Filing a Sole Proprietor DBA in Los Angeles

By Joe Stone

California state law requires every business owner using a fictitious name to file a fictitious business name statement with the clerk of the county where the business is principally located. A fictitious business name is also commonly known as a DBA, short for "doing business as." In Los Angeles County, a fictitious business name statement for a DBA is filed with the office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk located in Norwalk, California.

California state law requires every business owner using a fictitious name to file a fictitious business name statement with the clerk of the county where the business is principally located. A fictitious business name is also commonly known as a DBA, short for "doing business as." In Los Angeles County, a fictitious business name statement for a DBA is filed with the office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk located in Norwalk, California.

DBA Name Basics

Being a sole proprietor means you operate a for-profit business without forming a business entity, such as a limited liability company or corporation. If you use your surname in the business name, you do not have to file for a DBA. However, if the business does not include your surname or suggests that there may be additional owners, California Business and Professions Code 17910 requires that you file a fictitious business name statement within 40 days from the date you start operating your business. Section 17900(c) of the code gives examples of DBA names that suggest other owners, such as "Company," "& Associates," and "Brothers."

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Los Angeles County Filing Procedure

Business and Professions Code Section 17924(a) requires the county clerk to provide a form for a fictitious business name statement without charge, which in Los Angeles County can be downloaded from the website of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. The information needed to complete the form is your DBA and its principal address; your name and residence address; your mailing address; and a check mark where indicated to indicate that you are filing as an individual. The form must be signed and dated. Filing can be done in person at the main office in Norwalk, California, or in a district office; however, filings by mail are processed only at the main office. As of January 2012, the filing fee for a sole proprietorship DBA is $26.

Publication Requirement

Your fictitious business name statement must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in Los Angeles County within 30 days after filing it with the county clerk. The website of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk provides a list of newspapers in Los Angeles County that satisfy the general circulation requirement. The publication must occur once a week for four successive weeks.

Miscellaneous DBA Information

A fictitious business name statement for a DBA expires five years from the date it was filed with the county clerk's office. A renewal statement must be filed before expiration if you continue to use the DBA and none of the information in your original filing has changed. Renewal filings do not have to be published. Whenever the information in your originally filed fictitious business name statement changes, you must file a new statement. If you stop using your DBA before your fictitious business name statement expires, you are required to file a statement of abandonment for the DBA in the same manner you filed your original statement, including publication.

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How to Set Up a DBA in California

References

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How Do I Extend My DBA?

A business owner using a fictitious name, trade name or assumed name -- commonly called “doing business as” or DBA -- must register it with a government office in most states, either at the state or county level. Because your customers and the general public will associate your DBA with your products or services, it is important to properly maintain your DBA by extending or renewing it as required by law. If you fail to properly maintain your DBA, you run the risk of another business or person registering it, which will prevent you from using it.

How to File a DBA in Montana

DBA in a business context stands for "doing business as." Having a DBA for your business allows you to use a name other than your own full legal name for your company. For example, if you wanted to call your gas station "Super Fill-Ups," you would have to register the DBA because it's not your name. In Montana, DBAs are referred to as "assumed business names." Registering your name establishes your rights to use the name.

How to Fill Out DBA Forms

DBA is short for "doing business as." Sole proprietors and even larger companies may elect to operate under DBAs or fictitious names for a variety of reasons. DBA registration forms are filed with the County Clerk or Secretary of State for the state in which a business is located. Because the filing procedure is different in every area, the requirements for filling out DBA forms vary, although most forms require similar information and can be filled out in a matter of minutes.

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