How to Transfer a DBA to Another Person

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson

A DBA -- short for "doing business as" -- is a trade name that differs from your personal name. When you first create a business, its legal name defaults to the person or entity that owns it. In order to choose a different name, you must register a new alternative name by filling out a DBA form. A DBA is a valuable business asset that can be transferred to another party.

DBAs

In each state, every business must operate under a name that is not in use or confusingly similar to another business in that state. This requirement prevents public confusion over who is legally responsible for the business activity. If a business discovers that its name is already in use in a particular state or if it wants to use a name that is different from its legal one, the business must register an assumed name, also known as a DBA.

Registration Process

Each state has its own requirements for filing a DBA. Some states register DBAs at the state level, but most register them at city or county levels. By registering a DBA, the business gains the right to use the name in that jurisdiction for a specified number of years. When the time period runs out, the business can renew its registration. Forms and additional information about the process can be found through online legal document providers.

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Changing Contact Information

Each state and jurisdiction has its own DBA rules, but many do not offer a specific way to transfer ownership of a DBA to another person. However, one type of workaround for this issue is commonly used. A business owner can change the contact information for the DBA registration by filling out a form and paying a fee. In Texas, for example, this is the recognized way to change a DBA's ownership. The Texas form is called an Assumed Name Certificate. Changing the name of the business owner on a DBA form effectively transfers the DBA to the new person.

State Forms

Although many states do not have a specific way to transfer DBA ownership, some states do have rules in place for the process. For example, in Utah, a business owner must fill out an Application for Preparing a Letter of Transfer for a Business Name Registration. This application must be signed by both the old and new owners. However, a copy of a bill of sale can be used in place of the application. The rules on transferring a DBA differ from state to state.

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How to Transfer a DBA to a New Entity in Texas
 

References

Related articles

How to Transfer an EIN to a New DBA

"Doing Business As" names and Employer Identification Numbers serve important, yet distinct, purposes in business operations. A DBA allows a business to operate under a name other than its legal name, while an EIN serves to identify the company to the state and federal authorities for tax purposes. A business generally only has one EIN but may change DBAs. If a business chooses to change its DBA name, it must do so at the state or local level. However, because a business only has one EIN, a new DBA is automatically tied to the old EIN.

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.

How to Set Up a DBA in California

A DBA name, also called a fictitious or assumed name, grants an individual or company the right to do business under a name other than the individual's or company's legal name. California provides entrepreneurs with a relatively simple and straightforward process for setting up a DBA, which can be accomplished through the mail or in person in your county of residence. Setting up a DBA can lead to a successful career as a self-employed individual, or it can be the first step in building a larger organization.

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