If you’re thinking of setting up your own small business, (like an online selling business, for example) you have to register your business name in DTI.
This is the first step in legitimizing your business as a legal entity. Please note that this is totally separate from BIR registration which is an entirely different thing.
DTI or Department of Trade and Industry is the government body that handles business name registration among its other functions while BIR or Bureau of Internal Revenue is the government body that handles tax registration and collection in the Philippines.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll be familiar with both of these as you go along.
Why Register Your Business in DTI
The first reason of course is legality. According to Business Name Law (Republic Act 3883), it’s not legal or 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.
The second reason is, it’s important to secure your business name for branding purposes. If you don’t register your name with DTI, it may be registered by someone else and it might affect your branding.
And also, please do note that the registration is valid for 5 years, thus you have to renew your DTI registration before it expires.
But don’t you worry because to be honest, it’s a hassle-free process. It’s actually one of the easiest processes when setting up a small business as a sole proprietor.
If you are planning to set up a partnership or a corporation, then you have to register via SEC or Security and Exchange Commission instead of DTI.
Who Can Register a Business Name in DTI
Any Filipino who is at least 18 years of age can register a business name. Foreign nationals who are authorized to do business in the Philippines under existing statutes may also register.
It can be filed by a representative as long as he/she provides a valid ID and an authorization letter signed by the business owner together with the other requirements.
Some Helpful Tips in Choosing Your Business Name
DTI has a specific guideline when approving a business name. So to be sure that your business name gets approve right away, just follow their guidelines. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose your business name.
- Your business name should describe the nature of your business. For example, if you are intending to set up an online selling shop to sell handmade soaps then your business name should best describe it. Avoid using words that might sound deceptive, misleading, or anything that might misrepresent the nature of your business.
- Avoid using words that connote activities or norms that are unlawful, immoral, and scandalous. An example of this is using words that might be perceived as sexual in nature or any related activities illegal in the country.
- Do not be tempted to use popular brand names even if they’re coined/altered words or even if you change some of their spelling because popular brand names are using registered trade names trademarks.
- Business names that are also too generic are deemed to be declined. And besides, why use a generic name if you have the chance to use a brandable name that could help your business propel forward.
- You are also not allowed to use words, terms or expressions used to designate or distinguish, or suggestive of quality. Given the example above, you can’t register the name, ‘Best Handmade Soap Online Shop’ since the word best is suggestive of quality (and it’s also too generic).
- Words that are officially used by the government in its non-proprietary functions and names or abbreviations of any nation, intergovernmental or international organization are also not allowed.
These are just tips based on some of the guidelines mentioned by DTI. Once you register your business name, you will see the full list of what is allowed and what is not. This of course, like any other things, might change in the future, so be sure to check their website for the updated information before you register.
Additional Tip in Choosing Your Business Name
When registering a business name, always think of your brand. What do you want your business to be known for? Where do you want to take your business in the future? Your business name plays a simple and yet very effective role in your overall success. Think of a name that is unique and yet very easy to remember.
How to Register Your Online Business in DTI (Online)
Registration using the BNRS DTI Portal is super easy. Here are the steps that could guide you register your business name online:
1. First step is to go to BNRS DTI website.
2. Click on ‘Business Name Services’
3. Click on ‘New Registration’
4. Once you click on ‘New Registration’, it will lead you to the Terms and Conditions page. Read it and then click on ‘I Agree’ to proceed to the next page.
5. The next page is the Owner’s Information page wherein you have to type in all the information needed.
According to the DTI website, please note that “Applications filed by non-Philippine nationals, recognized refugees, and stateless persons shall be processed only upon submission of the applicable supporting documentary requirements at any DTI Office and payment of applicable fees.”
6. On the next page of the Business Registration, you will have to determine the territorial scope of your business whether it is:
According to the DTI website, “This refers to the extent of the geographical area within which the pertinent business may locate its offices, stores, shops, branches, manufacturing or processing plants, or other business structures, or where the pertinent BN may be used without prejudice to engaging in business elsewhere. It is not to be considered as the geographical limit in which to transact business.”
This is something that I got confused with when I registered my business name that’s why I paid them a visit before I registered to ask them this.
Each level has its corresponding fee. As of the time of writing: Baranggay is at P200, City/Municipality costs P500, Regional Costs P1000, and National costs P2000.
7. On the same page as the Business Scope is where you’re going to input your business name. A reminder about the guidelines on choosing a business name is again available at the lower part of the page.
The online system is created to help you comply with the set guidelines. It will show you if your chosen name is acceptable or not or if it’s available.
The Dominant Name is the main name of your business. The Business Name Descriptor is the type of business you’re in. You don’t have to type this in because there’s a drop-down menu available. Once you are done completing this part, click on ‘Check Name Availability’.
This should show you if your chosen name is available or not. And by the way, you also have the option to choose the naming order. It can be:
- Dominant Name + Business Name Descriptor
- Business Name Descriptor + Dominant Name
For me, I chose the first one of course for branding purposes. As an example of what I have discussed above, I chose the name THUSTLER Laundry Shop for my imaginary laundry business (please note that I did not proceed with the registration and just completed the form just to illustrate this process).
I actually tried to registered Thrifty Hustler Laundry Shop, unfortunately, the word ‘Thrifty’ failed the IPO Words category so I changed it to Thustler and it was accepted by the system.
8. Once you have completed the Business Scope and Business Name portion, click on ‘Next’ to proceed.
9. A series of accomplished forms will appear for you to review. You have to ensure that all information on the sheet is correct and valid. Please also check the SPELLING before you proceed to the next page.
10. The next page is the payment section and you should select the payment method accepted by DTI. Personally, I opted for GCash since it’s the easiest way for me to pay. They also accept payments via Paymaya and other payment options. Once your payment is successful, the Certificate of Business Name Registration will be sent to your email.
Please be aware that if you do not pay within (7) calendar days from the date of application, your application will be nullified and you have to do it all over again.
How to Contact DTI
Or better yet, if you live near a DTI Office, then just drop by and verify the information that you need.
I actually visited their office prior to my registration to ask them the questions I had in my mind during that time (including BMBE registration which I will write about soon).