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Things You Need to Know About the New Assumed Business Name Law

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Effective on December 1, 2017, a new North Carolina law created a public, state-wide database of assumed business names, which will simplify filing assumed business name certificates. An assumed business name is not the legal name of a business; rather, it is the name a business presents to the public.

What's an assumed business name?

An assumed name is also called a fictious name or a “doing business as” name. For example, a business incorporated as “Jameson Moving, Inc.” might have a d/b/a of “Jameson & Daughters Moving.”

Under the new law, you no longer have to file an assumed business name certificate with the register of deeds of every county in which you do business. Instead, you can simply file a certificate of assumed name (on a revised form prescribed by the new law) with a single register of deeds in any county in which you do business. On that form, you can specify all of the other counties in which you do business and avoid having to file in each county.

How do I register an assumed name for my business in North Carolina?

In particular, to register an assumed name under the new system, you must:

  1. Fill out, sign and date the Assumed Business Name Certificate, indicating:
    1. The assumed name you wish to use
    2. The legal name of the company that will be linked to the assumed name
    3. The nature or type of business that the company undertakes
    4. The address of the principal place of business and mailing address
    5. Specify which counties in which the assumed business name should apply
  2. File the completed Assume Business Name Certificate with your local register of deeds and pay any applicable fees charged by that register of deeds.  You can find the address and contact information for your local register of deeds here.

If you no longer wish to use an assumed name or wish to make changes to the assumed name, you can simply file an Amendment of Assumed Business Name Certificate or Withdrawal of Assumed Name Certificate as applicable. 

The revised forms are available for download at the Business Link North Carolina, or upon request from the appropriate register of deeds.

Does an assumed business name expire in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, if you filed a certificate of assumed name under the old system (prior to December 1, 2017), then your certificate will expire on December 1, 2022 when the old system shuts down. In order to continue using your assumed business name, you will need to file a certificate of assumed business name on the revised form as set forth above. If you want your d/b/a to be searchable in the statewide database, you should consider filing the revised form in the near term rather than waiting until the deadline.

For details about the new filing requirements for assumed business names, please see Article 14A of Chapter 66 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Also, feel free to email me or connect with me on LinkedIn with your questions. 

The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.

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