How to Transfer a DBA to Another Person

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson

A DBA -- short for "doing business as" -- is a trade name that differs from your personal name. When you first create a business, its legal name defaults to the person or entity that owns it. In order to choose a different name, you must register a new alternative name by filling out a DBA form. A DBA is a valuable business asset that can be transferred to another party.

A DBA -- short for "doing business as" -- is a trade name that differs from your personal name. When you first create a business, its legal name defaults to the person or entity that owns it. In order to choose a different name, you must register a new alternative name by filling out a DBA form. A DBA is a valuable business asset that can be transferred to another party.

DBAs

In each state, every business must operate under a name that is not in use or confusingly similar to another business in that state. This requirement prevents public confusion over who is legally responsible for the business activity. If a business discovers that its name is already in use in a particular state or if it wants to use a name that is different from its legal one, the business must register an assumed name, also known as a DBA.

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Registration Process

Each state has its own requirements for filing a DBA. Some states register DBAs at the state level, but most register them at city or county levels. By registering a DBA, the business gains the right to use the name in that jurisdiction for a specified number of years. When the time period runs out, the business can renew its registration. Forms and additional information about the process can be found through online legal document providers.

Changing Contact Information

Each state and jurisdiction has its own DBA rules, but many do not offer a specific way to transfer ownership of a DBA to another person. However, one type of workaround for this issue is commonly used. A business owner can change the contact information for the DBA registration by filling out a form and paying a fee. In Texas, for example, this is the recognized way to change a DBA's ownership. The Texas form is called an Assumed Name Certificate. Changing the name of the business owner on a DBA form effectively transfers the DBA to the new person.

State Forms

Although many states do not have a specific way to transfer DBA ownership, some states do have rules in place for the process. For example, in Utah, a business owner must fill out an Application for Preparing a Letter of Transfer for a Business Name Registration. This application must be signed by both the old and new owners. However, a copy of a bill of sale can be used in place of the application. The rules on transferring a DBA differ from state to state.

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Cancelling a DBA

References

Related articles

How to Transfer a DBA to a New Entity in Texas

Texas law allows businesses to operate under an assumed name, also known as a "doing business as" or DBA, for any legitimate business reason, as long as the name is unique and properly registered with an official state entity. DBAs are registered at the state or county level in Texas, depending on the type of entity that will be using the name and where in the state the entity will be doing business. By law, transferring the DBA to a new entity requires an authorized party to file a new assumed name certificate with the appropriate state and local offices within 60 days of the transfer, updating the business ownership information.

How to Add a DBA to an S-Corp

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Can an LLC Have More Than One DBA?

Running a successful business requires a keen understanding of the marketplace. In the initial stages of operations, this foresight is important for determining how to structure a company and the names it will use in conducting transactions with the public. A limited liability company allows owners to enjoy the "pass-through" tax advantages of partnerships as well as avoiding personal liability for the business's debts. While state law requires that LLCs operate under the legal name contained in their Articles of Organization, sometimes this name is not desirable from a branding perspective, particularly if the company will market very different products or services. In that case, the LLC can register one or more "doing business as" names with the state.

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