How to Apply to Register a Trade Name in Arizona

By Terry Masters

Trade names, also known as "doing business as" (DBAs) or assumed business names, enable your company to operate in Arizona using a name that is not its legal name. There are a number of reasons why you may want to use a trade name rather than the legal name of your business. If you're organized as a sole proprietor, a trade name allows you to build a brand around a name that is not your own name. If you're organized as an independent entity, a trade name enables you to operate your business in states where your company's official name is too close to a name used by another entity.

Trade names, also known as "doing business as" (DBAs) or assumed business names, enable your company to operate in Arizona using a name that is not its legal name. There are a number of reasons why you may want to use a trade name rather than the legal name of your business. If you're organized as a sole proprietor, a trade name allows you to build a brand around a name that is not your own name. If you're organized as an independent entity, a trade name enables you to operate your business in states where your company's official name is too close to a name used by another entity.

Name Availability

Check to see if the trade name you want to use is available in Arizona. Search the "Registered Name Information Search" database, which is accessible from the Arizona Department of State website, for the same or similar names. Arizona law requires every business to use a name that is unique and easily distinguishable from other business names that are currently in use.

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Trade Name Application

Download a Trade Name Registration Application form from the Arizona Department of State website. A link to the form can be found in the business filings section under "Trade Names and Trademarks."

State-Requested Information

Fill out the Trade Name Registration Application form. The form requires the name and address of the person or entity registering the name, the date the name was first used, and the notarized signature of an authorized party.

Official Registration

File the completed Trade Name Registration Application form with the Arizona Department of State. Include a copy of an identification card, such as a driver's license, for the person who signed the form and the applicable filing fee. The state officially checks the availability of the trade name you want to use. If the name is available, the state will register the name to you. The name will appear in the state registered name database.

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How to Get a DBA in Arizona

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How to Set Up a Sole Proprietorship Using a DBA

A sole proprietorship functions as an alter ego of its owner. State law requires you to operate the business under your own name, so the public knows who to hold responsible for business activity. For example, a personal trainer named John Smith must have his customers pay him by writing a check to “John Smith.” He cannot call his sole proprietorship “In Shape Personal Training” and operate under that name unless he registers the name with the state as a fictitious business name, also known as a “doing business as” (DBA). Most states process DBAs at the county level, so the name registration is only good in that one county. A few states, like Florida, process DBAs at the statewide level, which entitles the owner to use the name anywhere in the state.

DBA Qualifications

A person or entity can always operate a business under its legal name. However, many wish to operate under a fictitious name or a doing-business-as name. All states allow DBAs. The requirements for using a DBA differ among states, but there are generally few barriers to qualify to use one.

How do I Convert a DBA to LLC?

If you are conducting business using a DBA, which is short for "doing business as" and sometimes called a fictitious business name, and want and you want to use the DBA as a name for an LLC, you can do this by following the LLC naming laws in your state. Each state has its own LLC laws and state agency charged with overseeing compliance with these laws, usually the secretary of state. Although variations exist between state LLC laws, forming an LLC using your DBA name will require determining the name’s availability and filing the required document that starts the LLC’s existence.

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