Preliminary name availability check, where applicable
Preliminary name availability check, where applicable
Prep and filing of the DBA documents
Shipping of the completed documents to you
Doing Business As: Adopting a business name
A doing business as (DBA) filing is an official and public way to register a business name with either the state or a local jurisdiction, such as a county. A DBA name is also called an assumed name, fictitious business name or trade name.
A DBA name is typically used when you want to use multiple names for one business, or if you are a sole proprietor wanting to be recognized as a name that is not your legal name. For example Business Filings Incorporated is our legal name, and we have a DBA of BizFilings.
Why a DBA name is important
DBAs allow sole proprietorships and general partnerships to conduct business under a name other than the owner’s or owners’ personal name(s). For C corporations, S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and nonprofit corporations, filing a DBA allows them to transact business using a name other than the official company name that is included in the incorporation documents.
Once the DBA filing is approved, the business can use the name as its official business name and:
- Open a business bank account
- Create stationery or business cards using the DBA name
- Develop advertisements and/or list the company in directories
- Undertake transactions on behalf of the company
Common reasons for DBA Filing
There are a number of reasons why business owners choose to file a Doing Business As, and these reasons may vary by business type. Common reasons include:
- To transact business under a name other than the official name of the company or the sole proprietorship. A DBA name allows a sole proprietor, corporation or LLC to name the business something other than the legal name, which in the case of a sole proprietor is the name of the individual.
- Open a business bank account. Banks typically require sole proprietorships and general partnerships to have a DBA before opening a business bank account.
- Additional business credibility. Having a DBA can lend additional credibility for sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
- New name for new business activity. Often a DBA filing is made when a company wishes to enter a new line of business or to market a new product or service.
- Domain name as Doing Business As. A DBA name can be filed in order for a company to transact business under the company’s domain name.
- Public notification. A DBA filing notifies other businesses that the name is in use, as the DBA name becomes part of the public record.
A common misconception is that you do not need to update existing registrations if you file for a DBA. Creating a DBA for an existing entity may require changes to payroll, sales tax and other types of registrations.
Key Benefits of DBA
There are no limits to the number of DBA names a business can register. Having multiple DBAs can allow your company to effectively run separate businesses under one legal entity, as long as you stay within any limits posed by your business purpose (if incorporated).
Doing Business As: Keep in Mind
For sole proprietorships and general partnerships, filing a DBA does not provide personal asset protection to the owner(s). Incorporating a company is necessary to protect personal assets from the debts and liabilities of a business.
|Standard Orders||Expedited Orders|
$99 plus state and/or county fees, any publication fees and a $25 name check fee in states, where applicable.
The typical completion time for the DBA Filing Service is 4 to 6 weeks.
For an extra $60 BizFilings can expedite your order, sending necessary documents for your signature via UPS 2 Day delivery. We also ship your approved DBA document(s) via UPS 2 Day delivery to necessary parties and to you, after receiving them from the appropriate office.
Typical completion time for expedited DBA Filing Service orders is 2 to 4 weeks.
What is a DBA (doing business as)?A DBA filing is an official and public registration of a business name with either the state or local jurisdiction. A DBA name is also called an assumed name, trade name or fictitious business name.
Can I file a DBA if my company is not incorporated?Yes. Many sole proprietorships and general partnerships file DBAs. In fact, in order to open a business bank account, most banks will require sole proprietorships or general partnerships to have a DBA. Because the owners of sole proprietorships and general partnerships are legally considered the same as the business, without a DBA you must transact business using your personal name.
When does a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) file a DBA?File a DBA registration if your C corporations, S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs) or nonprofit corporations intends to do business under a name other than the legal name that appears on its state-approved incorporation documents or foreign qualification documents (if your company is registered to transact business in a state other than the state of incorporation). The corporation or LLC must file the DBA with the appropriate state and/or county agency in the state in which the company is formed or foreign qualified.
Why should I file a DBA?The reasons for filing a DBA often vary by your business type. Common reasons include:
- To transact business under a name other than your personal name (sole proprietorships and general partnerships)
- To open a business bank account (sole proprietorships and general partnerships)
- To transact business under a name that is different from your company name in your state-approved incorporation or foreign qualification documents (corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships)
- To transact business under a different name in addition to your official company name, for example, under your domain name or the name of a specific product or service (corporations, LLCs, LPs, LLPs)
Are DBA filings mandatory?An individual or company will be required, in most jurisdictions, to file a DBA if they choose to transact business under a name different from the owner's or owners' personal name(s), for sole proprietorships and general partnerships, or the name used on the company’s incorporation documents. Most banks will also require sole proprietorships and general partnerships to have a DBA in order to open a business bank account. The DBA should be filed before you begin transacting business with that business name.
Where should I file my DBA?DBAs are typically filed in the state and/or county where the principal business address or street address of the business is located. If you are incorporated in a state other than the state where your business is located, you typically need to file the DBA in your state of incorporation. In some cases, you must file the DBA in other local jurisdictions, such as with the city or town clerk.
What steps are involved in filing a DBA?
Filing a DBA involves the following steps:
- Undertaking a preliminary name check with the appropriate state and/or county agency (if applicable)
- Preparation and filing of the DBA document(s)
- Payment of DBA filing fees to the state and/or county agency
- Publication of DBA filing with local newspapers (if applicable)
- Re-file publication with state and/or county agencies (if applicable)
With BizFilings' DBA Filing Service, we undertake the necessary steps on your behalf.
What words are prohibited in a DBA or fictitious business name?There are some restrictions: you cannot use words that may mislead the general public into believing the company is something other than what is being portrayed by the DBA name. For example, you may not use corporate name endings such as "Inc.," "Incorporated" or "Corp." if the company is not officially formed as a corporation. Also, you may not use "Limited Liability Company" or "LLC" if the company is not officially formed as an LLC.
How long does it take to complete the DBA Filing Service?The typical completion time for our DBA Filing Service is 4 to 6 weeks.
Can I expedite a DBA filing?To get your DBA filing sooner, add expedited processing to your DBA Filing Service order. We will send you the necessary document(s) for signature via UPS 2Day delivery and ship your approved DBA document(s) via UPS 2Day delivery both to the state and/or county and to you after receiving them from the appropriate office. Typical completion time for an expedited DBA Filing Service order is 2 to 4 weeks. Please note, BizFilings cannot guarantee this timeframe, as processing procedures vary greatly by state and/or county.
How many DBA names can I register?There are no state and/or county restrictions as to the number of DBA names you may file.
Can someone else use my DBA name?Registering a DBA typically does not reserve the name against future use by another party. In most cases, registration of a DBA or fictitious business name is for public notice only and should not be presumed that the registrant’s rights to own or use the name are protected. In order to protect your business name, you should consider registering a trademark.
Do DBA filings expire?DBA filings can be valid for any number of years and may or may not expire. Each state and/or county establishes its own expiration requirements for DBA filings. If your filing expires, the appropriate agency will notify you at the address you have on record and you will need to re-file the DBA name. Maintaining a current DBA business address with the appropriate agency is very important.
What are the publication requirements for DBA filings?Some states require publication of the DBA filing in a specific newspaper for a specific time frame. Requirements vary by the state and/or county in which the DBA is filed. In some cases, upon satisfaction of the publication requirement, you will need to file your proof of publication with the appropriate agency. BizFilings can help. Please contact us for assistance in completing your publication requirement.
How do I get started with the filing process?DBA filings may be needed in the state, county, or, in some cases, the city where you are planning to use the name. There are also naming issues and publication requirements that are specific to each government jurisdiction. BizFilings' DBA Filing Service satisfies all of these requirements. By placing your order with BizFilings, we undertake the entire process for you.
Not sure which business type is right for you?
The following Learning Center materials can help you understand if a DBA name is right for you:
- Comparing Company Types – LLC, S Corp, C Corp and DBA
- When to File a DBA
- Which Business Type is Right for Me - C Corp, S Corp or LLC?
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