A DBA (also known as “Doing Business As” or a “Fictitious Business Name”) filing is typically required when doing business using a different name. There are several reasons why a business owner would file a DBA:
- To conduct business other than your registered corporation/LLC name: A DBA allows an existing corporation or LLC to do business using a different name than is registered with the Sec. of State. For example, if your corporation name is JD Enterprises, Inc. and you wanted to also do business under the alternate name of “JD International Enterprises”. If you want to operate only as “JD Enterprises, Inc.” only, then the DBA would not be required. Please note that if you would like to change the name, on the state level, and prevent others from registering the name with the Sec. of State, you should consider filing an amendment with the Sec. of State. To fully protect a name, federal trademark registration should be considered.
- Domain name as DBA. A DBA can be registered in ordered to allow you to conduct business under the domain name being used by the business.
- To conduct business other than your individual or company name: A DBA allows a sole proprietor to do business under a name other than his/her individual name. For example, if your name is John Doe and you want to operate your business under the name “JD Enterprises.”
- Open a business bank account: Banks will usually not allow individuals or general partnerships to open a business bank account without having a DBA.
- Public notification: DBA registration can help protect the name by having it officially listed in the public record. This helps provide notice to other businesses that the name is already in use. However, the registration is only on the local county (not state) level. Furthermore, to fully protect a name, federal trademark registration should be considered.
*Caveat: DBAs do NOT provide any sort of liability protection. Individuals/sole proprietors and partnerships should consider forming a corporation or LLC for liability protection purposes.