What’s in a name? In a business, it means a lot. Your business name is your company’s branding, so it should catch attention and can be easily recalled.
Aside from spending time coming up with a name for your new business, you also need to register it with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), if you’re a sole proprietor.
Why You Need to Register Your Business Name with DTI
Business name registration is required in the Philippines. According to the Business Name Law (Republic Act 3883), it’s illegal for anyone to use any name for a business other than the owner’s true name without first registering the business name with the DTI.
In short, securing your trade name will guarantee you the legal and exclusive right to use it within its validity period (renewable every five years). This means no other business can register or use your business name in the barangay, city or municipality, region, or country, depending on your business location coverage.
However, note that business name registration with the DTI is only for sole proprietors and not a license to run a business (You’ll need to secure a business permit and other related documents for that purpose).
Lucky for you, we’ve prepared a guide to DTI business registration in the Philippines. Find everything you need to know below.
Who Can Apply for DTI Business Registration?
You may apply for DTI business name registration if you meet these eligibility criteria:
- At least 18 years old (Foreign nationals aged below 18 must submit proof that they come from a country where the legal age is lower than 18.)
- Filipino citizen
- Foreign national with a Certificate of Registration of Sole Proprietorship/Certificate of Authority to Engage in Business in the Philippines
- Refugee or stateless person
A representative may file your application for DTI business registration by submitting your authorization letter as a business name applicant, his or her valid ID, and other required documents.
Tips on Choosing Your Business Name
To make the process a lot faster and easier, follow these guidelines from the DTI when deciding on your proposed business names:
- Must describe the nature of your business
- Consists of any alphabets, numbers, and/or punctuation marks in English or Filipino
- Not similar to an existing trademark “Anne Dok’s Lechon,” “Jolibee” and “Starbax Café”
- Not too generic, such as “The Coffee Shop” for a café
- No abbreviation of a government agency or international organization, such as NBI Private Investigation Services, DTI Trading, UNESCO Marketing, WHO Health Services, etc.
- Will not be used for illegal and offensive business, such as Popoy’s Jueteng Betting Place, Boobs Massage and Spa, etc.
- Not suggestive of the quality of any product or service, such as Best Taho Factory, A-1 Auto Repair Shop, etc.
- Doesn’t mislead or misrepresent the nature of the business, such as a business name carrying another person’s name, “ABC Construction Services” where the nature of business is recruitment, etc.
DTI Business Registration Requirements
All applicants (except for those filing their application online) must download, print, and fill out two copies of the Business Name Registration Form and present any of the following valid IDs:
- Driver’s license
- PRC ID
- NBI Clearance
- Police Clearance (in ID form)
- Postal ID
- Voter’s ID
- OWWA ID
- Seaman’s Book
- IBP ID
- Senior citizen ID
- PWD ID
- Government office ID
- Validated state college/university ID
Additional documents are required depending on the applicant:
- For foreign nationals: Alien Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Registration for Sole Proprietorship/Certificate of Authority to Engage in Business in the Philippines issued by the concerned DTI office
- For refugees/stateless people: Certificate of Recognition issued by the DOJ-RSPPU or Certificate of Recognition
Foreigners, refugees, and stateless people who apply for DTI business registration online still need to submit the documents listed above at any DTI office.
There’s also a business name registration fee that varies per business territorial scope:
- Barangay – PHP 200
- City/Municipality – PHP 500
- Regional – PHP 1,000
- National – PHP 2,000
An additional PHP 30 must be paid for the Documentary Stamp Tax during your DIT business registration.
How to Register Your Business Name with DTI
Online Application for DTI Business Registration
Starting February 2019, all applications for DTI business name registration should be filed through the Business Name Registration System (BNRS). No need to visit a DTI office to get a Certificate of Business Name Registration.
Here are the steps to register your business name online through the BNRS.
- Check if your prospective business name is available. Go to the Business Name Search page of the BNRS website and type the keywords of your preferred trade name.
- Proceed with your DTI business registration online once you’ve confirmed that your target business name is still available. Access the New Registration page of the BNRS site and read the Terms and Condition. When you’re done, click the I Agree button at the bottom of the page.
- Fill out the online registration form. Fields marked with a red asterisk must not be left blank. Your tax identification number (TIN) must also be provided on the online form.
- Pay the business name registration fee within five calendar days from the online application date. You can pay at the DTI office or Negosyo Center indicated in your Transaction Reference Number (TRN) acknowledgment form. For convenience, make your online payment immediately during your DTI business registration via GCash. If you have a GCash account, just enter your mobile number in the Payment Details section.
- Claim your Certificate of Business Name Registration at the nearest DTI office or download it for printing.
Walk-in / Over-the-Counter Application for DTI Business Registration
- Go to any DTI office or Negosyo Center.
- Submit all the DTI business registration requirements. Make sure to have a list of backups in case your three proposed business names are already taken.
- Pay the business name registration fee.
- Once DTI approves your business name, it will issue a Certificate of Business Name Registration to you.
Keep your business name document because it’s one of the most important documents you’ll need to register your business at the municipal office and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Don’t think for a minute that this will be the first and last time you’ll have to deal with DTI business name registration. Because your registered business name is valid for five years only, don’t forget to renew it with the DTI before it expires.
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