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Corporate and Fictitious Names

A great way to market your business is by registering a fictitious name with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Let’s say that you form a corporation known as “Dave’s Landscaping, LLC.” You’ve worked with your business planning attorney to form the corporate entity, obtain the taxpayer identification number, etc. You’ve then worked with your banker to open up a business checking account and made sure that the title on the account is exactly the same as the aforementioned corporate name. You’ve worked with your insurance agent to make sure that you have all the proper insurance protection with policies, again, in the proper corporate name as aforementioned. You then work with your accountant to make sure that all of the appropriate tax filings are made in the name of your corporate entity and with reference to its taxpayer identification number. One of the biggest mistakes that we see, as business planning attorneys, is a careless misuse of the name that you have incorporated. “Dave’s Landscaping, LLC” carelessly becomes “Dave’s Landscaping, Inc,” “Dave’s Landscaping Company,” etc. This careless use of your corporate name may very well jeopardize the protection that incorporating provides you and your personal assets. Working closely with your business planning attorney, as well as the rest of your “business team” (i.e. accountant, banker, and insurance agent), will help avoid this common mistake.

In addition, you can register a fictitious name with the Commonwealth so that your corporate entity can do business under names other than the name that it incorporated. For example, “Dave’s Landscaping, LLC” can register to do business as “Dave’s Tree Trimming,” “Dave’s Leaf Removal,” “Dave’s Mowing Services,” etc. You still have just the one corporate entity (i.e. “Dave’s Landscaping, LLC”), but you have expanded the services of that corporate entity, and the market reach of same, by doing business under these fictitious names. The Commonwealth requires the registration of these fictitious names for purposes of consumer protection-any potential customer of “Dave’s Mowing Services” can review the Commonwealth’s website and see that this business is really a fictitious name owned by “Dave’s Landscaping, LLC.” Registering fictitious names for your corporate entity is a relatively inexpensive way to expand the brand of your business.

OWM Law’s Business Planning Attorneys will work closely with you and the rest of your business team, to obtain a competitive edge. Please visit our Business Planning page to contact one of our Business Planning attorneys.

— Written by David A. Megay, Esquire

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