Are Any Words Prohibited In A DBA Name?

DBA is an acronym that stands for “doing business as.” You may be wondering “do I need a DBA?” If you intend to do business using a name other than your legal business name, you need a DBA. DBAs are common for sole proprietors or partnerships that do not want to use the owners’ legal names to do business. Most corporations, LLCs and non-profit organizations also file for at least one DBA to operate.

A DBA is also required if one of your incorporated or limited liability company’s departments files a limited liability company tax form and decides to operate separately from the rest of your business. This allows the department to have a separate name and bank account among other benefits.

Prohibited Words

Now that you’ve answered “what is a DBA name,” you must understand the restrictions surrounding naming your company to avoid a prohibited DBA name. When naming your business, you cannot use words such as “incorporated” or abbreviations such as “LLC” unless you do the paperwork to legalize your company as such. These restrictions are in place to prevent companies from presenting themselves as something they aren’t or from performing other unscrupulous business transactions.

When to Register the Name

Although some cases allow you to use your DBA name for up to 60 days before the paperwork is official, most situations require you to fill out and process the paperwork before you begin operating under a non-legal name. To prevent any delays, file the proper documents as soon as you decide on a name.

Where to File a DBA

Where you need to file your DBA depends on where your business operates. In many locations, you must public your new name in the newspaper so consumers are aware. You can make the process easier by going online to register a business name. You can start the process of naming your business by filling out our form.

Coming up with a brand name can be a daunting task, even when every word in the English dictionary is up for grabs. That’s not the case however with DBAs, and it’s wise to become familiar with words that are restricted from your registered business name.

First, let’s look at what a DBA is, exactly.

DBA application filing is required when an individual establishes a business with a name that differs from her legal name, or the name of partners in a general partnership.

For example, if you make cakes for a living, you wouldn’t want your cake shop to be called Jane Doe; it doesn’t describe the business, and it’s possible there’s another baker in town with the same name.

DBAs, also called fictitious business names, or trade names, are registered at the county clerk’s office, or state department, to protect consumers from nefarious businesses. Without DBAs, it would be difficult to hold businesses owners accountable.

That being said, there are exclusions in naming your business that you should be aware of if you plan on starting a business, or complete a DBA application.

Words Prohibited in a DBA Name

As a rule, DBA names can’t mislead the public as to what type of business entity the business is or mislead the public into thinking there’s an association with another business, when there is not.

States also have unique exclusionary rules for DBA names that often include words that are easily misconstrued, like school, university, museum, foundation, national, and United States.

These unique exclusions are generally restricted by state statute and should be reviewed carefully on a state-by-state basis, depending on where you plan to do business.

While there are some precautionary exclusions, for the most part you should have no problem picking a name that fits your business plan and vision.

To answer any additional questions, ask an expert here.

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EIN/Tax ID Order Confirmation Number15 Digit Confirmation Number you receive after you submitted your EIN/Tax ID Number Application
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