States regulate corporations and LLCs, requiring them to include particular designations in the name. However, no state requires a corporation or an LLC to use a comma in separating the business name from the business designation.
As a business owner, you must register your company with the state, rather than with the federal agencies. For this reason, corporation or LLC naming regulations may vary slightly in each state across the nation.
However, most states require that the name of the corporation contain the word or phrase incorporated, inc., corp.—or in a limited liability company, LLC or L.L.C.
The comma before inc. or LLC
It's one thing to put LLC or Inc., in your name, but is it proper to place a comma before them? That's up to you.
The states do not require or mandate the use of a comma between the title of your business and the corporation or LLC designation when naming your business.
That said, many business owners prefer to use the comma to set apart their business name and to meet state requirements for the designation.
For example, if, you, as a business owner, name your organization "Joe's Barbershop,” you may think that it sounds more welcoming to legally name the organization “Joe's Barbershop, LLC” rather than "Joe's Barbershop L.L.C.”
If you wish to set apart your business name from the legal designation, go ahead—use the comma. If not, and you prefer the unity of the business title with the legal designation, no comma is just fine too.
Consistency of punctuation is key
The importance of consistency when using your company name can't be underestimated.
If you choose to use the comma, make sure that you use it in all of your filings and on all of your formal paperwork and documents.
This name (with or without the comma) should be a final choice and the business name will hold you to legally binding contracts. For example, a limited liability company is a separate entity, and the name that you, as the business owner, register with the state is the legal company name that must be used upon all legal documentation.
If you use a comma when registering the LLC, the comma must also appear in any legal documents pertaining to or referencing that organization.
Should a period be used after inc. or LLC?
Since the legal name and designation of your business entity is a formal and final form of your business choice, you should use a period in the Inc. formation. Though not required, a period is rarely not used.
While the legal name you select, and your choice to use a comma and even to use a period may vary, certain punctuation is more commonly used.
Here are a few often seen and often used designations: L.L.C., LLC, Inc., Corp., Ltd.