How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in North Carolina

By Jim Thomas

As the Small Business Network Center in North Carolina explains, a sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by an individual. If you are the sole proprietor, all of the profits and losses from the business go to you. It's easy and inexpensive to create a sole proprietorship. The primary requirement is to choose and register the name of your business in the county where it's located.

Business Name

If your name is Ella and you plan to start a new business called Ella's Umbrellas, you must choose and register a business name. That requirement applies to any business with a name that is not the same as the owner's exact legal name. In North Carolina, this is called an "assumed business name." In some states, it is known as a "doing business as," or DBA, name. In other states, it is known as a fictitious name or a trade name, which is not to be confused with a trademark.

Finding the Right Name

If someone else is already using Ella's Umbrellas as a business name in North Carolina, you'll have to find another name to register. You can search databases in the county where your business is based or on state databases to see if anyone is using Ella's Umbrellas. If someone is using Bella's Umbrellas, you might want to choose a different name in order to avoid confusion.

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Register Your Name

You register your assumed business name with the register of deeds in the county where Ella's Umbrellas is located, explains the Citizen Media Law Project. Registration is accomplished with a one-page form called a Certificate of Assumed Name for a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Partnership. There is a fee to register, but unlike some states, North Carolina doesn't require you to publish your new business in the newspaper. As soon as you have registered, you are allowed to transact business.

Tax Considerations

You likely will need to take care of some other obligations when you become a sole proprietor. Although you will be taxed as an individual, you'll need to file for an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the Internal Revenue Service if you have any employees. You can even apply online for an EIN if you have no employees, since some banks may require the number, along with a copy of your assumed name certificate, in order to open a bank account under your business name. If you hire employees, you'll also need to register with the state of North Carolina to pay state employment taxes. Find a nearby location to do at the Department of Revenue website. And if you have three or more employees, you'll have to obtain Worker's Compensation insurance from the state.

Trademarks

The Citizens Media Law Project suggests registering Ella's Umbrellas as a federal and state trademark. This can give you extra protections if another party infringes on the name of your business. Obtaining a domain name for Ella's Umbrellas is also a good idea, especially if you plan to sell online.

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References

Related articles

How to Establish a DBA

A DBA, or "doing business as," is a name you use for your business besides your real name. DBAs are also known as fictitious names or trade names in some states. For example, if you want to call your business "Glamorous Ghost Writers," you have to register that name before you may use it for business. A DBA allows you to have a more descriptive name for your business than just "Jane Doe" or "Kevin Smart, Inc." Even in states where registration is not necessary, you often receive additional protection against others using the same name if you register with the state.

How to Trademark a Performer's Name

As a performer, you want to prevent others from using your name in order to protect your reputation and prevent confusion on behalf of your fans. Registering your name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office serves notice to the public, creates a legal presumption that you own the name and allows for the exclusive right to use the name in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.

How to Check for DBA (Doing Business As) Names

Business owners who use a name other than their own name are using a DBA, which is short for “doing business as” and also referred to as a trade name, assumed name or fictitious business name. A DBA is desirable when you want a name for your business that more readily identifies your products or services. Using a DBA is also the easiest and least expensive way for you to establish a name for your business. Before using a DBA, you should check available sources to determine whether another business is using the same DBA.

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