To do business legally in Bexar County under any name that does not include your surname, you must file an assumed name certificate with the county clerk’s office. The process is relatively easy, requiring paperwork and a small fee, but you must complete the paperwork correctly to ensure that your business name is valid. This is a vital first step in establishing and operating your business legally.
Choose a name for your business and think of an alternative name in case your preferred business name is not available. Check the business name you want to use before filing it to make sure that it is not already in use.
To do this, visit the Bexar County Courthouse, at the corner of Main and Dolorosa streets in San Antonio, and go to the county clerk’s office on the first floor. The clerk will check the name free of charge. If you can't visit the office in person, mail a request for a name check in writing, along with a check or money order payable to Bexar County Clerk for $5 per name.
Pick up an assumed name certificate form from the county clerk’s office, or download and print one from the Bexar County Clerk website (see Resources). Pick up the appropriate version of the form. One version is for incorporated businesses, limited partnerships, registered limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies; another version is for unincorporated businesses.
Complete the assumed name certificate form. State your business name, business address and type of business entity (for example, sole practitioner, partnership or non-profit corporation). If you have an incorporated business, you need to know the state, county or other jurisdiction in which the business was incorporated. Sign and date the form.
Take the completed form be notarized, either at the notary office on the first floor of the courthouse or by taking it to a notary public of your choice. You will need to have official photo identification with you. Pay the applicable notary fees.
Take the notarized form to the county clerk’s office and pay the $9 filing fee plus 50 cents for each additional owner of the business besides yourself. Pay an additional $7 for a certified copy of the form or $2 for a plain copy. If you can't visit the county clerk’s office, mail the original notarized form to the office along with a check or money order for the applicable fees.
Choose your business name wisely. When a potential customer sees your business name in a telephone directory or online listing, the name may be the only information he sees.
The assumed name certificate will expire 10 years from the date it is filed, so remember to refile the name within 10 years if you continue to do business.
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