How to Look Up an LLC in Tennessee? (A Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 20, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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Before establishing a limited liability company in Tennessee,  it's essential to perform a business entity search to determine if your desired LLC name is available.

Having been a business consultant for over a decade, I gained considerable experience addressing clients' concerns regarding limited liability companies and other forms of business entities.

After thorough research on the topic and collaboration with legal advisors, I’ll provide the steps to look up a Tennessee LLC and tips on getting the most accurate information.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Tennessee, you can visit the Tennessee Secretary of State website and use the Tennessee business entity search tool.
  • You can utilize tools like the Tennessee Business Name Availability Search, Business Information Search, direct state office contact, or email for detailed queries.
  • The Tennessee Business Entity Registration site tracks and manages over 600,000 active entities, ensuring efficient oversight.
  • In my experience, conducting an LLC search in Tennessee is essential for verifying business legitimacy, understanding market competition, and ensuring compliance with state regulations.


How to Search an LLC in Tennessee?

An office person using a laptop to lookup an llc in tennessee

You can search for an LLC in Tennessee by conducting a business search. The Tennessee Secretary of State has an online database containing all state-registered companies.

Here are the steps you can follow to search for a business entity:

  1. Visit the Tennessee Secretary of State website.
  2. Locate the search bar on the website.
  3. Type the business entity's name or control number in the search bar.
  4. Apply the filter to display only active registered business entities in Tennessee.
  5. Access basic information about the Tennessee LLC, including its formation date and Tennessee registered agent.

Tennessee offers different methods to search for an LLC or business entity depending on your specific information and the needed details.

These methods include:

1. Use the Tennessee Business Name Availability Search Tool

The Tennessee Secretary of State's website offers a Business Name Availability search tool, a key resource for anyone looking to register a new business or check the availability of a business name in the State of Tennessee.

This tool is particularly useful for those interested in forming an LLC, as it allows you to determine if your proposed business name is already in use or available for registration.

Here is how you can perform a business name search on the website: 

  • Visit the Tennessee Secretary of State's Business Services Online page on Business Name Availability.
  • Enter the proposed name you wish to register in the search field provided.
  • Click the 'Search' button to initiate the search process. The search will return results indicating whether the name is available or already used.
  • If the desired name is unavailable, try searching for different variations to find a suitable and available name.
  • If the name is available and you wish to reserve it, select the appropriate name reservation form (e.g., for LLC, Corporation) and follow the instructions to submit it along with the filing fee.

You also can check our detailed article on how to name your LLC.

"Feel free to include punctuation marks, spaces, and special characters in your search, as they do not impact the search results."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

2. Use The Business Information Search in Tennessee

Tennesee also allows users to search for business entities using the business name or the Secretary of State Control Number through the Business Information Search tool.

This tool is useful for filing annual reports, making amendments, or accessing detailed information about a business.

a. Search by Business Name

If you know the business entity's name, you can enter it into the search field.

This option is useful when you need to verify the existence of a business, check its status, or access its detailed profile, including its history of filings and current standing.

b. Search by Secretary of State Control Number

Each registered business in Tennessee is assigned a unique control number [1]. If you have this number, you can use it for a more direct and specific search. This system facilitates the tracking and management of over 600,000 active entities across the state, ensuring efficient administrative oversight, according to the Tennessee Business Entity Registration site.

This method is particularly helpful when you have multiple businesses with similar names or need to quickly access a specific entity's records.

The date of formation and the current LLC’s status can be viewed, as well as the principal office, mailing address, and management of the company. When you click on the control number of the existing business, you will find additional information.

You will be able to see all the LLC annual reports the business owner has filed, as well as the registered agent of the LLC – the person or business authorized to accept legal documents on the LLC's behalf.

3. Call the State

Man smiling while talking on phone

For more complex queries or when online search options are insufficient, contacting the Tennessee Secretary of State's office directly can be a valuable resource.

Contact the Tennessee Secretary of State's office at (615) 741-2286 or (615) 741-0531. These lines can be used for inquiries related to business entity searches, filing issues, or other business-related questions.

This method is particularly useful for addressing specific concerns or issues that may not be easily resolved through online channels.

It's advisable to call during standard business hours for the best chance of immediate assistance.

Before calling, have all relevant information ready, such as business name, control number, or any specific questions you need answers to. This will help in getting more efficient and accurate assistance.

4. Send an Email

Email communication can be an effective way to get detailed responses or to request specific documents related to business entities in Tennessee.

Send your inquiries or document requests to the Tennessee Secretary of State's office at Tre.Hargett@tn.gov or TNSOS.ATS@tn.gov.

In your email, clearly state your query or request, provide relevant business entity details, and mention any specific documents or information you need.

This method is suitable for queries that require documentation or detailed explanations.

While email responses may not be as immediate as phone calls, they provide a written record of the communication.

5. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

A woman looking up an LLC in Tennessee

In addition to official state resources, there are several unofficial ways to gather information about an LLC.

These methods can provide supplementary insights and are particularly useful for understanding a business's broader presence and reputation.

They include:

a. Social Media Platforms

Many businesses maintain profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, which can provide current information and business activities. These profiles often showcase a company's achievements, recent updates, and connections within the industry, offering valuable insights into an LLC's activities.

b. Search Engines

A general web search can sometimes reveal news articles, official announcements, or other relevant information about an LLC. Utilizing search engines like Google or Bing can help you uncover publicly available information about the company, including any notable developments or press releases.

c. Industry-Specific Databases

Depending on the business sector, specialized databases may provide detailed information on LLCs operating within that industry. These databases can be particularly useful for gaining industry-specific insights and understanding a company's role within its sector.

d. Local Business Directories

Local chambers of commerce or business directories can offer insights into an LLC's local presence and reputation. These directories often include contact details, business addresses, and customer reviews, helping you gauge the company's standing within the local business community.

e. Networking

Sometimes, the most effective search tool is your professional network, which can provide personal experiences and insights. Seeking information through personal connections and industry contacts can provide valuable perspectives on an LLC's reputation, reliability, and business practices.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in Tennessee

Trademark showing on the screen

To ensure that a business name in Tennessee is not only unique but also not infringing on any trademarks, there are several methods you can use:

The Tennessee Secretary of State provides an online Trademark/Servicemark Search tool.

This search allows you to check the registry for active and canceled registrations of trademarks and servicemarks on file with the state.

You can search by Mark Control Number, Mark Name, or Owner Name.

For a broader search, you can uncheck the 'Active Only' box to include active and canceled registrations in your search results.

It's important to note that trademarks canceled before January 1, 2000, are not included in the search results.

2. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Database

For a comprehensive search, you can also check the USPTO's database.

This federal database includes all registered trademarks and service marks in the United States and can provide information on whether a business name is trademarked nationally.

According to the USPTO, the database is a critical tool for navigating over 3 million active federal trademark registrations, ensuring comprehensive search capabilities for businesses and individuals alike.

Given the complexities of trademark law, consulting with a legal professional specializing in intellectual property can provide further assurance and guidance.

This is especially true in cases where the search results are unclear or if there are potential conflicts with existing trademarks.

A person writing down notes while in front of a laptop

Searching for an LLC in Tennessee is a critical step for the following reasons: 

  • Verifying the availability of an LLC name.
  • Confirming that an LLC is legally registered in Tennessee is fundamental for validating its legitimacy.
  • Performing due diligence for partnerships.
  • Understanding competitors or identifying potential business opportunities within the market.
  • Ensuring that an LLC adheres to state regulations is vital for legal and operational integrity.
  • Conducting loans, investments, or other financial dealings with a clear understanding of the business's financial health.
  • Gathering information for legal cases or disputes, including understanding the business's legal history and current status.
  • Evaluating the public perception and history of an LLC can be crucial for public relations and marketing strategies.

Related Articles:

FAQs

Is There a Fee to Search for an LLC in Tennessee?

There is no fee to search for an LLC in Tennessee on the Tennessee Secretary of State's website. However, there may be fees for obtaining detailed reports or official documents related to the LLC.

What Information Can I Expect to Find in a Tennessee LLC Search?

The information you can expect to find in a Tennessee LLC search include the business name, control number, registered agent information, status of the LLC (active, inactive, dissolved, etc.), filing history, and sometimes the names of the executives or officers.

References:

  1. https://tnbear.tn.gov/Common/ControlNumInfo.aspx

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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