Cancelling a DBA

By Anna Assad

A "doing business as" name, also known as a trade name and a fictitious business name, is the name under which a business operates that may be different from its original, official name. A company may use DBAs to conduct business under a different name for various reasons. For example, a foreign company may use a DBA in a specific location because its creation name is being used by another business in the same area. When a business no longer needs its DBA name, it can cancel the name registration with the local government agency that handles DBA registrations.

Registration

A business registers a DBA by filing an application or statement with the state or county agency responsible for the geographic area in which the business will operate under that name. The registration process permits the business to use the DBA name in the locale where the application is filed and also may prevent another business from using the same name in that location. Some states, such as Alabama and Arizona, don't require formal DBA registration, but do allow businesses to register DBA names. South Carolina allows only foreign businesses to file a DBA.

Cancellation

Cancellation procedures vary by state. In Utah, for example, to cancel a DBA, a business operator must write a cancellation letter and send it to the state corporation department. Other states have specific DNA cancellation forms for businesses to use. A DBA automatically lapses at the end of the registration term if the business does not renew the registration. Registration terms vary by state; a business in Minnesota must renew a DBA once a year, but a Florida business is only required to renew the registration every five years.

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Transfer

Some states allow a business owner to transfer a DBA name from one business to another without first cancelling the active DBA registration. Transferring a DBA name prevents another unrelated company from registering the same name before the original name owner's new DBA application is approved. In Utah, the owner of the business with the original DBA can attach a letter to the new DBA application asking for a transfer of the same DBA name for the new business.

Considerations

Some states require the cancellation of a DBA once the business that owns the name undergoes a change in ownership or is no longer operating. Depending on the state, a business may have to file a DBA application in each county in which the business will use the DBA name. If the business has filed a DBA in multiple counties, it must also cancel the DBA in each of those counties.

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The Procedure to Transfer a Business Proprietorship
 

References

Related articles

How to Transfer a DBA to a New Entity in Texas

Texas law allows businesses to operate under an assumed name, also known as a "doing business as" or DBA, for any legitimate business reason, as long as the name is unique and properly registered with an official state entity. DBAs are registered at the state or county level in Texas, depending on the type of entity that will be using the name and where in the state the entity will be doing business. By law, transferring the DBA to a new entity requires an authorized party to file a new assumed name certificate with the appropriate state and local offices within 60 days of the transfer, updating the business ownership information.

Can an LLC Have More Than One DBA?

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.

How to Change From a DBA to an LLC

Any type of business can use a DBA, or "doing business as," designation as long as the proper paperwork is filed with the state where the business is operating. However, if the business is only using a DBA, it is most likely operating as a sole proprietorship. A sole proprietor must file articles of organization with the state to covert the business into a limited liability company, or LLC, and inform the state that the DBA registration is to be transferred to the new company.

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