Business Trade Name Information

A fictitious trade name is required if a business is conducted in Virginia under a name other than the owner's legal name. An assumed or fictitious name certificate must be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each county or city where business is to be conducted. No person, partnership, limited liability company or corporation may conduct or transact business in the Commonwealth under any assumed or fictitious name until they file a certificate in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office in the county or city in which their business is conducted pursuant to §59.1-69 of the Code of Virginia.

Businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission may file a trade name at the local level if they are conducting business under a different name other than the name that is registered with the State Corporation Commission. If you are conducting business under the name registered with the State Corporation Commission, you are not required to file a trade name on the county level. The types of businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission are General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Foreign Limited Partnership, Corporation or Limited Liability Company.

You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney concerning the protection of your business trade name. A trade name filed at the local level does not have the same status as one filed with the State Corporation Commission.

Businesses registered with a foreign State Corporation Commission must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond as a foreign corporation before registering a trade name on the county level. All persons that register a trade name who do not reside in the Commonwealth are required to provide the name, address and phone number of a Virginia registered agent for purpose of service of process.

To avoid duplication of a business name it is recommended that the owner review the Assumed Name index on the public computers in the Deed Room. The Clerk’s Office does not check business names for duplicates when recording.

Important Sites and Numbers for New Businesses in Virginia

Virginia Department of Taxation 804-367-8031
Virginia State Corporation Commission 804-371-9733