How to Sign a Corporate Letter With a DBA

By Terry Masters

Corporations can use a fictitious business name, also known as a "doing business as" or DBA, for a variety of reasons, including to maintain public recognition and goodwill in certain markets when a corporation acquires another company with an established customer base. The DBA is simply an alias, like a nickname, and is used for marketing and other informal purposes. It is not the corporation's legal name. The corporation's managers must present company information in such a way that informs the recipient of the legal name of the business, particularly when drafting contracts, ordering checks and sending official correspondence.

Step 1

Create a signature section at the bottom of the corporate letter. Typically, the signature section starts with a closing salutation, such as "Sincerely." Leave enough space to allow the entire signature block to remain together on one page.

Step 2

Sign your name in ink. Type your name and corporate title under your signature. For example, John Smith would leave approximately four lines under the closing salutation to accommodate his signature, then type John Smith, Vice President. If you are using corporate letterhead that identifies your name and title, you do not need to include your title in your signature.

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Step 3

Indicate the name of the corporation and DBA under your title by using the phrase "trading as". For example, XYZ Corporation t/a ABC Foods. You can also use your letterhead to inform the recipient of the legal entity behind the DBA. Preprinted letterhead can indicate the name of the corporation and the DBA that it is trading under. In that case, you would not have to put the name of the corporation and DBA under your signature.

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How to Change From Sole Proprietor to Incorporation

While a sole proprietorship and corporation are both business entities, there are vast differences between the two. Choosing the correct form for your business’s needs is essential. A sole proprietorship is just an extension of the business owner. Establishing a sole proprietorship does not require registering with the state -- and the owner is personally liable for all the business’s obligations. A corporation is legally distinct from its owners, who are generally not personally liable for the business’s liabilities. Forming a corporation, however, requires registration with the state.

Setting Up a DBA in Massachusetts

A DBA, which is short for doing business as, is the registration form that a business owner must file when she does business under a name other than her real name. Not all states require you to register a DBA, but Massachusetts does. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law requires business owners to register a DBA to create a public record of the name and address of the true owner of a business. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5, DBA registrations are required for "any person conducting business in the Commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership." For example, if your name is Kent Plank and your business is Plank's Carpentry, you're using a name other than your real name and must register your business as a DBA. Similarly, if a corporation is named "Waldo's Wonders" in its articles of incorporation but the corporation wants to do business under a different name, the owner would have to register that name as a fictitious business name. In Massachusetts, you register a DBA in the city or town in which you do business.

Can I Have Many Businesses Under My Corporation?

A corporation is an independent legal entity that is formed under state law. It has an existence that is separate from its shareholders and has many of the same rights and privileges as a person under the law. These include owning property and investments, such as shares in other businesses. There is no limit on how many businesses a corporation can own.

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