Can an LLC Have More Than One DBA?

By Wayne Thomas

Running a successful business requires a keen understanding of the marketplace. In the initial stages of operations, this foresight is important for determining how to structure a company and the names it will use in conducting transactions with the public. A limited liability company allows owners to enjoy the "pass-through" tax advantages of partnerships as well as avoiding personal liability for the business's debts. While state law requires that LLCs operate under the legal name contained in their Articles of Organization, sometimes this name is not desirable from a branding perspective, particularly if the company will market very different products or services. In that case, the LLC can register one or more "doing business as" names with the state.

Overview of LLCs and DBAs

Many business owners wish to set up their company to avoid personal liability for company debts and pay taxes only at the individual level, also known as "pass-through" taxation. While an LLC accomplishes these goals, sometimes the use of the company's legal name is not desirable. A DBA name -- also known as a fictitious name, trade name or assumed name -- is a name a company uses, different from its legal name, to conduct business. The use of a DBA is governed by state law and some states require that no two businesses use the same DBA.

Registration of DBAs

Once the LLC's owners agree upon a DBA and ensure that the name is unique within the state and locality where it will conduct business, the next step is registration. The purpose of registration is to put the public and local government authorities on notice as to what person or entity is behind the name, making it possible to tie responsibility for the operations back to the owners. Failure to register a DBA before beginning operations may lead to the regulatory state or local authority imposing a penalty on the business.

File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now

Multiple DBAs Are Allowed

Registration of the DBA name with the state is fairly simple for an LLC and involves the completion of a form indicating the name and paying the filing fee. While there is no limit to the number of names an LLC can operate under, each name typically needs to be registered separately.

Reasons for Multiple DBAs

Selecting a business name is of vital importance for an LLC. Many factors must be considered, particularly with regard to how the name will affect the business's success in the marketplace. Multiple DBA names can allow a company that will be operating in multiple markets to tailor separate names for each product or service line. Further, it may be that one name proves to not be beneficial to the business or it may desire to rebrand its image and register a new DBA.

File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now
How Important Is a DBA?

References

Related articles

How to Operate an LLC Under a Personal Name

A limited liability company, or LLC, must register with a state. Part of the process of registering is selecting a business name that complies with state law. The registration process differs from state to state, but all states have the same two legal requirements for business names: the name must be distinguishable from any other business operating in the state, and it must include a suffix that alerts the public to the business's status as an LLC. Any name can be used, including the name of a person, as long as the name meets these two requirements.

How to Deregister a Business Name

Canceling a business name is an important step for closing businesses, but also for any company that no longer wants to use a registered business name. Generally, business names are approved and registered under state law. As important as it is to select an available business name that correctly identifies a business, it is equally important to retire a business name that you are no longer using.

How to Pick an LLC Name

The laws of every state allow for the creation of business associations. A popular choice of business association among small business owners is the limited liability corporation, or LLC. An LLC provides the protections of limited liability for investors and pass-through taxation, and the annual filing requirements are not as difficult to comply with as those for a corporation. All states require you to choose a name for your LLC. However, each state has different rules governing what name you can give to your LLC.

Related articles

What Does DBA Mean in Business?

In the business world, DBA - which stands for "doing business as" - is a vitally important acronym to know. It ...

How to Apply for an LLC in Texas

An LLC is a business entity that offers a corporation's protection of limited liability for its owners, known as ...

Business Registration for a DBA in Illinois

A business may elect to operate under a DBA ("doing business as") name that is different from its legal name. When this ...

Do General Partnerships Require a DBA?

DBA, or doing business as, occurs when a business operates under a name other than its legal name. A general ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED