Getting A DBA: When And How To File A “Doing Business As” Form

Trying to decide if a DBA is needed for your business? Below are the common requirements and reasons an individual, partnership or company would want to file a DBA.

Getting A DBA: When And How To File A “Doing Business As” Form

Of the many forms that new business owners must file, one that always seems to confuse is the DBA (“Doing Business As”), form. Getting a DBA may be required if the operating name of the company is different than the legal name of the company. Many states require states to obtain a DBA to protect consumers who enter business with the company.

A DBA is not just a formality that business owners must file to keep their respective government entity satisfied. Each state has rules regarding where a DBA is filed. Some are filed with the Secretary of State’s office, while some states require businesses to file in the county that the business is located. Additionally, a few states require businesses to file DBAs at the local town hall. Regardless of where a company must file, there’s no denying that getting a DBA could be a productive part of its operating and marketing strategy.

Filing For A DBA

The process for filing as a DBA is different from state to state. It’s crucial that new business owners take time to review the procedures in the states in which they operate business. In most states, the process of getting a DBA will involve filing paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office and paying a filing fee.

It’s also worth noting that businesses must file for a DBA in all states in which they do business, not just the state in which they initially registered. So, if a company operates as a foreign entity in a few states, they will need to make sure that they get a DBA in those states as well.

However, this brings about one of the main perks of getting a DBA. A DBA allows business owners to expand into new markets and states where the legal name of their business is already in use. For example, imagine a business owner in Massachusetts has owned and operated their business for two decades in the Commonwealth. After this time, they have grown their business to the point they would like to expand into New Hampshire.

But upon attempting to file as a foreign business entity in the state of New Hampshire, the business owner realizes that the company name he or she has used for the past two decades is already in use. The solution to this problem is to get a DBA within the state of New Hampshire. Doing so will allow the business owner to meet state regulations that mandate a business operate under a distinguishable name that won’t cause public confusion with a company already operating in the state.

Benefits Of Getting A DBA: Sole Proprietorships And Partnerships

There are a few benefits that come along with obtaining a DBA. Business owners may want to consider DBAs as a part of their growth strategy. First and foremost, a DBA could be advantageous because it allows a company to use a business name legally without having to file as an LLC or C corporation. This is particularly important for sole proprietorships and partnerships. Essentially, the DBA allows these groups to come up with a company name without actually filing as a company.

Similarly, getting a DBA allows sole proprietorships and partnerships to get a business bank account without having to form an LLC. Not only can these people now deposit and withdrawal money, but they can also take payments in the name of the business. Similarly, they could order a credit card linked to the bank account in the company name.

Obtaining a DBA can also provide privacy protection for sole proprietors and partners involved in a business. This is because these the individual business owners will not need to put their names on their marketing materials and websites. The DBA can significantly reduce how often a business owner’s real name is used as part of everyday business transactions.

Imagine a small tax company run by a husband and wife team. The two choose to enter into a partnership when they form their business, as opposed to an LLC. However, they would prefer not to market their company as “Jane and John Doe Taxes.” Getting a DBA allows them to choose a more-fitting business name. Not only will this enable the partners to protect themselves when marketing their business, but it will also give them more credibility among customers and the community.

Benefits Of Getting A DBA: LLCs

Filing for a DBA can also be advantageous to LLC owners. This is because it allows them to conduct different business activities while still protecting themselves under the umbrella of the original LLC. For example, imagine a business owner who owners three different bed and breakfasts in a small town. The owner has formed the LLC, “Jane Doe Bed and Breakfast Hospitality LLC.”

While this is an excellent business name, it may not be the most appealing name to guests. The owner can register a DBA for each one of his or her three bed and breakfasts. This demonstrates to the state that although the hotels may appear different, they are all owned and operated by “Jane Doe Bed and Breakfast Hospitality LLC.”

Hire A Company To Handle Your Administrative Needs

Another option that businesses have is to hire a third-party company to handle their administrative needs. For example, at DoMyLLC, we can help business owners grow their business in accordance with state and federal laws. We have extensive knowledge of state laws and regulations and can provide you with the information necessary to register a DBA.

When working with us at DoMyLLC, you can expect to work with a team of business filing and compliance experts who will file documents promptly. We have helped thousands of businesses across the country grow. DoMyLLC could be a worthwhile investment, as business owners will be able to rest assured that they remain in good standing with the states with who they conduct business.

Often, businesses tend to operate under a fictitious name without realizing it. When’s the last time there was a commercial on television where a company indicated that they were an LLC? While it’s ok to be doing so, business entities must assure that they have filed the correct paperwork with the state or county in which they’re conducting business. At DoMyLLC, we can help ensure that’s the case.

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