Do You Need a DBA for Sole Proprietorship?

By Maggie Lourdes

A sole proprietor can work under her own name or operate under a catchy business nickname. A DBA, which stands for "doing business as," can help you create a marketable trade name and identity. State laws regarding DBAs vary. A reputable, online legal document provider can complete DBA registration requirements that may apply to you.

DBA Laws

A sole proprietor is not required to adopt a fictitious, or assumed, name. However, if he does use a DBA, he may be required to register it with his state or county clerk. Generally, you cannot use a DBA that is already registered with another individual or company. It is important to know DBA registration rules that may apply to you. For example, in Michigan, sole proprietors must register their DBA. However, Tennessee does not require sole proprietors to register an assumed name.

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Related articles

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.

How to Get a Sole Proprietorship

For an independent entrepreneur, a sole proprietorship is a common business structure because it is relatively simple to set up and allows for a great deal of flexibility in management. As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for the business, but you also retain all of the business's profits. Although there are some similarities for all sole proprietorships, business formation is determined by state law where the sole proprietorship is formed.

Define DBA

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."

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