How to File a DBA on Your Own in Iowa

By Michael Keenan

When you operate a business under any name besides the registered name or your own name if you are a sole proprietor, it's sometimes referred to as using a "doing business as" or DBA. In Iowa, this type of name is called a fictitious name or trade name, depending on what type of business you have.

When you operate a business under any name besides the registered name or your own name if you are a sole proprietor, it's sometimes referred to as using a "doing business as" or DBA. In Iowa, this type of name is called a fictitious name or trade name, depending on what type of business you have.

Requirements

You're required to file a trade name in Iowa when you're operating as a sole proprietor and using a name other than your official name. For example, say your name is Joseph Martin and you have your own freelance writing business that you operate as a sole proprietor. If you want to run the business as "Fantastic Freelancing," you need to register because "Fantastic Freelancing" is a fictitious name. Alternatively, if your business is already registered in Iowa, for example as an LLC or corporation, but you want to use a different name than its official name, you need to register a fictitious name.

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Fictitious Name Forms

Iowa requires that you complete a form called a "Fictitious Name Resolution" before you start using the name. The form requires that you identify your connection with the business, and the name that your business intends to adopt. After you sign and date the form, you submit it, along with the filing fee, to the secretary of state. After you've submitted it, it becomes a public record that is open to public inspection.

Trade Name Registration

Unlike fictitious names, Iowa trade names are filed with the county in which you do business. For example, if your sole proprietorship or partnership does business in Polk County, you must register your trade name with the Polk County Recorder's Office. The registration form requires the name and signature of every person who has an ownership in the business and the trade name. In addition, it must be notarized and must be accompanied with the appropriate filing fee.

Limitations

Registering your trade name or fictitious name doesn't actually give you any legal protection for your name. Instead, it merely gives the public notice of who actually owns the company. In addition, your trade name or fictitious name can't make false claims or suggest an illegal business. For example, you couldn't do business as "Mark's Legal Cuban Imports."

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Define DBA

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How to File a Colorado DBA

Many businesses choose to use a name other than their businesses' legal name. In Colorado, these are called trade names. In other states, they may be commonly referred to as a "doing business as" -- a DBA -- or as a fictitious name. In Colorado, if you don't register your trade name with the secretary of state, you risk fines or an injunction preventing you from using your chosen name.

How to Register a Trade Name in Massachusetts

If you want to do business under any name besides your legal given name, you need to use a trade name, also known as a "doing business as," or DBA, name. For example, if you want to call your delivery service "Mere Minutes," you have to register that name. In Massachusetts, the state doesn't handle the registrations of business names for unincorporated businesses. Instead, you must register the name in each city or town where you will do business to receive a "doing business as" certificate, which is renewable. Be sure to note the expiration date of the certificate and renew as indicated.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing for a Fictitious Business Name

The name you use to conduct business can greatly affect the success of your endeavor. While you're required by state laws to use your business' legal name, you're also allowed to register a business alias -- called a fictitious business name -- to help establish awareness in the marketplace, distinguish a brand or for any other reason. The pros and cons of registering a fictitious business name depend on your circumstances and the legal structure of your venture.

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