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A guide to the Washington business entity search

When you think of forming a new business, one of the first details to consider is naming your company. You will need to conduct a Washington business entity search prior to registering or reserving the name with the Secretary of State or the responsible state agency in the significant jurisdiction. The process of a business entity name search in Washington may seem complex to a first-time business owner. For that reason, we have created this guide to help you understand the importance and the methods of conducting such a search.

Washington Business Entity Search

Washington is home to over 600 thousand small businesses and several Fortune 500 & 1000 companies. Forming a new business in this state has its advantages including a wide variety of high-growth industries, deep talent pools, small business resources and grants, business incentive programs, and foreign trade zones. You can choose any type of business structure from a sole proprietorship to an LLC.

If you are considering forming a startup in Washington, then you need to start by thinking of a name for your company. As a part of the process, you will need to conduct a Washington business name search to guarantee that your chosen entity name is available in this state. This process is required by both domestic and foreign entities. You will need to access the Washington business name database available with the Corporations Division.

What is a Washington business entity search?

Every state has its own laws, rules, and regulations for choosing a business name and reserving it. This is also true when it comes to conducting a name or entity search. It is important to note that there is no centralized database or national registry of companies in the USA where you can view all companies registered in the nation. The entity database exists within each state separately. This means that if you want to conduct a Washington business entity search then you will have to refer to the state database.

The information used for conducting a Washington LLC search may be dissimilar to another state like Alabama or Wyoming. Let’s look at the following example to understand the concept and process.

Example: If you aspire to form an LLC or register a corporation then you need to select a name. You have chosen the name “SoftwareOne”. Now, if you conduct a Washington business name search then the database will show that this name has already been taken. In this case, you can change the name to “SoftwareOne Systems” and conduct the search again using the Washington business name database. Once you confirm that this name is available; you can reserve it.

Why is it important to do a business entity search in Washington?

If your company has the desire to create a strong first impression with investors and customers, then it is important to choose the right business name. The name of your company will be the first component that connects your brand to the industry as well as the business activity. You may think of a name and try to reserve it with the state, only to find that it has been rejected. A situation like this will only occur if you have forgotten to conduct a thorough Washington business name search. Let’s look at some of the reasons why conducting an entity search is important.

  • There is a particular process for the business entity name search in Washington. This search will ensure your chosen name is available for reservation or registration. There are times when the exact name may not be available as a Corp, or LLC. In such a scenario, you can make small changes and conduct the search till it is available thus making it easier to secure a name.
  • The importance of a Washington business entity search lies in the fact that you will not be able to register or incorporate your company without a business name. Hence, it is important to search, identify, and reserve it first.
  • The Washington business name database will allow you to search for names with words or abbreviations and also for a variety of entity structures from foreign entities to domestic partnerships.
  • The process of Washington business name search will also guarantee that your chosen name is in accordance with the naming guidelines as provided in the Revised Code of Washington.

How to do a business entity search in Washington?

Setting up a new business is never an easy task as it involves following several steps and laws that you must comply with. The first step is to secure your company name, this is mandatory for every type of structure. The Washington business name search will help you to reserve your company name, which will be required for other processes like filing annual reports, applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), processing small business grants, and opening a business bank account. Therefore, it is important to conduct a Washington LLC search or corporate name search properly.

Follow Washington LLC and Corporation naming guidelines

Business names along with reservation or registration are governed by the 2020 Revised Code of Washington. There are separate naming guidelines for different entity structures like the name of a Washington LLC should contain the words “limited liability Company”, “limited company” or abbreviations like L.L.C or LLC. It is important to follow these guidelines as they will also aid in your Washington business entity search.

Visit The Washington Secretary of State Business Search

Ideally, you should begin the process of a Washington business name search on the website of the Secretary of State. You will have access to an exhaustive business name database of all the companies that have been registered or incorporated in this state. You will find information concerning their status (active or inactive) and even the UBI number. Searching through the Washington business name database makes it easier for you to find out if your desired business name is available or not. The database contains the business information of domestic and foreign entities.

Know the search options

The naming guidelines vary depending on the type of entity. The name of a limited liability company will have an LLC in the end, while a corporation will have Inc. There are primarily three different ways you can conduct a company name search. It is important to conduct your Washington business entity search with following naming guidelines:

  • Search by business name – The first option for business entity name search in Washington is to search the name you have chosen. This option is the simplest and you have the opportunity to search for any name. Let’s look at an example to understand this method.

    For Example: If you have the desire to start an advertising agency in Washington and you come up with the name – “Acacia Advertising”. There are 3 parameters available to conduct your search with and they include:

    • Name contains
    • Begins with
    • Exact match

    If you select “name contains” and search the Washington business name database for “Acacia Advertising”, it brings up the name “Acacia Advertising Inc”, and the status of the company is ‘Active’; this means that the name is unavailable. Now, if you simply add an extra letter and search as Acacia Advertising then it shows the name is available.

  • Search by UBI (Unified Business Identifier) – The second option for a Washington business name search is to use a UBI number. This is a nine-digit number that is also known as a business registration number, tax registration number, or a business license number. This number is obtained once you submit a Business License Application. The UBI search is normally used to check the status of any entity and can also help with a Washington LLC search. Let’s look at an example to understand this process.

    For example: You have two UBI numbers: 602 050 382 and 604 850 751. When you search the Washington business name database using 602050382, it brings up the name of a profit corporation called A & D COMPUTERS INC. The status of this company is administratively dissolved. This means that you could use this business name. Now, if you search using the second number 604850751, and it brings up an active company called 3VALVES COMPUTER SERVICES, LLC; you will not be able to use the same name as this company.

    • Advanced Search Steps – The Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System provides a third option known as the advanced business search. This is a highly detailed option for a Washington business entity search. This search option is useful if you are searching for a specific business that is already registered with the state. Some of the parameters used in this search include:
      • Search Type: “name contains”, “begins with” or “exact match”
      • Business Type: foreign corporation, Profit Corporation, or Limited Liability Company
      • Expiration Date
      • Business Status: active, consolidated, delinquent, etc.
      • Date of: Incorporation/Formation/Registration
      • Registered Agent/Governor Search

Submit and view entity details (Active/Inactive)

Once you submit your chosen name in the Corporations and Charities Filing System, it will bring up a host of information. The Washington business name database will reveal information related to domestic and foreign companies, as well as active and inactive businesses. The entity details available include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Type
  • UBI Number
  • Business Status
  • Principal Office Street Address
  • Principal Office Mailing Address
  • State of Formation
  • Expiration Date
  • Formation/ Registration Date
  • Inactive Date
  • Nature of Business
  • Jurisdiction
  • Period of Duration
  • Registered Agent Name
  • Physical & Mailing Addresses of RA

Looking to Conduct a Washington Business Entity Search?

The Washington business name search is an important step toward a new business formation. Without it, you will not be able to reserve or register your name. As a result, incorporation or a new business formation will not be possible. If conducting a business entity name search in Washington looks complex, then IncParadise can provide meaningful assistance.

We are one of the leading company formation and registered agent service providers in Washington. Our bouquet of services includes helping you to conduct a Washington business entity search and can provide you with the detailed results. If you are planning to register a company in Washington then we can help you with the process of forming a new business. We also offer a host of additional services that will help you comply with annual state requirements.

Do you want to start a new business in Washington?