Do you have the perfect name idea for a new business entity in the state of Washington DC, but you’re not quite ready to form your company?
Washington DC allows you to reserve a business name until you’re prepared for the business formation process, but how does the reservation process work and how long will the state reserve the name for you? In this guide, we’ll run down all the important details of reserving a business name in Washington DC.
Rocket Tip: If you’d rather officially incorporate in Washington DC rather than file the extra paperwork to register a business name, there are many good incorporation services that can do it for you.
How to Reserve a Business Name in Washington DC
The first step is to determine if your desired business name is even available in Washington DC to begin with. The state has a convenient business name search tool available on the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website, which you can access here at any time. Please note that this search requires a login. Once you’ve determined the availability of your desired name, you can begin the process of reserving it with the state.
Unlike many Washington DC business filings, you cannot submit a name reservation request online ― this request must be made in writing. The simple one-page form you’ll need to fill out to reserve your name is called an Application for Name Reservation, which can be acquired from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. You’ll need to fill out this document with the following information: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090
Once you’re finished filling out this form, you’ll need to pay the filing fee. How much your fee costs will depend on your entity type. For example, registering a name for an LLC costs $200, but the reservation for a nonprofit corporation is just $40. You should consult the Corporate Fee Schedule for your fee. Make your checks payable to “DC Treasurer.” Then include your check along with your form and send it to the following address:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Corporations Division PO Box 92300 Washington, DC 20090
How Long Is My Business Name Reserved For?
Once you submit your Application for Name Reservation form, the District of Columbia will reserve your business name for a period of 60 days. If you’re still not ready to form your business entity at the end of that 60-day period, you may submit a renewal request for an additional 60 days. You can use the same form as the initial reservation. Please note that you’ll also need to pay another filing fee.
Just because you aren’t ready to form your Washington DC business entity doesn’t mean you can’t lock down your desired business name.
If the name you want is available today, there’s no reason to wait until you form your business to reserve it for your exclusive use. The required form is easily filled out with your basic information, and the filing fee is quite affordable, so you should reserve your name today.