How to Sign a Corporate Letter With a DBA

By Terry Masters

Corporations can use a fictitious business name, also known as a "doing business as" or DBA, for a variety of reasons, including to maintain public recognition and goodwill in certain markets when a corporation acquires another company with an established customer base. The DBA is simply an alias, like a nickname, and is used for marketing and other informal purposes. It is not the corporation's legal name. The corporation's managers must present company information in such a way that informs the recipient of the legal name of the business, particularly when drafting contracts, ordering checks and sending official correspondence.

Corporations can use a fictitious business name, also known as a "doing business as" or DBA, for a variety of reasons, including to maintain public recognition and goodwill in certain markets when a corporation acquires another company with an established customer base. The DBA is simply an alias, like a nickname, and is used for marketing and other informal purposes. It is not the corporation's legal name. The corporation's managers must present company information in such a way that informs the recipient of the legal name of the business, particularly when drafting contracts, ordering checks and sending official correspondence.

Step 1

Create a signature section at the bottom of the corporate letter. Typically, the signature section starts with a closing salutation, such as "Sincerely." Leave enough space to allow the entire signature block to remain together on one page.

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Step 2

Sign your name in ink. Type your name and corporate title under your signature. For example, John Smith would leave approximately four lines under the closing salutation to accommodate his signature, then type John Smith, Vice President. If you are using corporate letterhead that identifies your name and title, you do not need to include your title in your signature.

Step 3

Indicate the name of the corporation and DBA under your title by using the phrase "trading as". For example, XYZ Corporation t/a ABC Foods. You can also use your letterhead to inform the recipient of the legal entity behind the DBA. Preprinted letterhead can indicate the name of the corporation and the DBA that it is trading under. In that case, you would not have to put the name of the corporation and DBA under your signature.

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When Do You Need to Register a DBA for an S-Corp?

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Can You Have More Than One DBA for a California Corporation?

In California, an incorporated business is eligible to hold itself out to the public under a fictitious business name, or DBA, that’s different from the corporation’s legal name. There are a number of advantages to using one or more DBAs for a California corporation, such as when the legal name doesn’t exactly relate to the business. But before you can start using a DBA, you’ll need to file some paperwork in the California county where your business operates.

What Determines the Legal Signature for a Corporation?

A corporation is a business created under state law that is a separate legal entity from the individuals who own or run it, so it must rely upon human beings to sign legal documents on its behalf. A corporation is managed by a board of directors, which generally appoints officers to run the company's day-to-day operations. Just because an individual has an impressive title does not automatically mean his signature has the authority to legally bind the corporation.

How to Establish a DBA

A DBA, or "doing business as," is a name you use for your business besides your real name. DBAs are also known as fictitious names or trade names in some states. For example, if you want to call your business "Glamorous Ghost Writers," you have to register that name before you may use it for business. A DBA allows you to have a more descriptive name for your business than just "Jane Doe" or "Kevin Smart, Inc." Even in states where registration is not necessary, you often receive additional protection against others using the same name if you register with the state.

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