Idaho Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by How to Start an LLC Team
Last updated: June 21st, 2024
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If you’re thinking of forming an Idaho business, you’ll need to first start with a business name search.

The purpose of the name search is to ensure that the name is not taken or is currently in use by another business in the state.

Additionally, Idaho requires that all business names, irrespective of whether it is for an LLC, corporation, or partnership, be distinguishable from other entity names.

The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct an Idaho business entity search.

Idaho search tips

Keep the following guidelines in mind when conducting your Idaho business search:

  • To broaden your search, enter only the first word of the name
  • The upper and lower case does not affect the search results
  • Adding or removing spaces in names will not affect the results
  • Punctuation marks are irrelevant, and even if the name contains any punctuation, it doesn’t need to be used during the search.
  • For broader results, it’s best to leave out designators like LLC, Corp, CO, Inc., etc.

Business search by name

Refer to the Idaho Secretary of State – Business Search page. You may search using the company name.

Enter the business entity name

Enter the desired name while keeping the guidelines mentioned in the tips section in mind.

Click the search icon or hit Enter on the keyboard.

Review the results

If matching results are found, irrespective of whether they are exact matches or partial matches, they will be displayed in the table.

The info that you’ll now have access to are:

  • The entity name
  • The entity type
  • Status
  • Filing date
  • Agent

Review additional business information

When you click on the name of the business, you will view further business details such as:

  • Filing type
  • Formed In
  • Term of duration
  • Principal address
  • Mailing address
  • Initial filing date

After refreshing the filing history button, you will see:

  • Amendment type
  • Control ID
  • Date of the initial filing

You’ll also have access to download any documents the business has filed.

Business search by filing number

The second search type for a business in Idaho is to use the company’s filing number. If you already have access to this information, then you’re probably just looking for a piece of information about the company and not necessarily inquiring about its existence.

Enter the filing number

All you need to do is enter the company’s filing number into the search bar and hit Enter on your keyboard.

Review the result

If you’ve entered the correct filing number, then you should see just one option coming up. Click on the name of the company to access further information about the business.

Idaho search results

Whether you search by name or filing number, you’ll have access to the same business information which is as follows:

  • Filing type
  • Formed In
  • Term of duration
  • Principal address
  • Mailing address
  • Initial filing date

After refreshing the filing history button, you will see:

  • Amendment type
  • Control ID
  • Date of the initial filing

You’ll also have access to download the company’s existing business filings.

Copies of documents and certificates

After conducting the business entity search, you may want to obtain certified or uncertified copies of the business’s documents. Some of the reasons to obtain certified copies of business documents include:

  • Obtaining bank loans
  • Submitting tax filings
  • Replacing additional business documents
  • Foreign business qualification
  • Providing legal proof of business registration

It’s also important to keep certified copies of your formation documents, such as Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, as well as all amendments to your original Articles.

The Secretary of State also issues certificates of Good Standing which are up-to-date with all administrative requirements.

A certified copy of a business document includes a certificate or seal of the Secretary of State as well as an endorsement stating that it’s a true copy. It also includes the date that the document was certified by the Secretary of State and is normally a photocopy.

However, these business documents bear the signature of the representative of the Secretary of State. Therefore it is an accurate, true, and valid copy of corporate documents.

If you’d like to order plain copies of business documents, you may do so; however, you should note that these are simply photocopies of business documents, and they do not come with stamps, seals, and endorsements like certified copies.

When dealing with official matters, most financial, government, and legal institutions will require that business documents are certified.

To obtain certified copies of Idaho business documents, complete the Certificate Request Form or use the following information:

Idaho Secretary of State

Mailing address:
450 North 4th Street, PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080

Phone: 208-334-2301
Fax: 208-334-2080

Business name availability

Something to keep in mind is that even if the business name you are searching for does not show up in the search, it can still be used by other businesses like partnerships and sole proprietorships that do not register with the Secretary of State.

So it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the basics of trademark law as it will prevent your business from using a name that is highly likely to be confused with the name of a competing business.

You could also be accused of violating competitive legal rights if you decide on a name similar to another existing business entity. It’s usually referred to as trademark infringement or unfair competition. You may also be forced to change your business name and also pay a fine.

Use different search tactics

Therefore, it’s always good to use a number of search criteria to find out if your desired business name is indeed available for use.

Using the search engine Google to look for existing business names is a good idea. If you don’t find the exact name, you may find other names that are quite similar to the one that you are searching for.

The Secretary of State database is another solid option for finding registered businesses in the state.

Register a trademark

Ultimately, irrespective of whether you are starting a small business or a large one, you should consider getting a trademark for your company name. Searching for your desired business name in the United States Patent and Trademark Office is also a good starting point to ensure that no other business is using your preferred name.

Additionally, you’ll also need to search the state trademark databases as not all businesses register a federal trademark. The Secretary of State’s Corporations Division will have all the information you need when it comes to trademarks in the state.

If you’ve found the perfect name for your business but you’re not ready to register just yet, it’s a good idea to reserve your name. You can do so by completing the Application for Reservation of Legal Entity Name with the Department of State’s office.

This name reservations application must be completed online, and there’s a filing fee of $20 that you’ll need to pay. When completing the application, you’ll be asked to give the below information:

  • The name you are reserving
  • Date of filing
  • Applicant’s name and address
  • Applicant’s signature

After completing the application and providing your payment details, the process is complete and you should wait for confirmation from the state.

Domain name availability

A domain name is equally as important as the name you choose for your business. This is mainly because it establishes your business’s brand. Essentially domain names are a representation of the person or company online. That said, domain names are a highly valuable asset.

When it comes to choosing a domain name, ensure that it’s easy to remember. Therefore try to keep it short and simple without losing the meaning.

Next, make the company name speaks for itself. The average person searching online will focus on a name for less than one second. So basically, you must describe your business’s domain name within that time. So a domain name that is self-explanatory is the only way to go.

The name also has to sound good. So sound the name out aloud to listen to how it would sound to a potential customer. If the name is easy to pronounce, short, sweet, and easy to remember, then you’re on the right track.

One of the best ways to check if your preferred domain names are available is to use a professional domain checking service like allows you to filter domain names and offers suggestions or alternatives if your preferred domain name is unavailable.

Fictitious business name search

Another important consideration is registering a fictitious business name in Idaho. Fictitious business names are also referred to as assumed or trade names. Typically they are used when you want to conduct business under multiple names or if you are a sole proprietor wanting to operate under another name or a different name from your legal name.

Another reason why a lot of businesses choose to register a fictitious name is to shorten the legal entity name or leave out designators such as Corp. or LLC. Fictitious names can also be used to differentiate between different parts of a business by operating under different associated names. Fictitious names are often referred to as DBA names which are short for “doing business as” names.

To register a DBA in Idaho, refer to the Idaho Department of State’s website at, then navigate to the business services section and find the forms page. Look for the Certificate of Assumed Business Name Form [ABN] and click on it.

Additionally, if you have registered your business online but it hasn’t been processed, you cannot file this form until the registration of your business is complete.

By clicking on “file online,” you’ll be redirected to create a SOSBiz account and log in with your credentials. You’ll then be redirected to pay the filing fee of $25.


What are the differences between limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships?

Both LLCs and LLPs are provided with some level of protection against personal liability. However, owners of an LLC are considered members, while owners of an LLP are considered partners. When it comes to taxes, LLCs may opt to be taxed as sole proprietorships, corporations, or partnerships. LLPs, on the other hand, must file as partnerships.

What is the Uniform Commercial Code?

The Uniform Commercial Code is also known as the UCC and was developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Its purpose is to ensure that all business activities across the board are efficient and consistent.

What is the primary difference between for-profit corporations and nonprofits?

The primary difference between a company and a nonprofit is that a for-profit company sells products or services to make a profit while in nonprofit’s purpose is to provide a benefit or service to the community without any intentions of finding profit.

How do I find out if a company is still in business?

The best way to find out if a company is still in business or active is to contact the Department of State where the business is registered. Additionally, you may also check on the Better Business Bureau website, which contains reviews and information on various businesses.

What is the meaning of “doing business as”?

A “doing business as” name is also known as a trade, assumed, or fictitious business name. As the name suggests, doing business as names are used by companies who want to transact or conduct business under many different names aside from their legal entity name. By registering a DBA with the state, you may legally operate under that DBA name.

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