File a DBA – What Is ‘Doing Business As’ While Forming an LLC


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DBA or “doing business as” is a term used to set up a fictitious name for a business so that it can use this new name instead of the legal one for any kind of formal process, bank transactions, submitting of taxes, and so on. It is vital to know how to file a DBA in case you may need one.

For getting the DBA, one will need to go through the process of fictitious name registration. Several businesses have already signed up for this named entity, and hence, it’s time for your business to do the same.

how to file a dba

What Is DBA?

Before moving forward with our discussion of how you can complete the fictitious name registration for your business, we will talk about the details of DBA first.

Let’s say your business name is “XYZ.” However, for some reason, you cannot use this type of name in the industry. This is where you will opt for DBA registration. Here, you will choose a new name for your business from the search directory, and once you are sure about it, you will start with the filing process.

DBAs are used for multiple businesses, like a sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, or any other such type of registered company.

Importance of Setting Up a DBA

No matter you are involved in non-profit organizations or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), DBA has proven to very essential for several businesses. Here, we will discuss the importance of the relevant business names that you can register for.

Easy Registration

Every LLC (Limited Liability Company) is asked to process the name’s online registration. However, this particular method is very difficult since one has to consider a great set of rules for ensuring your business doesn’t get involved in any legal conflict. This is why many businesses come up with the DBA since, with this, you wouldn’t have to worry about the registration process.

Operation of Multiple Businesses

If you want to establish multiple business types, it is the DBA that will help you to do so. This fictitious name will make sure different forms of your business are known by unique names, be it a sole proprietorship, multiple LLCs, or anything related to that.

Perfect for a Sole Proprietorship

For sole proprietorship business owners, DBA serves as a great tool for keeping themselves separated from the business and avoid paying personal income tax through the profits earned by the business.

Helps in Keeping the Business Compliant.

If you want to keep your main business and the additional businesses compliant, registering yourself for DBA will be a great idea. Make sure to choose a unique name so that no problem arises with the compliance factor.

Helps in Introducing a Creative Name

In most cases, a professional business advisor will always suggest you look for a DBA name since that will provide you better flexibility in handling business license, business taxes, business filings, and so on.

How to Set up a DBA?

For setting up the DBA name, you will need a proper business strategy. That is why here we have come up with the three most important steps you need to follow as potential business owners to get the fictitious DBA name.

  1. Select your state

    What you must first do is choose is the state where you are going to open the business office. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a foreign LLC or a domestic LLC; you can file for DBA in both cases. State selection is very important because the taxes and other types of details will vary from one to the other.

  2. Choose a proper DBA name.

    What you must do next before filing up the DBA forms is to choose a proper name for representing your business. You need to check whether the name you have chosen is available with the domain list or not. Also, the name you have chosen shouldn’t match with any government entity and must not be similar to another business.

  3. Register your DBA with the state authority

    Once you choose the proper name after complying with all the rules, you will have to look for the registration process with your county or city’s clerk office. Depending on the state, you might have to register your company with multiple government tiers.

For What Businesses Can DBA Be Used?

The DBA name can be used for many businesses. Here, we have explained a list of all those structures where DBA is applicable.

  • Sole proprietorships
  • General partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Non-profit corporations
  • Limited partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships

DBA Taxes

IRS explains the taxation structure for the business and how they operate. However, as DBA is a name and not a business structure, you won’t have to file any tax report for the same.

F.A.Qs

Are the DBA and LLC the same?

No, DBA and LLC are not the same. DBA is nothing but a fictitious secondary name which any business can adapt for several reasons, including the LLC, like:
1. Finding the proper domain name
2. Maintaining privacy
3. Separating the business entity from yourself
4. Easy name registration
5. Increasing the credibility
On the other hand, LLC is a company opened by a single or multiple members for protecting their personals assets and yet continuing with a business without having to worry about debts, lawsuits, and others.

Does Can DBA have Inc. in the name?

No, it isn’t mandatory for the DBA to have Inc. as a part of the name. DBA can be any name as long as it does not represent a government entity or an already formed business.

When to file for a DBA?

DBA should be filed when you want to open multiple businesses under a single parent company, or you are not finding a suitable domain name for your business.

How to Add a DBA to an LLC

To add an DBA to your LLC you need to select the name of your choice and search for its availability. You will be required to fill the DBA form and submit it to Secretary of State office along with your registration.

First and foremost, it is important to understand the primary reasons why businesses choose to adopt a DBA. Adding a DBA allows an LLC to operate under a different name, making it easier to market new products or services and enter new markets. This is especially critical when a company aims to target a specific niche or demographic and wishes to differentiate itself from its parent company. By adding a DBA, an LLC can establish a unique brand identity and build stronger customer recognition, consequently enhancing its market share and customer loyalty.

To successfully add a DBA, the process usually involves complying with specific state regulations. The requirements can vary from state to state, but generally, it involves filing the appropriate documents with the Secretary of State or the appropriate agency in your jurisdiction. Typically, a name availability search must be conducted to ensure that the desired DBA is not already in use by another business. Once you have confirmed name availability, you will need to complete the necessary paperwork and pay the required fees.

Another crucial aspect of adding a DBA to an LLC is ensuring compliance with local permits, licenses, and regulations. While the process primarily focuses on the registration aspect, it is crucial to determine if any additional permits or licenses are required to operate under the new name. Each jurisdiction has different regulations, so it is essential to consult with local authorities or an attorney to clarify the specific requirements for your business activity.

Additionally, a key consideration when adding a DBA is the impact it may have on intellectual property rights. It is crucial to conduct a thorough search to ensure that the new name does not infringe upon others’ trademarks or existing brand identity. By avoiding potential conflicts, you can protect your business reputation and avoid legal issues that may arise due to trademark violations.

Finally, it is worth noting that adding a DBA does not alter the legal structure of your LLC; it remains the same entity. It is merely an adjunct allowing the LLC to conduct business under a different name. All existing responsibilities and liabilities associated with the LLC structure still apply, affirming its advantages as a separate legal entity protecting the personal assets of the members and shareholders.

In conclusion, the decision to add a DBA to an LLC is an important strategic choice for many businesses seeking to expand and promote their brand identity. By following the necessary steps, including name availability searches, complying with local regulations, and aiming to protect your intellectual property, you can ensure a successful integration of a DBA into your existing LLC structure. Adding a DBA opens up new opportunities for marketing and customer access while preserving the fundamental advantages offered by the LLC entity.

In Conclusion

Doing Business As is required if you are running a business as a separate entity. The process is pretty easy and explained in this article. To file a DBA one has to name it first. It is strongly recommended for any structure of the business to name your DBA. Also, as this is not a business structure itself, it does not involve tax filing.


About Author & Editorial Staff

Steve Goldstein, founder of LLCBuddy, is a specialist in corporate formations, dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners through the LLC process. LLCBuddy provides a wealth of streamlined resources such as guides, articles, and FAQs, making LLC establishment seamless. The diligent editorial staff makes sure content is accurate, up-to-date information on topics like state-specific requirements, registered agents, and compliance. Steve's enthusiasm for entrepreneurship makes LLCBuddy an essential and trustworthy resource for launching and running an LLC.

1 thought on “File a DBA – What Is ‘Doing Business As’ While Forming an LLC”

  1. Si tenías un DBA y lo pasas a corporation. Por ejemplo tenías empleados y varios camiones y decidisteis quedarte tú solo sin empleados y un solo camión y quieres volver a ser DBA para reducir gastos en pagos de negocio, Payrroll, bookkeeping y corporate taxes . Puedes llevar a cabo ese proceso . Cuáles son los pasos y si es posible cuáles serían los pro y los contra

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