How to File Your DBA in Dallas

By Terry Masters

An assumed business name, also known as a "doing business as," allows you to operate your business under a name that is not the company's legal name as recorded on your official business registration or license. State business laws require every business to use a name that distinguishes it from other companies to avoid confusion, and DBAs make that possible. In Dallas, a DBA must be registered with the appropriate office before you can use it to conduct business.

County-Level Registration

If you want to use a DBA in the city of Dallas, you must register the name with the Dallas county clerk's office. This registration gives you the authority to use the name only in this particular county. If you want to use the name in other counties in Texas, you must submit a separate registration in each county. The Dallas county clerk maintains a website where you can find instructions for registering a DBA.

Name Availability

You are responsible for ensuring that the DBA you want to use is available for use in Dallas county. The county clerk's website provides access to an "assumed business names" database that contains a record of all of the DBAs that are in use in the county. The clerk's office recommends that you search for the name you want to use and any close variation, since the office will not approve the use of a DBA that can be confused with an existing name.

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Registration Certificate

Dallas county uses two different DBA registration forms. If you are organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership or other unincorporated entity, you should use the Certificate of Ownership for Unincorporated Business or Profession. If you are incorporated, use Assumed Name Certificate for an Incorporated Business or Profession. These forms can be downloaded from the Dallas county clerk's website, or you can request a copy by mail.

Filing With the County Clerk

The DBA certificate must be mailed or delivered in person to the Dallas county clerk's office in duplicate and with the appropriate filing fee attached. Signatures on the certificates must be notarized. If the clerk accepts your DBA, the registration is good for 10 years. If, during that time, you decide you no longer need to use the name, you can submit a Withdrawal Notice of an Assumed Name to the same office to cancel the registration.

Considerations

If your business is a corporation, you must have an active registration on file with the Texas secretary of state's office before you can register a DBA in Dallas county. This means your corporation must be either a domestic corporation with articles of incorporation on file with the state or an out-of-state corporation with a Texas certificate of authority to do business in the state. A corporation must also register its DBA with the state, in addition to registering the DBA in Dallas County.

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How to Sign a Corporate Letter With a DBA
 

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How to Register a DBA Name So No One Else Can Use It

Companies and individuals can operate under fictitious, or assumed, names called DBAs. DBA stands for "doing business as" -- and state laws regarding DBAs vary. It is a misdemeanor crime in Missouri and Michigan to conduct business using an unregistered DBA. Other states, such as Tennessee, do not always require you to register assumed names.

Cancelling a DBA

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.

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 signifies that an individual or company is doing business under a fictitious name. One common example would be a chain store franchise, operated under a commercial name familiar to everyone but actually run by an individual or firm owning the local franchise. State laws govern the creation and use of DBA fictitious names.

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