Let’s assume you decide to incorporate your business in which you offer hair grooming and other beauty services as a corporation. You choose the name “Della’s Hair Salon, Manicuring and Waxing Services, Inc.” Your attorney files your incorporating document at the Arizona Corporation Commission using that name as the official title of your corporation. Then let us suppose you decide the official name is too much of a mouthful or is too difficult for the general public to remember. So you decide on a shorter, catchier name, “Dee Dee’s Beauty Salon.” Can you do this legally in Arizona and expect all the protections that Arizona law affords your business?
The answer is No and Yes.
Once a business incorporates as a corporation (or organizes as a limited liability company) in Arizona, the business must hold itself out to the public under the exact name on file with the Arizona Corporation Commission. That is the NO part of the answer. This means that the sign on the door of the business, all business stationery, business cards, how the business phone is answered, the web site, etc., must reflect the exact name of the business. Any action to the contrary means that a legal action cannot be maintained by the business if the official name has not been used in legal documents. (ARS § 44-1236).
However, remember, there is a positive response to this dilemma. The only requirement is that the entity, whether a corporation or a limited liability company, prepare and record in all Arizona counties in which it operates a short document generally titled “business entity operating under fictitious name.” Then the entity may use its fictitious name (Dee Dee’s Beauty Services) on the door of the business, on stationery, business cards and, most importantly, in legal documents to pursue or defend against an action.
If your corporation or limited liability company is currently holding itself out to the public under a name different than that on file in the records of the Arizona Corporation Commission, please feel free to contact us to assist in preparing and recording the required document.