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Anyone can start a business. All you really need is to provide services or products to another person to have a profit, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that.
Registering your business with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is a smart choice for entrepreneurs in the Philippines. This seems like an overwhelming step, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is.
This guide will let you in on everything you need to know about DTI registration.
Why do I need to register my business in DTI?
Perhaps the most obvious reason why you should register with DTI is to protect your business name. Whether you spent months brainstorming for it, or it came to you suddenly, it is your duty to safeguard it.
Business name registration is a must in the Philippines whatever your company is. Republic Act 3883 or the Business Name Law states that it is illegal to use any name for the business, other than your true name without going through DTI registration first1. When you register your business with DTI, its name will be recorded and recognized by the government.
Upon registering your business name, you will have the exclusive and legal right to use your business name for five years which is its validity period, and then renew it after that. During this time, no other business can use your name in any part of the country.
Another reason why you should register your name with DTI is to ensure that you can create a legacy. This way, your business name can still be used by your successors even after you pass away.
However, not everyone can register with DTI. More of that will be discussed in the next sections.
What are the requirements for DTI Registration?
Before registering your business, securing all the requirements should be on top of your list of priorities. For online applications, there are no requirements that need to be presented.
However, if you plan on registering in the DTI office in your area, you need:
- A copy of the accomplished application form
- 1 government-issued identification card (more on this below)
For foreign nationals, they must bring:
- Alien Certificate of Registration
- Certificate of Registration for Sole Proprietorship or Certificate of Authority issued by the DTI office
- For stateless people or refugees, they must secure a Certificate of Recognition from the DOJ-RSPPU
How much does it cost to register with DTI?
Your registration fee will depend on the territorial scope of your business. Here’s a list of the fees for each scope:
- Barangay: Php200
- City or municipality: Php500
- Regional: Php1,000
- National: Php2,000
*plus Php30 for the documentary stamp tax
This fee is valid for the next five years from the date of registration. For those who filed their business name registration late, an additional 50% will be charged.
Who can Register a Business Name?
All Filipinos who run a sole proprietorship can register. They must be at least 18 years old.
Meanwhile, foreign nationals who want to register a business name with DTI must present or upload a Certificate of Authority to Engage in Business in the Philippines.
Businesses that are a corporation or partnership cannot register their business with DTI, but with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
What is a Business Name?
According to DTI, a business name is any name, aside from your true name, that you use in connection with your business. It can be used in any of the following:
- Office forms, business cards, stationery
- Advertising and marketing materials
- Business formation documents
- Business loan documents
- Contracts and agreements
- Domain name for website
Difference between Business Name and Trade Name
A lot of people falsely believe that business name and trade name are the same, but there are key differences between the two.
Business name is the first thing your customers notice. It is the legal name of your business that appears in your government forms and other paperwork.
On the other hand, the trade name is the “nickname” of your business, since it does not include legal phases such as Corp., or LLC.
To put this into perspective, think about Jollibee. The business name of the company is Jollibee Foods Corporation, while its trade name is Jollibee. Another example is SM. Its business name is SM Investments Corporation, but most people know it simply by its trade name, SM.
How to Register your Business Name in the Philippines
Registering your business name with DTI is easy once you know the guidelines to follow. Read the important information below before you register your business name.
Guidelines for choosing a Business Name
When choosing a business name, you need to make sure that it’s unlike other business names of the same nature and territorial scope. You only have one option to choose a description.
Here are some things you must avoid to ensure your business name does not get rejected.
- Offensive, illegal, and scandalous terms (Nanay’s Jueteng Station)
- Same with existing registered businesses, cooperatives, partnerships, corporations, or companies, and infringes on any service mark, trade name, or trademark (Mang Inasar Lechon Manok)
- Composed of geographical or generic words (The Shopping Mall)
- Cannot be appropriated by regulation or law (United State University)
- Suggests the quality of products or services that can be considered as false advertising (The Best Carinderia)
- Misleading and deceptive, or misrepresents the business nature (Yummy Foods, where the business nature is construction)
- Abbreviation of an international, national, or inter-governmental organization (DOT Travel Agency)
- Used by the government for non-proprietary functions (DTI Trading)
- Names of other persons (Sharon Cuneta Barber Shop)
- Names that are inimical to the state’s security (Taliban Recruitment)
List of Acceptable IDs
When applying for a business name registration, you need to bring an original copy of a government-issued ID that has your signature. This could be either of the following:
- Driver’s license
- NBI Clearance
- PRC ID
- AFP ID
- Philhealth ID
- PhilPost ID
- Voter’s ID
- Postal ID
- SSS ID
- TIN ID
- OWWA ID
- Police Clearance (ID form)
- Person With Disability Card
- Seaman’s Book
- IBP ID
- Senior Citizen ID
- Government Office ID
- Validated state college/university ID
Steps to Register your Business with DTI
Step 1: To register your business with DTI, have your business name ready. Make sure to double-check the availability of your preferred name on dti.gov.ph. This way, you can think of a new one if your first choice is already taken.
Step 2: Download the business name registration sole proprietorship application form on the DTI website, and fill out the information clearly.
Step 3: Now, you’re ready to go to the nearest regional or provincial DTI office, or Negosyo Center.
Step 4: Pay the fee.
Step 5: Once approved, DTI will issue a Certificate of Business Name Registration
How to Register your Business with DTI Online
You don’t have to leave your home to register a business with DTI. Follow these steps below to register your business in DTI online.
Step 1: Visit the DTI New Registration page and read through the terms.
Then, confirm that you agree to the terms and conditions by clicking “I Agree.”
Step 2: Fill out the Owner’s Information form and select “Next.”
The application of Non-Philippine nationals, refugees, and stateless people will only be processed after they submit supporting documentary requirements in any DTI office.
Step 3: Fill out the required fields on the business name.
Enter the dominant name of your business which refers to the main identifying words or numbers attached to its name.
Next, select the territorial scope such as barangay, city or municipality, regional, or national.
Under the business name descriptor, type the keywords that describe your business based on the Philippine Standard Industrial Classification.
Upon typing your business name, proposed names will appear on the bottom field. If the name you submitted is available, the word “passed” will appear. If not, click “try another name.”
A confirmation will appear once everything is in order. Select “Proceed.”
Step 4: A reference code will be assigned to you.
Make sure to take note of this.
Step 5: Fill out the blank fields in the following sections
- Business address
- Residence address
- Personal information
- Other details
Step 6: After completing the sections in the previous section, more forms will appear.
After completing the form, review the information. Ensure that all data is correct, especially your email address.
Step 7: Click “proceed” to signify conformity to the undertaking.
Then, you can download the undertaking for all your files.
Step 8: Select your payment method among the following choices
- DTI teller
- Credit/Debit Card
Make sure to pay the fees within 7 calendar days from your date of application. Otherwise, it will be nullified.
Step 9: Once paid, your Certificate of Business Name Registration will be sent to your email.