Every business has a legal name. If a company does business under another name, that is called a "Doing Business As" (DBA) name. Learn which companies need a DBA and why.
In the US, a DBA lets the public know who the actual owner of a business is. The DBA is also called a fictitious business name or assumed business name. The need for a DBA name is tied closely to the type of business structure your business operates under. Whether your company needs a DBA depends on several factors, including how you want to conduct business, your business entity type, and other factors.
If the business structure in which you conduct business is a sole proprietor or general partnership, you will need to file a DBA if your company has a different name than your own personal name. As a business entity, sole proprietorships and general partnerships are unincorporated ways to conduct business. They do not need to file legal entity formation papers or a business entity name with the state. However, they still need to acquire the necessary business licenses and permits.
In some cases, you do not need to file a DBA if your business name is a combination of your name and a description of your product or service. The business owner and the business are the same entity, which means they have the same name unless they file a DBA.
If you are uncertain about whether or not you need to file a DBA, get in touch with your local clerk's office and ask them if it is necessary. You can also consult your legal advisor.
If you have filed to become a corporation or LLC, you have already registered your business name, and you do not need a DBA. However, you will need to get a DBA if you plan to conduct business using a different name from the name filed with your LLC/corporation paperwork.
Whether you're going solo or looking to expand, your DBA can help establish your brand and set your company apart from the competition. In terms of business strategy, a fictitious name can help in the following ways:
The rules, requirements, forms, and fees associated with filing a DBA differ in each state and county. In some states, sole proprietors and general partnerships file DBA forms in one office, while corporations, LLCs, and other statutory entities file DBA forms in another. The DBA forms may differ as well. The time it takes to process a DBA also varies. It is best to learn how your state or county operates.
If you are looking to outsource your DBA filings, Harbor Compliance can help. With our Managed DBA services, you can expect:
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.Continue reading “How to Choose and Protect a DBA”