How to Change a DBA in Los Angeles

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

How to Change a DBA in Los Angeles

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

Businesses often use "doing business as" or DBA names when they want to operate the business under a name other than the sole proprietor's or company's legal name. Establishing or changing a DBA in Los Angeles County involves registering a fictitious business name statement with the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office and publishing the new DBA name in an approved newspaper once per week for four consecutive weeks.

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Confirming Name Availability for a Fictitious Business Name

Before selecting a DBA name for a new business or changing a DBA name, business owners must ensure the name they want to use is not already being used by another Los Angeles County business. The County of Los Angeles website offers a free Fictitious Business Name Search tool that can be used to verify name availability.

In addition, DBA names cannot be misleading. For example, implying that a sole proprietorship is a corporation or an LLC by adding "inc." or "LLC" to the end of a DBA name is not allowed.

Registering or Changing a DBA Name

When establishing a new DBA name, the business owner, corporate officer, LLC manager or officer, general partner, or trustee must sign a Fictitious Business Name Statement. That statement must include the street address for the principal place of business and must include the names and residential addresses for each owner of the business.

Applicants must pay a fee for a DBA name and file both the Fictitious Business Name Statement and a notarized Affidavit of Identity form. These documents can be filed in person at the LAX Courthouse, in Lancaster, Van Nuys, or in the main office in Norwalk. Applications and Affidavits can also be mailed to the county for processing or can be presented by a third party on behalf of the applicant.

When a business with an existing DBA name wants to change that name to something different, the process involves the same steps as creating and registering a new DBA name. The business owner must submit a new Fictitious Name Application after verifying name availability and must meet the same publication requirements.

Publication Requirement

California law states that within 30 days of filing an application to use a fictitious business name, the applicant must publish a statement once each week for four consecutive weeks in a general circulation newspaper.

This is a requirement because it informs the public of new business in the area as well as its name and ownership. A partial list of approved newspapers is available on the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's website.

When a DBA Name Is No Longer Needed

A fictitious business name will be considered "abandoned" in Los Angeles County when the name was filed or renewed in the last five years but is no longer being used. When a business owner changes their DBA to a new name, the previous name will need to be abandoned.

Business owners who abandon a previous DBA name must file a Statement of Abandonment of Use of Fictitious Business Name form and pay the required fees. This statement must also be published in a general circulation newspaper once each week for four consecutive weeks.

It's important to understand the specific requirements for changing the name of your DBA in Los Angeles to avoid having your application rejected. Searching for existing business names in LA County, filing your application properly, and seeking the assistance of an attorney if need be will all set you up for success in this process.

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.