Renewing a DBA

State and county agencies have unique rules for DBA renewal. While most state and local governments require businesses to renew DBA filings, others do not. If your business must renew its DBA registration, the governing agency will provide the term limit.

DBAs, or "Doing Business As" names are a popular way to identify a business. Each state has different rules and regulations that govern applying for a DBA and define when and if DBAs expire or require renewal. In order to remain in good standing with your state, county, or locality, you need to be aware of the DBA renewal process.

How Do You Renew a DBA?

DBA renewals typically occur on a five-year basis; however, there are counties, cities, and states that require annual renewals, and others than require renewals only every ten years. There are also instances where a DBA never expires. It is essential to keep up with your DBA renewal to ensure that you operate your business legally, especially if you are using your DBA on legal or financial documents.

Renewing a DBA is most often done through the Secretary of State's office or a local regulatory agency. The process typically involves filing out a form, signing it, and paying a fee. Depending on the state or county, you may be required to have the document notarized.

In the event registration is required at the county level, it is best to visit the county clerk's office. Filing fees vary but are typically between $10 and $100. Renewal is generally less costly than registering the DBA. Assuming you renew on time, you will not have to republish your DBA notice.

Do DBAs Expire?

Yes, DBAs expire. Every state has laws that outline when a DBA expires. If you are uncertain of your expiration date, it may be found on your original DBA paperwork. You can also contact your local or state regulatory agency to determine the expiration date. Most states also send renewal reminders to your business address. You must ensure you renew your DBA before its expiration date to avoid fines and other penalties.

How Do You Renew a DBA That Has Already Expired?

Depending on the state your business’ DBA is registered in, you may have a grace period past the expiration of your DBA. You can contact the applicable regulatory agency to determine if a grace period is applicable. Note that letting your DBA expire typically means you will need to start the entire DBA process again.

It is important to consider that once a DBA expires, it no longer exists. If your fictitious name expires, your chosen business name becomes available for use. As a result, another business could potentially secure your DBA name if you do not promptly address the issue. You'll need to conduct a business name search to determine if the name is still available or if it's been taken. If it has, you'll need to develop a new name. Fees for filing a new DBA can be higher than a renewal, and you may have to meet publishing requirements again.

What Happens If Your DBA Information Changes?

It is crucial to keep your DBA up to date. In the event the information on your DBA filing changes — for example if you incorporate or become an LLC, you relocate your business, or you appoint a new partner, officer, or member — you will need to revise your DBA. Requirements vary. While some states require the filing of an amendment, others require a new registration.

Outsource Your DBA Management to Harbor Compliance

By renewing your DBA before expiration, you keep your business safe. Your DBA name remains linked to your business, and you could be saving yourself unnecessary effort, as renewals generally don't require publication.

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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