How to Get a DBA Name For an LLC in DC – An Easy Guide


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

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Get a DBA Name in DC

Are you looking to establish a business in DC and need to get a DBA (Doing Business As) name for your venture? You’re in the right place! A DBA, also known as a Trade Name, Fictitious Name, or Assumed Name, allows you to conduct business under a name that’s different from your legal business name. This can be advantageous for branding, marketing, and overall business operations.

In DC, if you’re willing to use a different name other than the legal name for your business, you must file the DBA (Doing Business As). The public (specifically your potential customers) knows your business by its registered legal name. Instead of using your formal business name, you may use the trade name or DBA in marketing and sales to reach a wider audience.

DC, popularly known as The Nation’s Capital, has some regulations when it comes to filing your DBA name. However, the regulations can vary depending on the type of business structure you have. In this article, I will share the basic steps to get a DBA Name in DC.

What is DBA Name in DC?

Whenever you form an LLC or any business structure, you must get a name for it. Every company has a legitimate name. For instance, a partnership or sole proprietorship might function under the legal name of the company’s owner or owners. The name specified in the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization may be used by any business entity, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and others.

However, there are situations when you may decide against using your company’s registered legal name in DC. This is due to a variety of factors. For instance, the legal name of your company can be unrelated to it or no longer accurately describe it. Or perhaps you want a new name without altering your documentation for incorporation or registration.

If you intend to run your business in DC under a name other than your personal name or an existing corporate name, you must submit a DBA name with DC state regardless of the type of business entity you have incorporated as (single proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC).

No restrictions exist on how many DBA names you can use to do business. However, each DBA name must be filed with the state where you conduct business. This is necessary because the general public has a legal right to know whether a specific individual or company is operating under a name other than their legal name.

In DC, changing your business name is a risky factor. It can bring positive and negative effects on your business. Hence, before you file and change your legal business name, analyze all the risks and advantages.

LLCBuddy Editorial Team

How to Get a DBA in DC

To get a DBA in DC, you must first check if any other business is already using the name before filing a DBA in DC. You can then submit the DC business name reservation form after it has been confirmed that no other company is already using the chosen name. You can search the DC Government Records Inquiry System and confirm that the name you chose is not already in use. However, getting a DBA is not mandatory in many states. If you open an LLC in DC, you must check with DC Secretary of State whether you need to file DBA or not.

Guideline for choosing a DBA name

You must choose a name to register, which is the crucial step. There are a few straightforward LLC name guidelines to follow (if you’re forming an LLC) while choosing a name in DC.

  • In DC, fictional names cannot be the same or similar to one another. A DBA cannot deceive the public by appearing to be confusingly similar to any other business name.
  • Unless the company has been incorporated as an LLC or corporation, a DBA name cannot contain a corporate indication, such as Corp or LLC, or any other words that imply an entity type. This will stop a lone proprietor from passing for a legitimate corporation.
  • Any banking-related words without a letter from the DC Banking Commissioner’s Office, or any insurance-related words without a letter from the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.
  • Any words that could confuse your corporation with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • A professional designation in the name (i.e., engineering, attorney) without a copy of the license of one officer/member or a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of the name without licensing.
  • Any words that indicate or imply that the corporation is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.

How Can You Tell if a DBA Name in DC is available?

Once you have selected a name that complies with the requirements mentioned above, there are a number of methods you can use to find out if the name is open for registration. One simple strategy is to look up other companies in DC with the same name on Google.

It is a simple technique to clear out any already taken names, even though it may not guarantee that the name you want to register is accessible. As it is likely that you will require a website domain that matches your business name, you may also check to see whether the web domain for that name is accessible. For example, you can check DC LLC name search guide to see how you can find the availability of your desired LLC name in DC.

Before you may register your Trade Name in DC, you must have used it for business purposes. Therefore, you must use a Trade Name as soon as possible if you want to register and protect it in DC.

Register the DC DBA Name

Once you have established that the name is available for registration, you must finish the file using the forms your county has provided. You must register your DBA name in the county where you intend to conduct business. In most DC counties, the following fundamental information is needed-

  • Name of the company, its phone number, city, state, and street address
  • The organization type under which the business is incorporated
  • List the partners’ names and addresses (if applicable)
  • Describe the items, services, or business that will be delivered under the Fictitious Name in the registration form
  • Use of the Fictitious Name in the marketplace
  • Both the classification type and number
  • Make a mark (pick Trade Name)
  • Date and state of the first use of the trade name
  • When the Trade Name first appeared in DC
  • Application’s name, title, signature, and date Email address

Submitting the DC DBA Name Application

To file the DC DBA Name, you must apply to the DC Secretary of State. In DC, you can file the DBA name in two methods, online and by mail. The cost of filing the Fictitious Name (DBA name) in DC is $55.

  • Online filing: For online filing, check the Washington DC Secretary of State. There, look for the “Trade Names” section. You will get the registration form.
  • Offline filing: For filing by mail, you must download the form, and send it to the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection, Corporations Division, P.O. Box 92300, Washington, DC 20090

Using the DC Trade Name

Three “specimens” demonstrating the Trade Name used must be submitted to DC Secretary of State. The following are some instances of acceptable specimens:

  • Business cards
  • Booklets,
  • Flyers,
  • Labels, and
  • Stickers

How to Renew a Trade Name in DC

You can renew your DBA name after a stipulated time. In most states, the renewal of the DBA name follows the same process as filing a fresh DBA name. You need to get the DBA renewal form, fill it up with the correct information, and submit it to the state online or offline. The renew time for DBA name filing is two year in DC.

How to Change a Trade Name

You can change your Trade Name (DBA or Fictitious Name) by applying to the DC SOS. The process is similar. You can search for the name you want to have after changing the old Trade Name. If the name is available, make sure it follows other guidelines. You can reserve your DBA name for two year; after then, you can change or renew your DBA if needed through the DC SOS.

FAQs

What is a DBA Name?
DBA stands for “doing business as”. A DBA name is a trade name or assumed name that is used to identify a business.
What is the process for filing a DBA name in DC?
The process for filing a DBA name in DC involves submitting an application to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The application must include the proposed DBA name and the name of the entity that will use the name.
Are there any legal requirements for filing a DBA name in DC?
Yes, the entity filing a DBA name in DC must meet certain legal requirements. This includes being in good standing with the DCRA and any other applicable authorities.
How long does it take to file a DBA name in DC?
The time to file a DBA name in DC can vary depending on the complexity of the application and the availability of the DCRA. Generally, the process can take anywhere from one to two weeks.
What is the cost to file a DBA name in DC?
The cost to file a DBA name in DC is $110. This fee is non-refundable.
Is a DBA name required to conduct business in DC?
Yes, a DBA name is required to conduct business in DC. Businesses must register their DBA name with the DCRA in order to legally conduct business in the District.
What is the difference between DBA and LLC?
DBA stands for “doing business as” and is a trade name or assumed name used by an individual or business to identify itself. An LLC, or limited liability company, is a type of legal entity that is created by filing articles of organization with the state and provides limited liability protection to its owners.
Can I register a DBA name in DC online?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in DC online using the DCRA online portal.
Do I need to publish a notice in the newspaper when filing a DBA name in DC?
Yes, in DC you must publish a notice in a local newspaper when filing a DBA name. The notice must be published no less than 15 days before the application is filed with the DCRA.
How do I know if my proposed DBA name is available in DC?
You can search the DCRA database to determine if your proposed DBA name is available in DC. If the name is not taken, you can proceed with filing the application.
Is a DBA name the same as a trademark?
No, a DBA name is not the same as a trademark. A DBA name is a trade name or assumed name used to identify a business, while a trademark protects a company’s brand identity.
Do I need to register my DBA name in multiple states if I am conducting business in multiple states?
Yes, if you are conducting business in multiple states you must register your DBA name in each of the states in which you are doing business.
How often do I need to renew my DBA name in DC?
You must renew your DBA name in DC every five years.
Can I change my DBA name after filing it in DC?
Yes, you can change your DBA name after filing it in DC. You must submit an amendment to the DCRA that includes the new DBA name.
Do I need to register my DBA name with the IRS?
No, you do not need to register your DBA name with the IRS. However, you should consult with a tax professional to determine if there are any tax implications of using a DBA name.
Can I have multiple DBA names in DC?
Yes, you can have multiple DBA names in DC. You must file a separate application for each DBA name.
What is the DCRA?
The DCRA is the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The DCRA is responsible for regulating and licensing businesses in DC.
Does registering a DBA name in DC protect my business name?
No, registering a DBA name in DC does not protect your business name. To protect your business name, you should register a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Are there any restrictions on what I can name my business?
Yes, there are certain restrictions on what you can name your business in DC. The name must not be deceptive or misleading, and it must not be the same as, or too similar to, the name of an existing business.
What documents do I need to file a DBA name in DC?
The documents needed to file a DBA name in DC include an application form and a copy of the business entity’s good standing certificate.
Can I use my DBA name to open a bank account?
Yes, you can use your DBA name to open a bank account in DC.
Do I need a business license to operate a business in DC?
Yes, you must obtain a business license from the DCRA in order to operate a business in DC.
What do I need to do if my business address changes?
If your business address changes, you must update your business information with the DCRA. This can be done online via the DCRA portal.
How can I check the status of my DBA name application?
You can check the status of your DBA name application with the DCRA. You can do this by logging into the DCRA portal or by calling the DCRA office.
Do I need to file a DBA name if I am operating my business as a sole proprietor?
Yes, if you are operating your business as a sole proprietor in DC, you must register a DBA name.
Can I file a DBA name if I am not located in DC?
Yes, you can file a DBA name in DC if you are not located in the District. However, you must still meet all of the legal requirements for filing a DBA name in DC.
Can I register a DBA name for a non-profit organization in DC?
Yes, you can register a DBA name for a non-profit organization in DC. The process is the same as registering a regular DBA name.
Can I register a DBA name if my business is not incorporated?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in DC even if your business is not incorporated.
Can I use a DBA name if I am operating an LLC in DC?
Yes, you can use a DBA name if you are operating an LLC in DC. However, you must register the DBA name with the DCRA.
What is required to file a DBA name in DC?
To file a DBA name in DC, you need to complete an Application for Registration of Fictitious Name and submit it to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). You also need to pay a filing fee.
How long does it take to file a DBA in DC?
The filing process for a DBA name in DC typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete.
What documents do I need to file a DBA in DC?
To file a DBA in DC, you need to provide the DCRA with a completed Application for Registration of Fictitious Name, proof of identity, and payment of the filing fee.
How much does it cost to file a DBA in DC?
The filing fee for a DBA name in DC is $125.
Are there any restrictions on the names that can be used for a DBA in DC?
The DCRA reserves the right to reject any proposed DBA name if it is too similar to an existing name or if it is deemed to be offensive or inappropriate.

Also Read

Why DC DBA Filing is So Important

A DBA name, also known as a trade name or fictitious business name, is a name that a business uses other than its legal name. This allows businesses to operate under a different name for branding or operational purposes. In DC, if a company wants to conduct business under a name other than its legal name, it must file a trade name registration with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

One of the main reasons why DC DBA filing is so important is that it helps establish brand recognition and credibility for a business. A memorable and unique trade name can set a company apart from its competitors and attract customers. By registering a DBA name, businesses can legally use that name in their marketing materials, signage, and advertising, adding legitimacy to their operations.

Furthermore, DC DBA filing is crucial for legal compliance and protection. By registering a trade name, businesses can ensure that they are not infringing on any other company’s rights to that name. This helps avoid potential legal issues and protects the brand from being used unlawfully by others. Additionally, businesses that operate under a DBA name can open bank accounts, enter into contracts, and conduct other financial transactions using that name.

In addition to brand protection and legal compliance, DC DBA filing also promotes transparency and accountability in business operations. By registering a trade name with the DCRA, businesses make their information publicly available, allowing customers, vendors, and partners to easily verify the legitimacy of the company. This transparency builds trust with stakeholders and enhances the company’s reputation in the marketplace.

Furthermore, DC DBA filing can also help businesses expand their reach and capture new markets. By registering a trade name, companies can operate under multiple brand identities without having to create separate legal entities for each brand. This flexibility allows businesses to diversify their offerings and target different customer segments with specific branding strategies.

Overall, DC DBA filing is a vital step for any business looking to establish a strong brand presence, ensure legal compliance, and promote transparency. By registering a trade name with the DCRA, businesses can protect their brand, build credibility, and foster trust with stakeholders. The benefits of DC DBA filing extend beyond just a name on paper – it is a strategic tool that can help businesses succeed in the competitive marketplace of the District of Columbia.

In Conclusion

A DBA name in DC is the best way to update your business name. Unlike the registered legal business name, you can have as many as DBA names. You can use your new assumed name as soon as the state has processed your filing, and getting one is a rather simple process. Whether you have an LLC or any other business structure, filing a DBA name is helpful for your business upgradation anytime.

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