How to Fill Out DBA Forms

By Louis Kroeck

DBA is short for "doing business as." Sole proprietors and even larger companies may elect to operate under DBAs or fictitious names for a variety of reasons. DBA registration forms are filed with the County Clerk or Secretary of State for the state in which a business is located. Because the filing procedure is different in every area, the requirements for filling out DBA forms vary, although most forms require similar information and can be filled out in a matter of minutes.

DBA is short for "doing business as." Sole proprietors and even larger companies may elect to operate under DBAs or fictitious names for a variety of reasons. DBA registration forms are filed with the County Clerk or Secretary of State for the state in which a business is located. Because the filing procedure is different in every area, the requirements for filling out DBA forms vary, although most forms require similar information and can be filled out in a matter of minutes.

Step 1

Obtain a DBA registration form for your jurisdiction. You should be able to obtain this form from your County Clerk, or Secretary of State in states that handle DBA filings at the state level rather than through the county government.

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Step 2

Fill in the required information on the form. Typically, this will include your name, address, city, state and ZIP code. Confirm that all information is entered correctly.

Step 3

Write your DBA or fictitious name on the form. Generally, you cannot use a DBA that is already being used in your state. Perform a thorough name check through your county or state website, or consider having an online legal document preparation and filing service help you with this task.

Step 4

Write the address of your primary business location in the designated space on the form. Some jurisdictions do not allow the use of post office box addresses, so you should be prepared to provide a physical address.

Step 5

Specify your business entity type on the form. The choices typically include sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or corporation.

Step 6

Provide any other information requested on the DBA form. In some areas, you'll be asked to provide a brief statement describing your company's products or services. Some states require you to disclose any previous fictitious names for which you have previously applied.

Step 7

Sign and date the form. Your state may require that you do this in the presence of a notary.

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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.

How to Get a DBA in Virginia

A DBA, short for "doing business as," is known as a fictitious name in Virginia. Using a fictitious name allows you to operate your business using something other than your given name. For example, if you'd rather call your grocery store "Family Friendly Foods" than use your name, you must register "Family Friendly Foods" as a fictitious name. Virginia law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to a year in jail if you use a fictitious name without registering.

How to Add a DBA to an S-Corp

A DBA is an acronym for “doing business as," and can be used by any business owner, including an S Corporation, to distinguish the business’s products and services from its competitors. Any type of trade name, fictitious name or assumed name used for a business is generally referred to as a DBA. To add a DBA to your S-Corp, you must follow the requirements of the state law where your S-Corp was formed. Most states require registration of a DBA with a government agency, with some states further requiring publication of the DBA in an approved newspaper.

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