Who needs a DBA?

Lets Learn when you need to get a DBA and How get one!
Jason (P) David
Last Updated: April 20, 2021
Date Published: April 20, 2021

If you have already formed your LLC or Corporation under a business name, then you do not need to file a DBA.

DBA’s are not required to run a business, but sometimes they are needed.

DBAs (Doing Business As or Fictitious Names), are only needed if you plan on doing business under a different name than the name you filed with your formation paperwork.

They are often used by partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs and corporations for branding purposes.

Here are two examples of why a company might choose to use a DBA:

  • You have a registered business under a certain business name but are looking to rebrand or branch out into other products and/or services.
  • You have a sole proprietorship or partnership that is unregistered and want to do business under another name that is different from your personal name.

DBAs allow a business to use more than one business name without having to form multiple, separate legal entities.

Registering a DBA is very simple and in most states, you must file your DBA paperwork with the Secretary of State and pay the state filing fee which can range from anywhere between $10 to $100.

SBA.gov provides a chart that details DBA filings state-by-state.

A DBA isn’t a business structure and doesn’t provide any personal asset protection like an LLC or corporation.

It is simply using a different name to operate your business under.

If you plan on using a DBA, be sure to register your DBA before offering your services or entering agreements under the assumed name.

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.

Before registering a DBA, make sure you bushiness is in good standing and that you have a name that is allowed.

For example, you cannot use “Inc.” or “Corp. in your DBA name if your businesses is not an LLC or an incorporated business.

Also, be prepared to renew your DBA name each year so that it does not expire.

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  1. SBA.gov "Choose your business name" Page 1. April 20, 2021