Filing a Sole Proprietor DBA in Los Angeles

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Filing a Sole Proprietor DBA in Los Angeles

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

If you are doing business in Los Angeles County and one of the following apply to you, you will need to file a fictitious business name (FBN), also sometimes called a doing business as (DBA) filing, with the County.

  • A sole proprietor using a name for your business other than your own legal name (such as selling homemade muffins at the farmer's market with the name Deb's Muffins).
  • Already set up as a legally created LLC or corporation and are using a name other than that legal business name.

DBA is a way for you to notify your county and people you do business with of the name of the person or company that actually owns the business and is responsible for it.

Curly haired woman gazing into laptop screen

Name Search

Before you can file for an FBN in Los Angeles County, you need to first make sure that the name you want to use for your business is not already in use or not too similar to another name in current use.

You can do a preliminary search yourself on the Los Angeles County Registrar site but you will also need to complete a formal name check in person or by mail. You'll pay no fee if this is done in person or a small fee for a name search by mail.

Register Your Name

To register your business name with the county, you must complete a fictitious business name statement. You can submit it online or by mail—check the registrar's website for the correct address. The application requires the following information:

  • Fictitious business name
  • Business address
  • Name and signature of the owner
  • Owner's address
  • If owned by an LLC or corporation, a printed form from the California secretary of state of good standing for the business

Both the online and snail mail applications require that a print copy of the FBN statement and an affidavit of identity form be completed, notarized, and mailed to the county registrar. You must also pay a small filing fee when the application is filed.

Publication Requirement

Once you complete and file the application with the county, you are required to print a copy of the application once per week for four consecutive weeks in a general circulation newspaper approved by the county; check with the registrar's office for a list of newspapers.

The publication must begin within 30 days of the date you file the application with the registrar's office. Proof of publication must be filed with the registrar's office once it is completed.

Renewing Your FBN

Once your FBN is filed, it is valid for five years. If you wish to renew it at that time, you will need to file a renewal with the registrar and pay a filing fee. The renewal process is identical to the original filing process, except publication is not required.

If you do not renew your FBN after five years, it will expire. If you wish to abandon the name before the five years are up, you must file a statement of abandonment with the registrar.

Filing for an FBN in Los Angeles County ensures that your business complies with the law and that no one else can use the name you have selected.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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