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Doing Business As (DBA) Filing

Formally register your business name and start building your brand

Filing a Doing Business As name (DBA) allows you to operate and receive payments under a name that is different from your legal business name, helping you create an identity for your business that presents it in a professional light to customers and vendors.

What are the benefits of a "doing business as" name?

Accept payment as your business

In many states, you are required to file a DBA to open a bank account and accept checks and payments under your business name.

Separate your lines of business

For established LLCs and Corporations, filing a DBA allows you to operate under additional business names that more accurately represent a subset of your business.

Gain credibility

Operating under your business name provides added legitimacy for your customers and suppliers and separates your brand from your competitors.

We complete all of the documents

Our filing experts can quickly and accurately file a DBA for sole proprietors, LLCs, Corporations and partnerships. We handle all of the paperwork on your behalf.

What is a DBA (Doing Business As) name?

DBA stands for "Doing Business As" and is an official registration of your business name. In some states, this can be referred to as a "fictitious business name" or "assumed" name. A DBA name is different from your personal name.

If your business conducts any business - such as transactions, marketing, advertising, or printing out business cards - under a name that isn't your own name, you will need to file and register a DBA in the state or county you're doing business in. A good example is if Jane Smith wanted to start "Jane's Tax Services," she would need to file for a DBA. Once you have conducted a business name search and filed for a DBA, you'll be able to claim the name for yourself. This helps to reduce any potential chances of fraud.

What are the benefits of filing as a DBA?

The benefits vary depending on who is filing. A sole proprietor can operate under a name other than their legal name which can have many benefits, including added credibility and professionalism, as well as level of separation or anonymity. Filing a DBA also means a sole proprietor can open up a separate bank account under the business name (requirements vary), allowing your customers can make payments to the business itself, instead of to you personally.

For an established business, a DBA can allow you to conduct business under any number of alternate names in addition to the one filed with the original formation. That means as a business expands into other markets or takes on new business ventures, the business owner can add additional names or lines of business with ease.

Does a DBA keep others from using my business name?

A DBA is simply a name that identifies a business, and does not protect the name from being used by other businesses. In order to protect your name, you would need to consider incorporation, or filing a trademark.

What kinds of businesses should file a DBA?

Since a DBA is a business name only, there are no added maintenance requirements, tax implications, or a formal business structure to put into place. This can be an advantage for a sole proprietor, freelancer, or partnership that plans to start a business under a name that isn't their real name.. An existing LLC or Corporation can also file a DBA when the business wants to conduct business under a different name than the one registered during the original formation.

What are the requirements of filing a DBA?

A DBA can be almost any name under which you are doing business. You cannot, however, make your DBA a corporate name such as XYZ, Inc. if you do not have a corporate name that is XYZ, Inc. In other words, when filing a DBA do not add "Inc." or "Corp." to your name to create the impression that your business is a corporation when, in fact, it is not.

What is an example of a DBA and how it works?

As an example to demonstrate the usefulness of a DBA, let's imagine that Jane Brown was a pastry chef who wanted to open her own shop called "Donuts Unlimited." She wants to eventually open a bank account and accept payments on behalf of Donuts Unlimited, so she files a DBA : "Jane Brown, doing business as Donuts Unlimited." By filing her DBA, she is able to set up a bank account for her business, and cash checks written to Donuts Unlimited.

In another example, lets say there is a corporation named "ABC, Inc.,". Later on in the existence of this business, they expand into the business of selling XYZ. They could form a second company, but that would mean that all of their maintenance formalities and annual requirements would double. That may be fine, but in this case they would be able to file a DBA : "ABC, Inc., doing business as 'XYZ.' This would allow them to conduct business under this additional business name without forming a new entity.

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Frequently asked questions

DBA registration is necessary if your company conducts any business under a name other than your own name (for sole proprietors) or its legal name (for state-level entities such as corporations and LLCs). "Conducting business" can include marketing, advertising, letterhead, business cards, etc., in addition to actual business transactions.

Also, banks generally require a DBA registration in order to open a business bank account. DBA registration is required if you anticipate collecting money under a name other than your own name or your true corporate name.

Most banks do require a DBA registration to open a business bank account. In many states, they will require a certified copy of the DBA.

A DBA can be almost any name under which you are doing business. You cannot, however, make your DBA a corporate name such as XYZ, Inc. if you do not have a corporate name that is XYZ, Inc. In other words, when filing a DBA you cannot add "Inc." or "Corp." to your name to create the impression that your business is a corporation when, in fact, it is not.

In most jurisdictions, it is best to file your DBA prior to beginning any use of the name. In some jurisdictions, a DBA filing is required within a specific period of time since having begun use of the name (usually within 30-60 days).

DBAs are usually filed at the state level and sometimes at the county level as well. You should file your DBA in the state and/or county in which you are conducting business under the name. In addition, certain jurisdictions require publication of your DBA. If you don't know your jurisdiction's requirements, you've come to the right place by visiting MyCorporation.Com. It's what we do.

Generally speaking, filing a DBA grants little, if any, exclusivity to use of the name. In many jurisdictions, more than one applicant can file the exact same DBA. The only way to legally ensure exclusive rights to the use of a name is to register a trademark. For more information on trademarks, check out our trademark filing service.

Legally, you are required to identify your business with one of two numbers: either your Social Security Number or an EIN (Employer Identification Number, a.k.a. Federal Tax ID Number). If you are a sole proprietor, your Social Security Number can be used on all of your government forms and other official documents, but most small business advisors recommend that you apply for an EIN and use that number instead.

If you are a corporation, LLC, or other state-level entity, you must obtain an EIN because your business is an entirely separate legal entity. Learn more about EINs.

Some states refer to a doing business as name (DBA) as a fictitious name. A fictitious name is understood to have the same meaning as a DBA. Other states may also refer to a DBA as an assumed name or a trade name.

A legal business name is the official enterprise name. The legal name of your business may be the official name of the person who owns the company or the entity.

If you wish to conduct business under a name that is not your legal name, you must file for a DBA.

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