Corporate Indicators and Corporate Name Availability Search

Each US state has its own laws, procedures, costs and requirements to set up a new business entity, and each state has its own business entity filing office. In most states, this filing office is part of the state’s Secretary of State.

Main page: How to incorporate . Not a US Resident?  Go to incorporation for non us-residents.

When you create a new business entity, such as a new corporation, new LLC or new nonprofit, every jurisdiction requires that the company name be different from any other name currently existing on their register. Every jurisdiction has different standards of enforcement for making sure names are different.


A corporate name availability search must be completed before a corporate entity can be filed. If you company will be registered to do business in more than one state, the name should be checked in each state to make sure the company has a consistent name across the country.

Corporate Indicators

In every jurisdiction, there are lists of words used to indicate that a company is a corporationLLC (limited liability company), Professional LLC (PLLC), or non-profit corporation. In general, these indicators are:

Business Corporations

  • Corporation (Corp.)
  • Incorporated (Inc.)
  • Limited (Ltd.)

Professional Corporation

  • Professional Corporation (PC)

Limited Liability Company

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Limited Company (LC)

Professional Limited Liability Company

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC or Professional LLC)

Not for Profit Corporation or Non Profit Corporation

  • Corporation (Corp.)
  • Incorporated (Inc.)
  • Limited (Ltd.)
  • Foundation (only if the organization actually is a foundation, of course)


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