What Do I Need to Open a DBA Account in South Carolina?

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

What Do I Need to Open a DBA Account in South Carolina?

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

If you operate a sole proprietorship under a name other than your legal name, you may want to open a financial account to manage the business' finances. To open a bank or investment account under a "doing business as" (DBA) name in South Carolina, you need to first determine what information the financial institution requires.

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Why Businesses May Use DBA Names and DBA Accounts

DBA names, also referred to as fictitious or assumed names, are common for sole proprietors, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, and corporations. A DBA name can help a business connect to its intended audience by using a name that is more closely aligned with the business' products or services, rather than using the sole proprietor's or business entity's legal name.

Businesses generally open bank accounts using the business' name in order to keep business and personal assets separate. In the case of a corporate entity that uses different DBA names for different stores or services under the same corporate umbrella, having a separate bank account for each business' DBA name can simplify record-keeping and accounting efforts.

Registration Requirements

South Carolina does not require sole proprietors to register with the Secretary of State's office. Corporations (both for-profit and nonprofit), limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and LLCs must register with the state.

Regardless of whether the state requires registration, business owners must ensure that the name they want to use, fictitious or otherwise, is available. The Secretary of State's website provides a searchable corporate database on its website. However, South Carolina only registers the legal names, not DBA names.

Businesses that organized or incorporated in other states whose legal names are not available for use in South Carolina must file fictitious name forms to register their assumed names if they want to operate in South Carolina.

Information You May Need to Open a DBA Account

The specific information you need to open a DBA account depends on the financial institution's requirements. In general, you need to provide a tax identification number for the business as well as any relevant business licenses or permits.

To open a financial account for a business using a DBA name, you need to first determine whether your business can use your Social Security number for tax purposes. You may need to obtain a separate tax ID number, also called an employer identification number (EIN), from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). More information about EINs is available on the IRS website. If you are unsure about these requirements, you may wish to consult an accountant or a business formation attorney.

Some financial institutions may require proof that your business is appropriately licensed or registered to conduct business. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to produce county- and/or city-issued permits when you open your business bank account.

DBA names can help business owners with their advertising and marketing efforts. However, they do not provide sole proprietors with any protection from legal liability. If you want a business structure that provides some personal liability protection, you may wish to evaluate the potential benefits and drawbacks of establishing a corporation, an LLC, or a limited liability partnership.

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.