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.

In California, every business owner who uses a fictitious business name, also known as a DBA, or "doing business as," must properly register that name with the county clerk. This is to inform the public of who actually owns the business. In Los Angeles County, the DBA application must be filed with the office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, which has four locations—Los Angeles, Lancaster, Norwalk, and Van Nuys.

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Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is a common type of business structure that allows an individual to start a business without having to register with the state. Over 23 million people have sole proprietorships, representing about 73 percent of businesses in the U.S.

The legal name of a sole proprietorship is the legal name of the business owner. If a business owner uses their legal name as their business name, they do not need to register with the state. However, if the business owner does not wish to run a business using their legal name, they can file a DBA. Since a business owner's legal name does not describe the type of business they are running, using a DBA is a helpful way to market the business to potential customers and effectively communicate the services or products offered. If the business owner chooses to use a DBA, California requires the business owner to register the DBA with the County Clerk.

How to File a DBA in Los Angeles

Under California Business Code Section 17910, a sole proprietor is required to file a fictitious business name statement within 40 days from the date the business started operating. Los Angeles' fictitious business name statement is available for free on the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's website and can be filed at one of the previously mentioned locations in person or by mail.

To file a fictitious business name statement, a business owner needs to provide certain information, such as:

  • Name of the DBA
  • The DBA's address
  • Name and address (both home and mailing, if different) of the business owner
  • Clear indication of filing as an individual

Requirement to Publish and Give Notice

In order to give the general public notice of a DBA, California requires the fictitious business name statement to be published in a newspaper that is broadly circulated in Los Angles County within 30 days of filing. The publication must occur at least once every week for four consecutive weeks.

Giving notice in the newspaper is a requirement because it notifies the community of either a new business or a business now operating under a different name as well as the ownership. The County Clerk can provide a list of newspapers that meet this requirement.

Expiration and Renewal

In California, a DBA expires every five years. If a sole proprietor wants to renew a DBA and none of their information has changed, they must submit a renewal statement with the County Clerk indicating they would like to keep using the DBA. A renewal statement does not need to be published.

If any information from the original fictitious business name statement has changed, the business owner must file a new statement with a publication requirement.

In addition, if a sole proprietor no longer uses a DBA before it expires, they must file a statement of abandonment for the DBA. This statement is also required to be published in a broadly circulated county newspaper.

There are many benefits of registering a DBA as a sole proprietor. The process is simple, straightforward, and a cost-effective way to start a business. After following the specific steps shown here, you'll be able to file your DBA in Los Angeles and inform the community of your business.

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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