How to Close a DBA Name

A business' legal name is the full name of the sole proprietor, the name stated in the partnership agreement, or the name your LLC registered with the state when it was formed. A business' fictitious name, assumed name, or trade name is a name other than the legal name that the entity uses to do business. When you conduct business under a name other than your legal business name, you are using a "doing business as" (DBA) name. This name also must be registered with the state or local government.

Each state has its own DBA laws. When you no longer use your DBA, you should take appropriate steps to cancel any active registration for the DBA.

Why Close a DBA?

There are several reasons a business owner may want to close a DBA. They could be planning to retire, have sold the business to someone who plans to start with a new name, or have reorganized somehow as a different type of business entity. Regardless of the reason, it is essential to understand the deregistration process to avoid confusion and potential legal issues.

Note that you may be able to close your DBA by simply letting it expire in some states. Additionally, the cancellation process may vary depending on whether you are closing a single DBA or multiple assumed names.

Deregistering a Single DBA

While state requirements vary, a typical closure involves the following:

  • Contacting the same state or local office where you initially filed your DBA
  • Submitting the required paperwork and paying any related fees
  • Repeating the process if you are canceling multiple DBAs

You can deregister a DBA name by filing your state or county cancellation or change form. In most states, you will close the current DBA name whether you are deregistering it or changing it. If you are changing it, you may be able to file for the new DBA simultaneously. In this case,ile the form with the same government agency you used to register your initial DBA name. In some states, you must file this paperwork with the Secretary of State, while in others you go through the local clerk's office.

Depending on state requirements, you may also need to publish your abandoned DBA in a local, approved newspaper or publication. Your governing agency should also provide publication information, including a list of approved periodicals in your county or state. Contact local newspapers about rates for publication.

Closing Multiple DBA Registrations

In a state that only requires a DBA registration with the Secretary of State, your DBA registration is effective throughout the state. A deregistration filing with the same state-level office will be sufficient to cancel the registration, as discussed above. If you are registered in multiple counties, the situation may be different.

Many states require a DBA registration at the local, county-level office. That means the registration is effective only in that county. If you do business in more than one county, deregistration will be necessary for those counties. To completely cancel your DBA in these situations, you must file the appropriate cancellation document in each county.

Request a DBA abandonment form from the appropriate local offices. Some states and counties will not have separate documents for abandonment but will require you to use the main DBA registration form.

Outsource Your DBA Management to Harbor Compliance

Whether you're changing your name or going out of business, deregistering your business’ DBA name is an integral part of the process. It is necessary to state legally that you no longer will be doing business under the name. The deregistration process usually amounts to filing some paperwork with your state or local government; however, the process differs depending on the type of business you own, the state in which you operate, and the name you wish to deregister.

If you are looking to outsource your DBA filings, Harbor Compliance can help. With our Managed DBA services, you can expect:

  • Worry-Free Compliance. Forget navigating state websites, agonizing over government forms, and tracking renewal due dates. Leave the paperwork to us.
  • Responsive Service. Our one-day onboarding, precision file preparation, and expedited filing options set the bar for prompt, responsive service.
  • Total Solutions. In addition to DBA management, our specialists can manage entities, business licensing, tax registration, and more.

With Harbor Compliance, you're partnering with a team of compliance specialists who understand your goals and can manage the regulatory tasks to get you there. Contact us today to learn more.

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