How to Sign a Corporate Letter with a DBA

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

How to Sign a Corporate Letter with a DBA

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

As part of forming a corporation, the owners must choose a business name and register it with the state agency that has jurisdiction over businesses, typically the Secretary of State. The name a business uses when filing with the state is the corporation's legal name, which must be used on all official documents.

Woman in button down shirt looking over documents in three ring binder

A corporation can subsequently choose to operate under a "doing business as" (DBA) name, which is distinct from its legal name. Other terms for a DBA include a fictitious business name, trade name, or an assumed name. There are a number of reasons why a business owner might want to operate under a DBA, including greater name recognition, marketing or branding advantages, business expansion, or new ventures.

If you own a corporation that operates under a DBA, you'll still have to use the actual business name when drafting and signing official documents such as corporate contracts and other correspondence. Follow these steps when signing a corporate letter with your DBA.

1. Type the corporate letter.

Official documents should almost never be handwritten, as this lacks professionalism and can damage your business's credibility. It is best to type a corporate letter on company letterhead with a commonly used font, such as Times New Roman. The font size should be 10, 12 or 14.

2. Create a signature section.

The bottom of the letter should include a formal signature section. Typically, it should start with a closing salutation such as "Sincerely" or "Best." There should be enough space in this area for a handwritten signature. Generally, four lines below the salutation should suffice. However, if you have a bigger or smaller than average signature, adjust the space accordingly.

3. Type your name, title, and corporation name.

You should input your name, title, and business name below your signature line. It is common to type your name here because not all signatures are legible. Again, you must include the corporation's legal name as most states require corporations to sign such documents using their legal name.

4. Type the corporation's DBA name under the legal name.

Under the corporation's legal name, you should type the corporation's DBA name. Providing both to the recipient is helpful and thoroughly identifies your business. In some instances, the majority of people only recognize a company by their DBA name. In others, the recipient may only recognize a corporation's legal name. Thus, it is useful to include both names when signing official documents.

5. Sign your name.

Using a blue or black ink pen, sign your name. Never sign your name in pencil, as this can be erased or otherwise improperly tampered with after it leaves your hands. Similarly, always use blue or black ink, as any other color lacks professionalism.

There are several ways that someone can choose to sign a document, but when sending an official letter with your DBA, be sure to follow these steps. Keep in mind that you are sending a corporate letter for professional purposes, and want the recipient to understand who is sending it, particularly if the receiving party only knows you by your DBA name.

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.