Business Registration for a DBA in Illinois

By David Carnes

A business may elect to operate under a DBA ("doing business as") name that is different from its legal name. When this occurs, it is important that the public be informed that the two names represent the same entity. To file a lawsuit against the business, for example, you must know its legal name. The Illinois Business Code requires businesses to follow certain procedures to register a DBA name.

A business may elect to operate under a DBA ("doing business as") name that is different from its legal name. When this occurs, it is important that the public be informed that the two names represent the same entity. To file a lawsuit against the business, for example, you must know its legal name. The Illinois Business Code requires businesses to follow certain procedures to register a DBA name.

Legal Names vs.DBAs

The legal name of a sole proprietorship is the name of the individual owner, while the legal name of a general partnership is either the name stated in the partnership agreement or the last names of the partners. Use of the entity's legal name may be inconvenient for business purposes – a sole proprietorship, for example, might prefer to advertise itself as "Doll Face Disco" rather than "Ronald H. Stewart." In Illinois, only sole proprietorships, general partnerships and professional corporations are required to register DBA names; limited liability companies and corporations are not required to register DBAs.

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DBA Restrictions

A DBA may not misrepresent the area in which it operates. This means a business may not advertise or register itself as "Chicago Catering" if it does not do business in Chicago. Some cases are ambiguous, however; "Vincent's Chicago Pizza," for example, might be acceptable because it identifies a style of pizza preparation rather than a location. A DBA is also prohibited from misrepresenting the type of business it operates – for example, a payday loan service may not advertise itself as "Carrington Bank" if it is not licensed to perform full banking services.

Application

To apply for registration of a DBA name in Illinois, you must complete an assumed name application for each county in which you do business. This application requires you to include your legal business name and addresses, the nature of your business, the names and addresses of the owners and the business's DBA name. You must also complete and submit a Copy of Legal Notice to be Published form along with the local filing fee. The county clerk will assign a file number and return the legal notice with the application file number.

Publication

You must publish the legal notice once a week in a local newspaper of general circulation in the county where you are registering your DBA name within 15 days of the application filing date. The notice must appear at least once a week for three consecutive weeks. You must obtain a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper and submit it to the county clerk, along with a clipping of the notice, within 50 days of the application filing date. The county clerk with then issue you an Assumed Business Name Certificate.

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Cancelling a DBA

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Related articles

Do General Partnerships Require a DBA?

DBA, or doing business as, occurs when a business operates under a name other than its legal name. A general partnership can always choose to use its legal name, which is the combination of the names of the partners; a DBA is not required. If the partnership chooses to operate using a name other than its legal name, however, many states require that the business register this name.

Setting Up a DBA in Massachusetts

A DBA, which is short for doing business as, is the registration form that a business owner must file when she does business under a name other than her real name. Not all states require you to register a DBA, but Massachusetts does. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law requires business owners to register a DBA to create a public record of the name and address of the true owner of a business. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5, DBA registrations are required for "any person conducting business in the Commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership." For example, if your name is Kent Plank and your business is Plank's Carpentry, you're using a name other than your real name and must register your business as a DBA. Similarly, if a corporation is named "Waldo's Wonders" in its articles of incorporation but the corporation wants to do business under a different name, the owner would have to register that name as a fictitious business name. In Massachusetts, you register a DBA in the city or town in which you do business.

Sole Proprietorship Laws in Illinois

For individuals looking to start a business without partners, a sole proprietorship is a common business entity because it is straightforward to set up and has minimal tax and reporting requirements. In Illinois, as in other states, you do not have to register your sole proprietorship with the state. However, you are required to register an assumed business name, if you use one, and depending on the nature of your business, you may also be required to obtain other permits and licenses.

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