How to Fill Out DBA Forms

By Louis Kroeck

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.

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.

Step 1

Obtain a DBA registration form for your jurisdiction. You should be able to obtain this form from your County Clerk, or Secretary of State in states that handle DBA filings at the state level rather than through the county government.

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Step 2

Fill in the required information on the form. Typically, this will include your name, address, city, state and ZIP code. Confirm that all information is entered correctly.

Step 3

Write your DBA or fictitious name on the form. Generally, you cannot use a DBA that is already being used in your state. Perform a thorough name check through your county or state website, or consider having an online legal document preparation and filing service help you with this task.

Step 4

Write the address of your primary business location in the designated space on the form. Some jurisdictions do not allow the use of post office box addresses, so you should be prepared to provide a physical address.

Step 5

Specify your business entity type on the form. The choices typically include sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or corporation.

Step 6

Provide any other information requested on the DBA form. In some areas, you'll be asked to provide a brief statement describing your company's products or services. Some states require you to disclose any previous fictitious names for which you have previously applied.

Step 7

Sign and date the form. Your state may require that you do this in the presence of a notary.

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How to Add a DBA to an S-Corp

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How to Incorporate a DBA in California

The term “DBA” is an acronym for “doing business as” and refers to a fictitious name that a company may use in the course of transacting business. A DBA must be registered if the company wishes to use a name other than what appears in its articles of incorporation. It is not possible to incorporate a DBA as you would do with a business, but you can incorporate your company and then register a DBA. You might wish to do this for several reasons, one being the fact that a fictitious name allows you to create a unique persona for your business. Fictitious business names must be registered in the county where the company has its principal place of business. Statewide fictitious name filings are not available in California.

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.

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.

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