How to File for a DBA in Texas

By Brette Sember, J.D.

How to File for a DBA in Texas

By Brette Sember, J.D.

If you or your company plans to conduct business in Texas under any name other than your legal personal name or the business name your company has registered with the Secretary of State, then you will be using an assumed, or fictitious, name. To legally do so, you will need to file paperwork with the state that indicates you are "doing business as" (DBA) the new name.

American and Texan flags flying in front of colonnaded building

What Is a DBA?

A DBA is a form used to notify the state and the consumers you do business with that you are doing business under a name that is not your legal name. This allows the state or any person or company you work with to find out who is legally responsible for the business being run under this name. It also allows you to open a bank account using the business name you have chosen.

How to File Your DBA in Texas

Filing your DBA notifies the state that you are doing business under this new name and provides a record for the public of who owns your business and who is legally responsible for it.

Step 1: Check to be sure the name you want is not in use.

Before you can file your DBA with the state of Texas, you will first need to check to make sure that no other business is using the name you plan to use. You can call the Secretary of State to check name availability at (512) 463-5555, or you can email to inquire at corpinfo@sos.texas.gov.

You can reserve the name at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/sosda/index.shtml for the cost of $1 for each search conducted.

Step 2: Obtain the form for acquiring an assumed name.

Next you'll need to print out Form 503, General Information (Assumed Name Certificate), from the Texas Secretary of State's website. The form can be completed by you or by your legal representative (your attorney or registered agent).

Step 3: Fill out name and business type.

Fill out items 1 through 4 on the form. You will need the following information to complete this section of the form:

  • The proposed assumed name you want to use
  • The type of entity or individual that is filing the certificate
  • Your type of business organization—that is, sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc.
  • Any file number, if one exists, assigned to that business by the Texas Secretary of State

Step 4: Fill out address and duration of use of the name.

Fill out items 5 through 7 with the following information:

  • The jurisdiction of your main office
  • The office's legal or mailing address for the main office
  • The duration of use of the assumed name. Note that the maximum duration is 10 years

Complete item 8, naming the county or counties in which the assumed name will be used.

Step 5: Return the completed certificate to the Secretary of State.

Sign and date the completed form. The form can be signed by the individual operating the business or a legal representative of the business.

Return the form with the $25 filing fee to the Secretary of State, P.O. Box 13697, Austin, TX 78711-3697. You can pay with a personal check, money order, LegalEase debit card, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa. Checks or money orders are accepted if payable through a U.S. bank or financial institution and made out to the Secretary of State. There is a 2.7% convenience fee for paying with a credit card.

Note: If your business is 100 percent veteran owned, you may qualify to have your filing fees waived by the state of Texas.

Step 6: File the certificate also with the county.

You will also need to file the certificate with the county clerk in the county where you have your principal place of business. If your principal place of business is outside the state, then file it with the county where you have an office.

Note that the clerk's fees for these kinds of filings vary by county.

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.