When registering a limited liability company, or LLC, with a state business registration entity, an individual must provide a legal name for the LLC. In addition to a legal name, an LLC may also have a fictitious business name. A fictitious business name, also referred to as a “trade name,” “DBA name” or assumed name, allows an LLC to use a name other than its legal name. By using fictitious business names, one LLC can be used to operate multiple businesses. While the method of registering a fictitious business name varies by state, it generally involves filing a fictitious business name registration with either a state or county agency.
Determine if you need to file a fictitious business name registration and where it must be filed. The requirements for registering a fictitious business name vary by state. Some states, such as Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and New Mexico do not require a business to register a fictitious business name. Other states require the owners of an LLC to register a fictitious business name, but vary as to where the registration must be filed. Some states require registration with the state business registration entity, while other states require registration of a fictitious business name with the county or city government where the LLC is organized. The U.S. Department of Commerce provides a list of fictitious business name registration requirements by state (see Resources).
Obtain a fictitious business name registration form. The agency responsible for registering fictitious business names will generally provide a form for registering a fictitious business name, either online or in person.
Fill out the fictitious business name registration form. While state forms for registering a fictitious business name vary, you will generally need to provide the legal name of your LLC and indicate that it is an LLC. You will need to provide the fictitious business name you wish to use. You may need to provide other personal information, such as your name and address, as well as information about your LLC, including the registered agent and office of your LLC.
File the fictitious business name registration form. File the fictitious business name registration form with the appropriate state, county or local government agency. While state fees vary, the filing fee ranges between $10 and $50, as of 2010.