What is the proper way to write your Legal Name for DBA?

Jason (P) David

The proper way to write your Legal name for DBA is to write your “doing business as” name exactly the way you register it at the Secretary of State.

For example, if John H. Doe is a sole proprietor and he wants to open a barber shop under the name “Precision Barber Shop”, he can register the name with his State.

Once approved, he can legally use “Precision Barber Shop” as his business name rather than “John H. Doe.”

Each state has different rules for registering your DBA so you will want to visit your states local government website for that information.

You can be creative with your DBA name as long as it gets approved and meets certain basic criteria:

  • You cannot use “Incorporation,” “Incorporated,” “Inc.,” as part as your DBA name if your business is not a registered corporation.
  • Cannot use certain words like “Bank” or “Trust” and “Federal” or “United States”
  • Use a name that is deceptively similar to another business name on record
  • Use a name that implies it is a governmental unit such as “city” or “borough”

If you plan on using a DBA for your business, you will want to make sure you register the DBA.

If you use a name other than the legal name for your business and fail to register the DBA, you might face legal and financial consequences.

In some states, it is a misdemeanor to operate a business under an unregistered name.

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  1. SBA.gov "Register Your Business" Page 1 . April 14, 2021

  2. SBA.gov "Register with State Agencies" Page 1 . April 14, 2021

  3. IRS.gov "State and Federal Online Business Registration" Page 1 . April 14, 2021