Does an LLC or Corporation Need to File a DBA?

As a business owner, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is deciding on the type of business entity you should establish. There are several kinds of business types to choose from, all of which offer variations on taxation and liability protection for you as a business owner.

Once you’ve figured out what business entity is most beneficial to your work, it might be time to file some paperwork.

Do All Business Entities Require DBA Application Filing?

Sole proprietorships tax forms and general partnerships require what is called a DBA, an acronym that stands for doing business as. These registration forms let people know who’s behind a business, when/if the business is called something else aside from the person’s name.

Since most businesses aren’t named after the person who founded the business, filing a DBA is an important part of the establishment of your business, and requires action from you before you can begin working under a particular business name.

However, not all businesses (depending of the type of entity) require DBA filing.

For example, a Limited Liability Company tax forms (LLC) will file what’s called articles of organization, and a C-Corp files articles of incorporation. In each of these cases, the official name registration is part of the filing process they do for their respective business entity, and both do not require the additional step of filing a DBA application.

DBA application filing is only required if you operate a corporation or LLC under a name other than the name that was filed with either the articles of incorporation, or articles of organization.

Conversely, sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not file articles of organization or incorporation, and are therefore required to file a DBA with the appropriate state agencies.

If you’re a sole proprietor or doing business in a general partnership, it’s a good idea to learn about your state’s DBA laws and renewal rates to ensure your business is meeting all the appropriate legal criteria.

If you have any additional questions, ask an expert here.