Business Rumors, Debunked: “You Could Lose Your Business Name Due to This Law Change”

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Late last year, there were some minor changes in the laws surrounding assumed business names (these are also called “DBA” or “Doing Business As”) forms. For the most part, not a lot changes, but you (or your smart lawyer friend) can read the full Article 14A here. What does change however, is that anyone who filed for an assumed business license prior to December 1st 2017 will have to refile before December 1st 2022.

In the event that your smart lawyer friend is “busy” until 2022, we went directly to the source asking our friends at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds office for the dirty details. Here’s answers to the top questions:

CBR: From what we hear, if you filed your assumed business license before December 1st of 2017, you *have to* refile by December 1st of 2022, or you’ll lose your business name?

Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds (MCRD): Yes and no. Article 14A of N.C.G.S. Chapter 66 ,The Assumed Business Name Act, requires that, “Before any person engages in business in this State under an assumed business name, the person must file an Assumed Business Name Certificate”; and since with this new legislation, all Certificates of Assumed Names filed under the previous law (before December 1st, 2017) expire on December 1st, 2022, yes; any person who wishes to continue engaging in business under an assumed business name must file a new certificate.

However, as to “losing” your business name…since filing a Certificate of Assumed Name does not confer any exclusive rights to the use of an assumed name and there is no requirement in the law that the name be unique to be registered, that part is not exactly accurate.

CBR: What’s the difference between certificate of assumed business name, and the certificate of assumed name?

MCRD: The main differences between the former Certificate of Assumed Name and the newly designed Certificate of Assumed Business Name relate to the additional information now required to be provided when registering an assumed name.

According to the new law, corporations, LLC’s and limited partnerships are required to provide their SOSID (Secretary of State Identification Number) on the Assumed Business Name Certificate before filing. Also, note that anyone filing a certificate to amend or withdraw an Assumed Business Name Certificate filed after December 1st, 2017 is required to provide the unique SOSID that was assigned to the business. Another noticeable difference in the certificates is that there is no space for a notary seal on the new form, as notarization of a Certificate of Assumed Business Name is no longer required pursuant to the new law.

CBR: Is this something that all businesses need to fill out, or only those in “dba” situations?

MCRD: This law specifically pertains to those doing business under a name other than their ‘real’, ‘registered’ or ‘stated’ name, respectively. (See N.C.G.S. 66-71.3 for the definition of an assumed name specific to the nature of the business entity) .

CBR: In layman’s terms, what exactly was the law change? Does it affect any other business registration processes?

MCRD: Essentially, the law establishes a statewide online searchable database of Assumed Business Names maintained by the Secretary of State. It requires those doing business in North Carolina under an assumed name to register (or re-register) their assumed business name pursuant to the provisions of the newly promulgated Assumed Business Name Act. It also permits a single filing in one county to be effective in multiple counties or statewide; and allows up to 5 assumed business names to be designated on the initial certificate.  This act does not implicate any other business registration processes.

CBR: What should businesses do if it’s December 2nd of 2022, and they haven’t refiled?

MCRD: If businesses have not filed by December 1st 2022, then on December 2nd, they should come down to the Register of Deeds office and file their Certificate of Assumed Business Name (preferably before they do any business that day!).

Pretty important stuff. We’re very thankful to the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds for giving us the breakdown of what this law change *actually means*.

If you’re a business who needs to refile your Certificate of Assumed Business Name, the process is quick and easy. Simply download the forms, and file with your county register of deeds. Here’s everything you need:

Are there any other regulations or changes in process you’d like broken down? Tweet us your suggestions @CBRbiz!