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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file a DBA instead of formally incorporating?

You can, but it’s not a good idea to just file a DBA or assumed name. If you want all the legal protections and other benefits of starting an LLC, you will need to formally create a separate business entity. Don’t worry — we're experts at this, and we’ll walk you through every step. You can choose to use an assumed business name at the same time or at some point later.

What happens if I can’t find a reference to a fictitious business name for my state?

States refer to assumed business names in various ways. For example, some might call it a trade name, a fictitious name or a doing business as name. Some states don’t have assumed names at all. You can find information about your state in our table above or through our helpful state-by-state guides for LLCs and corporations.

Can I file a DBA instead of formally incorporating?

Usually not. In most states you can use your official, legal business name and your assumed name interchangeably, although you may want to limit this to avoid confusing customers, suppliers and others. If you’re not sure, contact your attorney or your Secretary of State.

Does filing a DBA mean no one else can use my name?

Not always, especially if you haven’t formed an LLC or corporation (which would stop other people using your LLC or corporation name in your state). If you just have a DBA without a business entity name, someone else could form an LLC or corporation with your DBA name and effectively “take” it from you.

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