Does your company do business as (“d/b/a”) a name that is different from the legal name of your company that is registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State? If so, you have likely filed, or should have filed, a certificate of assumed name in the county or counties in which you do business. An assumed business name is a name other than the real or legal name of an individual, business entity such as a corporation or limited liability company, trust, or other person. The purpose of filing a certificate of assumed name is to provide the public with a means of ascertaining the real or legal name of an individual or business that is conducting business in North Carolina.
As of December 1, 2017, the Assumed Business Name Act (“Act”) was adopted, which made some notable changes to the previous laws that governed assumed business names. First, previously when filing a certificate of assumed name, one would have to file a certificate with the office of the register of deeds in each county in which the person intended to conduct business. Now, you only have to file in one of the counties in which you plan to conduct business. The reason behind this new requirement is because the second major change put in place by the Act is the creation of a centralized database of assumed business names. This database will be kept and maintained by the North Carolina Secretary of State. After a certificate of assumed name is filed with the local register of deeds office, it will be the responsibility of that office to scan an image of the certificate of assumed name to the Secretary of State, and to enter the required information into the database. The third major change is that existing certificates, filed under the old laws, will expire on December 1, 2022. This means that you will need to file new certificates, under the new Act, prior to expiration of your current certificate if you wish to do business under a name other than your real or legal name.
If you think your business will be affected by these changes, the corporate attorneys in the Greensboro and Charlotte offices of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. are able to offer assistance and guidance in order to make sure that your business stays in compliance with the Assumed Business Name Act.