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How To Do A Montana Business Name Search

How To Do A Montana Business Name Search

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How To Do A Montana Business Name Search

The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Montana is to verify the business name is available to use because each of these business entities must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly do a Montana business name search through the Montana Secretary of State entity database.

Related: Guide to Starting a Business in Montana

Step 1: Visit the Montana Entity Name Database

Visit the Montana Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name or Number.  In this example, we will do a Montana LLC name search by looking up “Lawn & Order.” After entering a company name, click “Search.” It is recommended to search both by “Starts With” and “Contains” in the drop-down menu to be sure to search your name thoroughly.

How to do a Montana Business Name Search

Step 3: Review the Results

When we search the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order. ” To register a corporation or LLC name in Montana, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.

Montana Business Entity Search Results

To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Entity Name” column to see a detailed report.  In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order LLC.”

To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Entity Name” column to see a detailed report.  In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order LLC.”

While the name “Lawn & Order” may not be available, other variants, such as “Montana Lawn & Order,” are. Searching for this name brings a result that says, “No results were found for Montana Lawn & Order.” While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

Montana No Results Found

 These are the basics of searching for a business name in Montana.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names. 

What information can be found on the Montana business entity database?

Through a Montana business entity search, you can find several pieces of information about the businesses in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Entity Name
  • Filing Number: This is a number assigned by the Montana Secretary of State when the business entity is first registered.
  • Entity Status: Active Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Inactive Voluntary Dissolution, Inactive Revocation,” “Cancelled,” among others. The names of these results may be available to register.
  • Entity Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership, etc.
  • Formation Date: The date the entity first became active
  • Registered Agent Information:Montana registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal, or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a registered agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publicly listed.  

Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Montana Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of a Montana sole proprietorship?

A Montana sole proprietorship or partnership can use the business owner(s) full first and last name as the business name, but many will want to operate under a specific business name. In order to register the business name, they will register for a Montana Assumed Name, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, or Fictitious Business Name.

Similar to corporations or LLCs, Assumed Business Name registrations need to be unique and are registered through the Secretary of State’s office.

How do I form an LLC in Montana?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, read our step-by-step guide on how to form a Montana LLC.

While not required in Montana, an LLC operating agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for any Montana business licenses and possibly obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.

What are the naming guidelines for a Montana LLC?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Montana?

If there is a name that you want, but you aren’t ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Name can be filed with the Montana Secretary of State to hold the name for up to 120 days.

How To Do A Montana Business Name Search

How To Do A Montana Business Name Search

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