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Foreign Qualification

Doing Business As (DBA)

A DBA is a name that’s different from the legal name of the company. It is a name the business uses when marketing itself to the public and dealing with customers. A sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation is said to be “doing business as” whatever fictitious name it has filed.

You may have heard DBA (Doing Business As) referred to in a variety of ways. Some other names for DBA include:

  • Fictitious business name

  • Assumed business name

  • Trade name

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A DBA lets the public know the true owner of a business. The DBA designation was created as a form of consumer protection, to prevent unscrupulous business owners from operating under a different name to avoid legal trouble.

A company can have multiple DBAs. An example of using multiple DBAs is when a company wants to market locally under a distinct brand identity. The company name is generic, and then, each distinct identity brand is filed as a DBA. 

Requirements to file a DBA

  • Requirements for filing a DBA vary from state to state, and county to county

  • Filing fees vary from a one-time fee to annual renewals

  • DBAs should be filed before transacting business under the ficticous name

  • Businesses may not use any terms, such as "Inc.", "LLC", etc., that imply a DBA is a registered business entity

  • A DBA application can be denied if the name requested is the same as or confusingly similar to the name of another business; particularly if it will operate in the same locale, compete for the same customer base, or is protected by a trademark registered by another company

Next Steps

If you are ready to file for a DBA, Kelly Mattarocci, CPA is here to help you with all your business registration and compliance filings. 

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