What is a “DBA”?
If you plan on operating your business under a name that is different from your official legal name, you will be required to file for a DBA. Depending on the city, county and state of your business, you will file through the state or local jurisdiction/county. Depending on who is doing the filing, DBAs can also be referred to as “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN), “Trade Name” or “Assumed Name.”
What is the difference between my business’s legal name and a DBA?
Your business can only have one legal name, which is the name you use when filing for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Tax ID (Form SS-4). Depending on the type of business entity, the legal name could also be the personal name(s) of the owner(s). For example, the legal name for a Sole Proprietorship and General Partnership is the individual’s first and last name.
Do I need to file a DBA for my business?
- Sole Proprietor: If you want to conduct business under something other than your first and last name, a DBA is necessary.
- Partnerships: If you want your partnership to be called something different than the combined last names of the partners, a DBA will be required. Most banks and many states will also require that you file a DBA with your local jurisdiction or state.
- Corporations (C&S), LLCs and Non-profit Organizations: If your business wishes to operate under a name that is different than the official legal name that was filed with the IRS, a DBA will be required. It is very common for Corporations and LLCs to have at least one DBA they operate business under.
How do I know where to file my DBA?
It depends on what city/county/state in which you will be operating your business. It is not uncommon for your local jurisdiction to also require you to publish an announcement in a local paper. Let us take the confusion out of DBA filing by filling out the “Contact an expert” form below. One of our filing experts will contact you via email with easy step-by-step instructions on how to file for your DBA.
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Can I start to conduct business under my DBA before it is filed?
In most cases, you will be required to file for and receive completed paperwork from your local or state jurisdiction before conducting business under your DBA. There are some exceptions to this rule; some jurisdictions will allow you to file up to 60 days from initial use of the name. Ask an expert below to make sure your business is compliant to all state and local DBA requirements.