Find everything you need to know to set up a DBA, including helpful resources and links to tax professionals who can help you make the right decision.
The purpose of a “Doing Business As”, or DBA is to inform the public that you’re operating under a name other than your individual or business name. If you’re a sole proprietor or in a partnership, but don’t want to use a personal name for business, a DBA might be a viable option. Many startups use DBAs (also called Trade Names, Assumed Names, or Fictitious Firm Names) to separate multiple companies operating under the same LLC or Corporation.
There are many benefits to setting up a DBA, but compared to LLCs and Corporations, there are also some disadvantages. If you want to secure the rights to your business name, a DBA alone will not provide those rights and other businesses can legally use your company’s name. There’s also no legal protection or limited liability with a DBA – it’s simply an identifier for your business. Unlike LLCs and Corporations, there are no tax benefits associated with a DBA.
The cost of setting up a DBA varies depending on what type you choose, but we offer affordable DBA packages in every state. If you decide the DBA name designation is right for your business, MyCompanyWorks can help you file your forms quickly. Read our guide to find everything you’ll need to file a DBA for your business. Set up a DBA now if you’re ready to get started.
A DBA is a trading name under which a company does business. DBAs – also known as trade names, assumed names, or sometimes fictitious names, allow individuals a way to brand their business without using their personal names. So for instance, if Steve Miller wants to run a boating business, he could file a DBA for a name like Boating Adventures without having to form an LLC or Corporation to run his business. All business is performed under the DBA instead of Steve’s individual name.
A DBA is not the same as a trademark. A trademark is registered and protected by law. It can only be used by the owner of that trademark. A trade name, on the other hand, can be registered with your county or state, but it can still be used by other businesses.
A DBA is quite common for sole proprietors, partnerships, and businesses that don’t require liability protection. Many corporations and LLCs (limited liability companies) will use a DBA or trade name to manage multiple businesses under one LLC or corporation.
Example: Mary wants to start a candy business, but she wants to open a retail shop, and also serve local businesses as a wholesaler. To separate the two businesses, Mary can form one DBA called “Mary’s Wholesale Candies” for her business customers and another DBA like “Mary’s Candy Shop” for her retail store. The DBAs tell the public what kind of business is being performed.
Both the Limited Liability Company and Corporation are different from the DBA because they are registered with the state as formal businesses – not just a trade name for an individual. LLCs and Corporations have costs associated with running them, but they offer asset and limited liability protection to their owners.
A DBA or trade name is not required by law, but it’s an easy way to give your business an identity without using your personal name. DBAs are useful when running multiple businesses. If you don’t have an LLC or Corporation, you may want to form one to gain tax benefits and asset protection. But if you’re managing your business taxes on personal tax returns and you’re not worried about lawsuits, a Doing Business As may be the best option for you.
NOTE: Some states require additional newspaper publications and will only accept documents in person. Our DBA filing service can send you prepared documents so all you have to do is sign and file the forms.
To summarize, we’ve discussed the definition of the DBA, DBA vs. LLC or Corporation, and offered steps to file your application. If you’re not sure if a trading name is right for your business, we recommend consulting with a tax expert who can go over the details and help you decide. Even if you choose to form an LLC or Corporation, you can still use DBAs to separate multiple business ventures.
Filing fees vary by state, and even by county, so you’ll need to research online or call your clerk’s office for the costs. You can also let us prepare your DBA documents for you for a nominal fee. Depending on where you operate, you may also be required to file a newspaper publication as part of your application, and in-person submission may be required. When you order with MyCompanyWorks, we’ll prepare the application for your state and take care of the publication for you.
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 at 7:49 am and is filed under Starting A Business, Small Biz Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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