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 licensebusiness 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.

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.

Adding a DBA to an LLC is not an arduous process. It requires filing for DBA registration in your state. Different states have different requirements. Below is an outline of the steps required to add a DBA to an LLC. Listed are the main steps you should follow. Once you have decided on a DBA name, fill out and submit the registration form. It is generally less than $100.

Changing the name of your business will require amending the articles of organization, or “articles of formation,” which you filed with the secretary of state when you first started your LLC. You’ll also need to make updates to your business licenses and operating agreement. While the change may not be necessary, it is necessary to consider what name is most important for your business. Changing the name of your LLC does not cut ties with the original name.

Some business owners may have multiple locations. Instead of filing one LLC for all stores, they may want to register a DBA for each store. That way, they can use different signs and store names. Separate LLCs may also be the best choice in these cases because it can protect your assets from being merged or dissolved. However, these steps should be completed carefully. Besides forming a separate LLC, you should also make sure to follow the guidelines of the state where you intend to do business.

Using a DBA is a legal requirement for your business, and you should follow all state requirements to avoid being sued. However, DBAs are useful when other businesses want to operate under a different name. This is because it allows you to market your business under a name that is more recognizable. However, LLCs and sole proprietorships are less likely to require a catchier name, since they are not separate legal entities.

Before filing for a DBA, you should check the availability of the name you wish to register. Then, you should fill out the appropriate paperwork and mail it to your state’s DBA office. There are additional costs involved, like the costs of trademarking the new name and business licenses. These additional costs should be factored into your operating expenses. You should also check whether your LLC requires additional licenses before registering a DBA.

While choosing a name for your DBA is an important step, make sure that it matches the name of your current business. Choose a name that reflects what you do better than anything else. If you’re already known for something, a DBA can help you stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to be the only person who decides to change their name. Choosing a DBA should be a collaborative process and don’t feel pressured to decide quickly. If you’re unsure of your decision, add another DBA to your LLC.

When you’re ready to file a DBA, you should know that some states require the DBA to be published in the newspaper, which may take a while. Additionally, you need to remember that some DBAs only last for a certain number of years. To maintain your DBA status, you must also obtain the necessary licenses and registrations. In some states, you can register several DBAs, but two of them cannot have the same DBA.


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.

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.

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