How to Register a Business Name in Idaho

Updated: October 1, 2023
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Idaho business name registration can be completed in three ways. You can create a separate business entity by forming an LLC or Corporation, or you can register a DBA (formally known as an Assumed Business Name) if you’re operating as a sole proprietor or general partnership. You can also opt to file a federal trademark to protect your business name throughout the United States.

Registration of your Idaho business name needs to be done before you complete other registrations like:

  • Applying for tax permits using the Idaho Business Registration (IBR) process. This includes seller’s permits and obtaining an income tax withholding account
  • Registering with the Idaho Department of Labor to ensure coverage for Unemployment Insurance (UI).
  • Acquiring business licenses, including occupational licenses from state agencies and local licenses from your local city or county clerk’s office
  • Requesting a Tax ID (EIN) for your business from the IRS
  • Set up a business bank account

How much does it cost to Register a Business Name in Idaho?

The cost to register an Idaho business name varies depending on the type of registration:

  • Idaho LLC cost: $100
  • Idaho Corporation cost: $100
  • Idaho DBA cost: $25

1. Check Business Name Availability

When you’re getting ready to register your Idaho business name, you have to verify if the name you want is available and isn’t too similar to other names that are already registered. This helps to lower the possibility that your business name registration is rejected due to a name conflict. To get this right, you should do three different searches:

Idaho Business Name Search Help

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Trademark Search

Verifying your name is available starts with checking if it’s trademarked federally. If a name is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it’s pretty much off-limits to use as your business name. Federal trademarks have overriding authority over state and local registrations, so if you find the name in the trademark database, you probably should create a new one.

A search of the USPTO database can be completed by visiting the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) page. The results that it returns can be confusing and overwhelming. If you want a more streamlined set of results, you can use the Free Trademark Search available from Trademark Engine.

Idaho Business Name Search

Following your trademark search, it’s time to move on to verify you can use the name in Idaho. You can do a business name search using the Idaho Business Entity Search, which searches the state’s database.

You’ll want to cover all your bases, so search using partial matches of your name or wildcard searches. This will ensure that both your exact name is available and remove the likelihood that any names are similar. One of the most common reasons a business name registration gets denied is because it’s too similar to a business already registered.

Pro Tip: When searching the Idaho database, pay attention to if your name was registered in the past. Even if the name is available now in Idaho, you’ll probably want to choose a new name if it was previously registered. Names that were previously issued often have problems getting an EIN.

Most businesses choose to get an EIN when they start, so if you see a business was previously registered under that name, there’s a good chance that an EIN was issued under that name in the past. If it was, you’ll be unable to get an EIN from the IRS online system and will receive reference error number 101. If you get this error, the only way to get an EIN under your business name is to call the IRS and fax them your business registration paperwork.

Website Domain Search

The last recommended search is to ensure that the domain name that matches your business name is available. Whether you build a website or not, you should register your business’ domain name to prevent others from taking your domain name, especially your competition. Registering your domain will also allow you to use a more professional email address with your business name.

Domain Name and Business Email

You can use Namecheap to verify if your domain name is available. They also offer a business email service that’s free to try for the first 60 days when you purchase a domain.

2. Choose a Business Structure

While you might be eager to just file your Idaho business name and continue in the process of starting your business, you need to finalize your business structure first. This is important for a few key reasons, one being that the specific requirements and registration process are different depending on your chosen structure. Your business structure also has implications for your legal liability as an owner, how the business will be taxed, and even impact how easy it is to get business loans or raise outside capital. If the explanations and comparisons provided below aren’t enough for you to decide, you should visit our Choosing a Business Structure Guide, which contains much more information on this topic.

Recommended Business Structure:

Typical new businesses can get the most by choosing an LLC because they combine most of the benefits from the three other structures into one. An LLC provides liability protection that sole proprietorships and general partnerships don’t offer and isn’t subject to double taxation like a corporation is.

You can get affordable help forming your LLC by using a professional formation service. Check our list of the top LLC formation services to find one that’s right for you.


An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business form under Idaho law (Idaho Statute § 30-25) offering liability protection for owners, simplified management, and various tax possibilities, blending characteristics of both corporations and partnerships.

Learn More: What is an LLC

LLC Pros

  • Personal liability protection
  • Legally separate entity
  • Default pass-through taxation (business income taxed once)
  • Unlimited number of owners (members)
  • Flexible management – can be run by members or non-owner managers
  • Option for S-Corp tax status

LLC Cons

  • Upfront filing costs
  • Ongoing cost and filings to stay compliant
  • Unable to go public

Do you need to register to be an LLC in Idaho?

Yes, for your business to legally be an LLC in Idaho, registration with the Idaho Secretary of State is required.

Jump to: Register an LLC Name


A corporation is a business entity under Idaho law (Idaho Statute § 30-21) that’s separate legally from it’s owners. Stockholders own it, with limited liability. It’s excellent for gaining external funding and owner asset protection.

Learn More: What is a Corporation

Corporation Pros

  • Personal liability protection
  • Legally separate entity
  • Unlimited number of owners (shareholders)
  • Easier to raise capital by selling stock
  • Able to go public
  • Option for S-Corp tax status

Corporation Cons

  • Default double taxation
  • Upfront filing costs
  • Ongoing costs and filings to stay compliant
  • Increased record keeping requirements
  • Strict management structures set by law

Do you need to register to be a Corporation in Idaho?

Yes, to be officially designated as a Corporation in Idaho, you are required to register with the Idaho Secretary of State.

Jump to: Register a Corporation Name

Sole Proprietor

A sole proprietorship is a straightforward solo business. Begin with ease and limited paperwork. The business and owner are legally the same, creating unlimited personal liability.

Learn More: What is a Sole Proprietorship

Sole Proprietor Pros

  • Easy and inexpensive to start
  • Simple taxes (business income taxed once)
  • Easy to maintain
  • Complete control for owner

Sole Proprietor Cons

  • Unlimited Liability Risk
  • Hard to raise money and get loans
  • Not separate from owner
  • Difficult to sell business
  • No other tax status options

Do you need to register your sole proprietor business name in Idaho?

For sole proprietors in Idaho, if your business name doesn’t use your complete first and last name, registration for a “doing business as” name (DBA) is mandatory. For example, if your name is “Rachel Anderson” and you run a cake shop, there’s no need to register “Rachel Anderson’s Cake Shop.” However, if you wanted to use a brandable name like “Layers of Delight Bakery,” you’d need to file for a DBA name.

Jump to: Register a DBA Name


A partnership is a business with 2 or more owners who share all responsibilities of the business. Each partner has unlimited liability. Profits or losses are passed to the partners, who individually report on taxes.

Learn More: What is a Partnership

Partnership Pros

  • Easy and inexpensive to start
  • Pass-through taxation (business income taxed once)
  • Unlimited number of owners (partners)
  • Shared business responsibilities

Partnership Cons

  • Unlimited Liability Risk
  • Responsible for partners’ actions
  • Hard to raise outside capital
  • Not separate from partners
  • Difficult to sell business
  • No other tax status options

Do you need to register your partnership business name in Idaho?

Operating in Idaho, partnerships need to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name unless their business name includes the last names of all partners. For example, if a photography business is started by Aubrey Wilson, Olivia Davis, and Ethan Johnson. They can use the name “Wilson, Davis & Johnson Photography” without registration. However, if they prefer the unique brand name “CapturaLens Studios”, they should file for an Assumed Business Name (DBA).

Jump to: Register a DBA Name

3. File your Idaho Business Name Registration

You’ve taken the steps to ensure your business name is unique and have decided on your business structure. Now, it’s time to seal the deal by filing your registration in Idaho. Follow the process that matches the business structure you chose. Just a reminder: sole proprietorships and partnerships register via a DBA.

Register an Idaho LLC Name

If you’re looking to register an Idaho LLC, you’ll need to file a Certificate of Organization with the Idaho Secretary of State, which has a filing fee of $100. Your Certificate of Organization submission is where you’ll provide key details about your business, including:

  • LLC Name
  • Information about the LLC members (owners) and managers (if applicable)
  • Business Address (Must be a physical address – PO Boxes not allowed)
  • Name and Address of your Registered Agent

Idaho LLC Name Requirements

Idaho LLCs must use a name that follows the naming rules outlined in Idaho law (Idaho Statute § 30-21-302):

  • Must be distinguishable (unique) from all others businesses registered with the Idaho Secretary of State
  • Must clearly denote the business is legally structured as an LLC by including the words “limited liability company” or an abbreviation such as “LLC”
  • Cannot use words or designators associated with Corporations such as “Corporation” “Incorporated” “Corp” or “Inc”
  • Cannot contain words that imply association with a government entity
  • Cannot contain words that are prohibited or require prior approval such as Bank, Banc, Banking, Engineering, Engineer

For more in-depth information check out our How to Start an LLC in Idaho guide, where we cover all the steps needed to form an LLC in full detail.

Want Help Starting an Idaho LLC?

Use a professional filing service like Northwest Registered Agent ($39 +state fees), which can save you $210 vs LegalZoom when forming an Idaho LLC.

Register an Idaho Corporation Name

To register a Corporation in Idaho you’ll need to submit Articles of Incorporation with the Idaho Secretary of State, which has a fee of $100. Within your Articles of Incorporation you’ll need to provide comprehensive business details, such as:

  • Corporation Name
  • Names and addresses of the board of the directors
  • Number and type of authorized shares
  • Business Address (Must be a physical address – PO Boxes not allowed)
  • Name and Address of your Registered Agent

Idaho Corporation Name Requirements

Corporations in Idaho are required to use a name that follows the rules detailed under Idaho law (Idaho Statute § 30-21-302):

  • Must be distinguishable (unique) from all others businesses registered with the Idaho Secretary of State
  • Clearly indicate the business is legally structured as a corporation by including the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated” or use an abbreviation such as “Corp” or “Inc”
  • Cannot use words or designators associated with LLCs such as “limited liability company” or “LLC”
  • Cannot contain words that imply association with a government entity
  • Cannot contain words that are prohibited or require prior approval such as Bank, Banc, Banking, Engineering, Engineer

Want to Incorporate in Idaho?

If you’re interested in incorporating, you can learn more with the ZenBusiness guide on How to Start a Corporation in Idaho, which covers each step you’ll need to complete to start an Idaho corporation.

Register an Idaho DBA (Assumed Business Name)

An Idaho DBA (Assumed Business Name) allows a business to operate using a business name that is different than their legal name. To register an Idaho DBA you’ll need to complete a Certificate of Assumed Business Name (ABN) application and submit it to the Idaho Secretary of State, along with the filing fee of $25. You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name and address of Applicant(s)
  • Business Name (Assumed Business Name)
  • Address where business is transacted

Idaho DBA (Assumed Business Name) Requirements

The rules for an Idaho Assumed Business Name (DBAs) are not quite as strict as they are for LLCs or Corporations, however there are still restrictions. Mainly, your DBA can’t include designators used for legal entities like “LLC” or “Inc” in the Assumed Business Name. DBAs also can’t contain prohibited words or words that imply association with government entities.

You’re required to register a DBA if you operate under any name other than your legal name in Idaho. Any person found to be in violation of Idaho statute 30-21- is not entitle to maintain any leagal action in court until a certificate is filed. Additionally any other party who suffers a loss as a result of the noncompliance is entitle to recover dmanager in the amount of the loss plus attorney’s fees and cost incurred.

Idaho DBA Registration Assistance

Get help registering your Idaho DBA with Swyft Filings. Packages starting at $99 (plus filing fees).

4. File a Trademark (Optional)

Consider trademarking your Idaho business name if you want more comprehensive business identity protection. Trademarks offer a federal-level control that goes beyond state boundaries.

You can apply for a trademark online on your own. However, the USPTO usually takes 7-9 months to review each application, so preparing your initial application carefully is crucial.

Errors and missing details in the initial application are some of the main reasons a trademark application takes over a year to be registered on average. Consider hiring a skilled attorney or filing service to ensure a seamless trademark registration process.

Trademark Filing Assistance

Ensure your trademark is filed properly with the help of the experts at Trademark Engine, who’ve helped file over 120,000 trademarks since 2016. Packages start at $99 (+USPTO fees).

Additional Business Resources in Idaho

For more help, check out our How to Start a Business in Idaho guide, or use these resources: