There comes a time in many a limited liability company’s life where it becomes necessary to adopt an assumed business name. We know what you’re thinking: How exactly is an assumed business name any different than a fictitious business name? And where does a DBA fit in with all this? Well, don’t worry because, while their application may vary, all three terms are essentially interchangeable.
Regardless of what you want to call your assumed business name, let’s clarify what we mean. We’re discussing a name you choose for your business that is different from the legal registered name for your LLC or other corporation. Whatever name you select needs to then be filed with the Secretary of State or other governing body of any and all states in which you operate. Once you do register this new name, you’ll be granted a certificate of assumed business name.
Still confused about what exactly that is and why you might need one? Then let’s get started.
Why Your Business Might Need an Assumed Name Certificate
An assumed business name certificate — also known as a fictitious business name statement — is pretty much what it sounds like. Similar to how a certificate of good standing works, This document serves as proof your company does, in fact, have the legal right to use that name.
Such a bit of documentation has a variety of uses. So, before you decide if you need to file for an assumed business name right now, let’s run through a few of the most common reasons you might want to get an assumed business name certificate.
Your banking options: Before you can do any business banking under your assumed business name, you’ll need to register it and present your certificate to the bank in question. Only after this point will you be able to open any kind of bank account or deposit any checks made out to your business.
Your company files: To establish a connection between your company’s legal name and its assumed business name, you want to create a kind of paper trail. After all, this kind of documentation goes a long way in legitimizing your company. If any issues or disputes ever arise, you can more easily lay claim to that assumed business name.
Your reputation: Having a certificate of assumed business name also inspires faith in your current and prospective customer base. With this document on your side, you have a clear and undeniable legal connection between your legal name and the assumed name you’ve selected. As such, you create a sense of transparency with customers.
How to Get a Certificate of Assumed Business Name
Now you have a clearer idea of why you might choose to obtain an assumed name certificate. But how exactly do you start the process of actually securing one? Thankfully, it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think.
Reach out to your local office: First, the county in which your main address is located should always be the base of operations for such actions. Perhaps this is the county clerk or the state secretary of state’s office. But whatever the case may be, confirm you’re filling the paperwork out in the right district before wasting your time moving forward. Time may be a factor in some states, so be aware of that too.
Be ready for a filing fee: Of course, any bit of filing brings with it a required fee. For an assumed business name certificate, this can be as costly as $100. To prepare, account for this amount when you line up your expenses. Depending on your state, you may need to go as far as publishing a statement of intent before filing the statement. So check with your county clerk for details regarding any such requirements.
Start as soon as possible: As we alluded to, each state has its own criteria for filing matters, including assumed business names. Don’t take it for granted that you’ll be able to get the name you want. Kick off the research process as early as you can to ensure a satisfying outcome. Do your homework once you think you might need an assumed business name, and you’ll be far better off.
Let Incfile Help You Get an Assumed Business Name Certificate
Filing an assumed (or fictitious) business name is often another hassle you probably don’t need. If you’re like the many small business owners with whom we’ve worked, then you’re already scrambling to fit anything into your schedule. Squeezing in time to file a fictitious business name might not be impossible, but it probably feels that way.
And why shouldn’t you subcontract this task out? Such an approach ensures it will get done in a timely fashion, and with all the moving parts in your business, you might not be able to afford to wait. Luckily, Incfile can eliminate the headache of handling the paperwork yourself with our Fictitious Business Name service. It’s just another part of our comprehensive service package.
Our goal is to keep small businesses like yours on their growth track. Administrative tasks like filing a fictitious business name can be integral to your success but also threaten to derail your productivity. Let Incfile handle this task for you, and you can stay focused on making your company bigger and better than ever. For more information, check out our website!
Robert Yaniz Jr.
Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm