The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is one of the very first government offices that you would have to go to when processing a business registration in the Philippines, specifically if your business is a sole proprietorship. In fact, registering a business name with DTI is the initial step into becoming a sole proprietor since it provides you the only right to use the specific business name you have chosen. It is important to have an official and established business name even for small businesses for identity and legal purposes as well, so once a name has been decided for your business, you must register it at once.
What is a Business Name and Why Should You Have One?
According to the DTI website, a Business Name (BN) pertains to any name that differs from the actual name of a person which is used or signed in connection with his or her business on any written or printed receipts, including those for business taxes, duties, penalties, fees, and withdrawal or delivery slips; any written or printed evidence of any transaction or business activity; and any sign or billboard conspicuously displayed in plain view in, or at the place of her/his business or anywhere else, announcing his or her business.
What is Sole Proprietorship and Why Should it Be Registered with DTI?
A sole proprietorship is a type of business that has no separate existence from its owner constitutionally. Benefits and damages are taxed on the owner’s personal income tax return and all the finances involved directly comes from or goes to the owner alone. This is the only type of business that is required to be registered at the DTI. There are a few other types of business ownership such as a corporation, partnerships, limited partnership, cooperatives, etc. whose names must be registered to other different departments of the government.
Where Should My Corporation and Partnership Business be Registered?
For these types of businesses, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the right department to go to. This is where you should have your (corporation/partnership) business name be reserved and registered and a different process must be followed.
So, How Do I Register My Business With the DTI?
You can go directly to the nearest DTI office (regional or provincial offices if outside Manila) or Negosyo Centers to process the business registration, however, it is advisable that you first check the availability of your intended name on their website which is dti.gov.ph so you can think of a new one if that name is already taken. Once you have confirmed on the website that your chosen business name is available, you can then download the BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP APPLICATION FORM and fill out all the information accurately (if you plan to go to a DTI office after).
These are some of the things that you need to take note of when/before filling it out:
- The application form’s mandatory fields must be filled out completely and clearly.
- The proposed business name and address and owner’s name and address must not be abbreviated because it will appear in the Certificate of Business Name Registration as how it was filled out.
- No other person than the business name’s owner is entitled to sign the form.
Guide to Completing the Business Name Registration Application Form
- Sections A-C are required to be filled out.
- Section D (Business Name Territorial Scope) pertains to the specific area where the right for the business name will be limited. For example, if Alex’s Guitar Shop is registered at a Regional Scope, the same name shall never be used within that region for this shop’s owner is the only one who has the right to use it.
- Section E (Proposed Business Name) must be made up of the principal part (usually a name) and a descriptor (word or group of words describing the type of business) just like the example above: Alex’s Guitar Shop. Anything generic or too universal will not be considered; same with unlawful and scandalous or immoral names and those that sounds almost the same with an already registered company name (example: Starbax Cafe).
- Sections F to J are required to be filled out.
- Lastly, have the owner (and only the owner) sign on the last page.
Again, if you plan on processing this through a DTI office, you would need to bring two copies of this duly completed application form and an original copy of one government-issued Identification Document (ID) that contains your signature.
The acceptable IDs are as follows:
- Driver’s License
- Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID
- National Bureau of Investigation Clearance
- Police Clearance
- Postal ID
- Voter’s ID
- Government System Insurance System (GSIS) Unified Multi-purpose ID
- Social Security System (SSS) ID
- Tax Identification Number (TIN) ID
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID
- Seaman’s Book
- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP ID)
- Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF ID)
- PhilPost ID
- Philhealth ID
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
- Senior Citizen Card
- Person with Disability Card
Do not forget to bring payment for the registration fee according to your target business scope ranging from Php 200.00 up to Php 2,000.00 and an additional Php15.00 for documentary stamp tax. Once everything has been accomplished, you may get the Business Name Certificate on the same day. If you processed all the steps online, you may just print the certificate too.
Business name registration is just the first step into completely registering your business in the country. The next steps are indicated in this guide: A Guide to Business Registration Services in Manila, Philippines for Foreign-owned Companies. If you find the DTI business registration in Manila, Philippines a bit confusing or time-consuming, opting for a lawyer to take care of this for you is highly suggested.