Filing for a DBA basically means that you are notifying your state government that you are operating and doing business under a different name than your legal name.
Where to start when filing a DBA
- Research the rules and regulations that apply to your specific state for filing a doing business as application
- Choose a unique name for your DBA – that means you need to search online for a suitable name using your government county clerk or secretary of state’s website and make sure that your doing business as name is available. Try to avoid using an assumed name that is too similar to another business name in your state as that might cause confusion and be misleading.
- Depending on your location and the structure of your business i.e formal or informal, you will be required to file your DBA on a state government level or county / city level and in some cases even on both government levels. So make sure you find out at what government level you will be registering your DBA.
What you need to know when registering for a doing business as name
- When registering for your DBA with the county clerk or the secretary of state you will need to pay a fee for the filing process that varies depending on the state you are applying – fees range anywhere from $10 up to $100 which is quite inexpensive compared to applying for a business name change
- Some states require you to conform with certain publication requirements and publish your DBA registration in the local paper, letting the public know that you are now operating under this doing business as name.
- When registering your DBA you are doing so in connection to your legal name which can be an informal business structure such as a sole proprietorship or general partnership or a formal business structure such as an LLC or corporation. In doing so you are letting people know that if they needed to take legal action against you that your business entity will be held liable, as a DBA has no liability.
Some important facts you should know about DBAs
- They are not a separate legal business entity
- They offer no asset protection
- Taxes are unaffected – meaning you do not need to file a separate tax return for a DBA
- No EIN is needed – an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is filed by any business that has employees, a DBA is not a business entity thus an EIN does not apply here
- They offer no liability protection
- In some states filing for a DBA is the only way to open a bank account for your business and start accepting payments and checks in your assumed name
How can you make filing a DBA easy?
When trying to file your DBA there are many online tools that can help make the process simple and accessible to everyone. TRUiC has a database filled with helpful tools that are free for you to access and gain insight with state specific step by step guides on how to file a DBA. If you are struggling with your DBA name or even your business name TRUiC also has some useful search tools to help you choose a suitable name for your doing business as name with their “how to name a business guide” and “business name generator” that will provide you with a host of choices to gain inspiration from.
Quick tip: It might be helpful to also search available domain names before you file for your DBA in order to match your doing business as name to your business website. This can be helpful for marketing purposes ensuring better visibility for your business and your brand as a whole.
Jeff Morgan is currently associated with NetworksGrid as a technical content writer. Through his long years of experience in the IT industry, he has mastered the art of writing quality, engaging and unique content related to IT solutions used by businesses.