Define DBA

By Mark Kennan

A DBA, short for "doing business as," refers to the name a company or individual uses when it operates under a different name than its legally registered name. Most states require you to register your DBA with either your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where you're doing business. DBAs are also called "assumed names," "trade names," or "fictitious names."

When You Need a DBA

Sole proprietors need to register a DBA when using any name besides their given names. For example, if your name is Kevin Johnson and you want to open "Johnson's Donuts," you would need to register that fictitious business name. Legally registered entities, like limited liability companies and corporations, must register a DBA when using any name besides the official name in their registration documents. For example, if you register a corporation as "Michael's Holding Companies, Inc." and then decide to open a store called "Michael's Pet Store," you must register the latter name as a DBA.

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How to File a DBA on Your Own in Iowa

References

Related articles

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

What you'll need to open a DBA account, or "doing business as" account, in South Carolina depends on your bank's requirements. The State of South Carolina does not register DBA accounts, according to the South Carolina Secretary of State website. Only corporations and partnerships can register with the state.

How to Establish a DBA

A DBA, or "doing business as," is a name you use for your business besides your real name. DBAs are also known as fictitious names or trade names in some states. For example, if you want to call your business "Glamorous Ghost Writers," you have to register that name before you may use it for business. A DBA allows you to have a more descriptive name for your business than just "Jane Doe" or "Kevin Smart, Inc." Even in states where registration is not necessary, you often receive additional protection against others using the same name if you register with the state.

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 partnership can always choose to use its legal name, which is the combination of the names of the partners; a DBA is not required. If the partnership chooses to operate using a name other than its legal name, however, many states require that the business register this name.

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