How To Obtain an Assumed Name Certificate

One of the first steps to becoming a new business owner is choosing an Assumed Name. This is recommended in most states. Sole proprietors acquire an Assumed Name in order to apply for an Employer ID number to use on official documents and give out to vendors etc., protecting your own social security number from predators.  It is very important that you obtain an Assumed Name Certificate.  Your business name is the one that you will put before the public, use on your marketing materials and display in advertising. There are a few things the law requires first; one is an Assumed Name Certificate. In some places, this is also known as a Business Registration.

Your County Clerk's office is a good place to locate the necessary paperwork. If your County Clerk's office has a website, then you may be able to access and download the documents online. If not, you will need to go to your County Clerk's office and fill out an application for an Assumed Name. There is a nominal fee involved, which is one of the many costs required to start a business. Either fill out the Assumed Name application at the office or at home, and include payment. Before your application will be accepted, you and any partners will have to sign the form(s) in front of a notary public. (Don't sign the forms beforehand--the notary public must actually witness you in the process of signing them.  Also remember to bring your photo ID with you to the notary to prove you are who you say you are.)  The notary public stamps and dates the form to make it official.  Then you mail or return to the Clerk's office in person for it to be processed. The office will then issue a Notice for Publication.

The Notice for Publication is another prerequisite in obtaining an Assumed Name Certificate. In some states, there is a requirement that the Assumed Name Publication Notice must be published in the local newspaper at least once per week for three to four weeks in a row.   Admit it--you've seen those notices in the backs of the newspaper and although you may have never gotten around to actually reading one (they are THAT boring!), you probably wondered what they were for.  Well know you know!   Again, there is a fee to jump through this particular hoop and it will depend upon the newspaper. However, it can cost as much as $70.  Once the notice has been published, you'll need to file an Affidavit of Publication attesting to that fact with the county clerk, usually within the first thirty days from the date of publication (rules vary from state to state).

The newspaper will issue the Clerk's office a Certificate of Publication after the publication is completed. Upon receiving all the necessary documents, the Clerk's office will issue a Certificate of Ownership, finishing the process for an Assumed Name Certificate.

 Congratulations!  Once you've received the Assumed Name Certificate, be sure to file it with the Secretary of State!


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