is any name other than the entity’s official registered name. For partnerships or sole proprietorships, a DBA is any name other than the name of the individual(s).
WHAT DOES A DBA LOOK LIKE?
DBAs can differ across entities and personal preferences. For example, an LLC might have a registered name of Hypothetical Holdings, LLC, but do business as Restaurant Café. Alternatively, Doe’s Cupcakes might be a DBA for a bakery owned by sole proprietor John Doe.
WHAT ARE THE NEW REQUIREMENTS?
For businesses that filed an Assumed Business Name Certificate on or after December 1, 2017, there are no new requirements. Businesses with Certificates filed before December 1, 2017, must now renew their DBA to keep it active, as all DBAs not included in the database have expired as of December 1, 2022. To renew or register a new DBA, businesses must file an Assumed Business Name Certificate, which includes the assumed business name, the real name of the business or person (corporations, LLCs, and limited partnerships must also provide their SOSID number), the nature and address of the business, and the NC counties in which the assumed business name will be used. The Certificate can be filed with your county’s register of deeds.
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