How to File a DBA (Doing Business As) for Your Business

The easiest way to file a DBA is to use a service that has completed thousands of filings with the SEC. You will need a good-standing attorney with experience in the financial industry and at least six years on the job.

how to file a DBA

Can I File a DBA Myself?

Yes, in most states you can do it yourself very easily, but that varies state by state: Sole proprietorships or general partnerships are generally not required to file as a DBA.

How Long Does it Take to File my DBA?

Filing a personal name tax can take anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on the state you filed in. Filing an international trademark can take a few months to a few years depending on where the trademark is registered.

How do I know When my Document is Ready?

Your completed DBA must be filed with your local County. Once filed, it cannot be filed with the SEC before the court has issued its decision (assuming the SEC has not already ruled on the matter). Filing your document after the first date normally requires a waiting period of one month after the service was completed. The reason is that a DBA becomes public record once filed with the county clerk.

Who Can I Hire to Help With my DBA Filing?

A professional filing attorney is a good place to start, though he or she may charge fees for his or her services. You should also inquire with the county where you filed your document to find out if there are any official resources available for your use prior to filing. Most counties have a clerk of court, who can advise you of your rights as well as official resources that could expedite the process of filing. These resources are typically available at no cost to the business owner.

Can I Incorporate as a Sole Proprietorship?

No. Sole proprietor filings are usually handled by the same county clerk who handles your LLC filing. If you wish to incorporate as a sole proprietorship, you would then need to apply to the Office of the Secretary of State for a license and appear before the board in your county to register your business. Your chances of success are substantially less likely than when you file an LLC.

Are There Other Types of Corporations and LLCs?

There are several different types of LLCs, including limited liability partnerships (LLPs), C corporations, and corporations (incorporated partnerships) that may be filed with the state. Some types of corporations (for example, limited liability partnerships) are considered domiciled outside the state, whereas others are not. Many businesses choose to incorporate as LLCs because they can benefit from the tax benefits that come with incorporating as a corporation. However, these businesses may still need to register their businesses with the state to maintain limited liability status.

Are There Other Types of Businesses to Register Under a DBA?

There are some specific types of partnerships (for example, S corporations, partnerships, and corporations) that may be able to file under a DBA. Businesses that are classified as partnerships (for example, limited liability partnerships) are required to obtain permits from the Office of the Secretary of State, but are otherwise not legally required to register. Other types of businesses, including corporations, must register and pay an annual franchise fee.

How do I Know When I Should File?

You should file your DBA in the year in which your business first operates. If you later find that it is necessary to change your LLC’s name, you should file the new paperwork as soon as possible. Also, if you later decide that you want to incorporate another business, you should file the new paperwork as soon as possible, unless you have a written letter from your partner authorizing your current operation. Many others want to incorporate after a certain amount of time has passed, but if this isn’t possible, you should still check with the S corporation office in your area to see if there are other options available.

Do I Have to Use my Personal or Assumed Name to Start my DBA?

No, you don’t have to. If you use your personal name, you are only taxed on the money you make in that business, while if you use an assumed name you aren’t. The S corporation will still report all of your income and expenses on your personal tax return.

Are There Other Ways to Incorporate businesses besides sole proprietorship or DBA?

Yes, there are. If you have more than one revenue stream and you can establish multiple business corporations in the same financial year, by allocating each business’ credit card and banking accounts to the correct company, you may be able to avoid the need to register a DBA. This is known as de-incorporating.

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