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What Is a DBA?

A DBA stands for “doing business as” and is a registered name you give your business (or part of your business) that is different from its legal registered name.

DBAs are typically filed with the Secretary of State or other entity that governs business formation in your state. If your business operates in multiple states, you'll likely need to file in them all. It’s easier than it sounds — you can even do it online. We’ve got you covered on all the dirty details.

Who Needs a DBA?

If you’re a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll likely need a DBA. That’s because you’re unincorporated, so you didn’t file entity formation papers or choose a business name. Your legal name will be your business name unless you file a DBA.

S and C corporations, LLCs and limited partnerships typically don’t need a DBA if they’re happy with their chosen business name when they formed their legal entities. Check with your state and city to be sure of
the requirements.

Franchise owners, who typically have LLCs or corporations, may want to file a DBA to indicate they’re operating business under the franchise’s umbrella.

File-a-DBA-or-Fictitious-Business-Name_who-needs

Other Terms for a DBA

You might also see DBA listed by a few other names, including:

Fictitious
Business Name

Assumed
Business Name


Trade Name

Question-2

Why File a DBA?

There are four key benefits business owners should pay attention to.

File-a-DBA-or-Fictitious-Business-Name_Why-File-a-DBA
  • Location-Specific Branding

    A DBA for each location your business operates in allows them to hold distinctly separate names under the same umbrella company (for example, “Cassidy’s Cookies New York” and Cassidy’s Cookies LA”).

  • Product Flexibility

    Say you’re a jack-of-all-trades and run many businesses all under your name. Use multiple DBAs to clarify what your product offerings are (for example, “Cassidy’s Cookies” and “Cassidy’s Cakes”).

  • Streamlined Rebranding

    Maybe you registered your LLC under a name that doesn’t quite fit your vibe anymore. Target your audience better by creating a DBA that aligns more with your new branding as your company evolves (rather than forming a new LLC).

  • Privacy

    When you form a business, it automatically takes on the name of the business owner unless you file as a certain legal entity (like an LLC or S or C Corporation). A DBA allows you to legally separate your name from your business’s name so you can maintain privacy.

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How to File a DBA

  • 1

    Find Out What Entity Controls Business Formation

    Usually this is the Secretary of State. However, sometimes this is
    done at the county level. If that’s the case, make sure you register
    your DBA in each county you operate in.

  • 2

    Download, Fill Out and Send the Online Form

    Visit the relevant website and find the section on DBA, trade, fictitious or assumed names. With any luck, you’ll be able to do this digitally - although some systems are woefully outdated and require faxing or mailing.

  • 3

    Pay the Filing Fee

    Filing fees vary by state and depend on whether you’re
    registering for an LLC, corporation or other entity.

  • 4

    Ensure Your Business Name Is Protected

    A DBA by itself won’t protect your business name. Forming an
    LLC or corporation is one of the best ways to secure the legal
    name of your business, but if you want to take an extra step, it
    may be worth trademarking your business name. We can help
    with that.

    Our low-cost Trademark Search and Registration service makes it easy to protect your DBA.

  • 5

    File Your Taxes

    Whether or not you have a DBA, you’ll need to file taxes. The
    method and frequency of this depend on your business structure.

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DBA vs. LLC

The main difference between a DBA and an LLC is that an LLC is a legally registered business entity, while a DBA is like a formal nickname for an already existing business.

Why Use an LLC?

We talk a lot about LLCs. They provide legal protections for the business owner, separating their personal assets from the business’s assets. LLC owners aren’t required to file a DBA.

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Why Use a DBA?

Since a DBA is just a nickname for your business, it doesn’t provide the same legal protections as an LLC. You are not protected under a DBA alone — you’ll need to form a business entity first.

States That Allow DBA Filing

Choose your state below to view specific DBA requirements, including fees, length of approval, forms needed and where to file. It’s that easy.

Search by State (e.g. Alabama)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Track Status

Select your state above.

And see results over here

Location_01
Alabama
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
No
Fee
$30
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Office of the Secretary State
Forms available online?

Yes

Location_01
Alaska
Referred to as
DBA
Required?
No
Fee
$25
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Commerce, Corporations Section
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Arizona
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
No
Fee
$10
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Arkansas
Referred to as
Fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$15 to $25 depending on entity type
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, as well as the County Clerk unless in Pulaski County
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
California
Referred to as
Fictitious business name (FBN)
Required?
Yes
Fee
Varies by county
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
Yes, in a local newspaper within 30 days of filing, once per week for four consecutive weeks
Must file with
Registrar-Recorder or County Clerk
Forms available online?
Varies by county; for more information check your county's website
Location_01
Colorado
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$20
Length of approval
1 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Connecticut
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$10
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Town clerk
Forms available online?
Varies by town; for more information contact your town clerk or check your town's website
Location_01
Delaware
Referred to as
Trade, business, and fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
County Prothonotary's Office
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Florida
Referred to as
Fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
Yes, in a local newspaper at least once
Must file with
Department of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Georgia
Referred to as
DBA
Required?
Yes, if doing business under a name which does not disclose individual ownership
Fee
Varies by county
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
Yes, in a local newspaper at least once per week for two consecutive weeks
Must file with
Your county's Clerk of the Superior Court
Forms available online?
Varies by county; Contact your Clerk of the Superior Court or visit your county's website for more information
Location_01
Hawaii
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
No
Fee
$50
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Idaho
Referred to as
Assumed business name (ABN)
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Illinois
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee

$30 to $150 depending on the year of filing; see state guidelines for details

Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
Yes, in a local newspaper within 15 days of DBA approval, once per week for three consecutive weeks
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Indiana
Referred to as
Assumed business name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$26 for nonprofit corporations; $30 for for-profit corporations
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Iowa
Referred to as
Fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$5
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Kansas
Referred to as
DBAs or fictitious names
Required?
No
Fee
---
Length of approval
---
Public notice required?
---
Must file with
---
Forms available online?
---
Location_01
Kentucky
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$20
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State for LLCs and corporations; county clerk for sole proprietorships
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Louisiana
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$75
Length of approval
10 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Commercial Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Maine
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$125
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Maryland
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
State Department of Assessments & Taxations
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Massachusetts
Referred to as
DBA
Required?
Yes, for individuals who are going to do business under a name different than their own
Fee
Varies by town
Length of approval
4 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Town or city clerk's office
Forms available online?
Varies by location; contact your town clerk or city clerk for more information
Location_01
Michigan
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$10 for a corporation or limited partnership, or $25 for an LLC
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Minnesota
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$30 if submitted by mail, or $50 if submitted online or in-person
Length of approval
1 year
Public notice required?

Yes, in a local qualified Legal Newspaper for two consecutive issues

Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Mississippi
Referred to as
Fictitious business name
Required?
No
Fee
$25
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Missouri
Referred to as
Fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$7
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Corporations Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Montana
Referred to as
Assumed business name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$20
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Nebraska
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
No
Fee
$100 online or $110 in-office
Length of approval
10 years
Public notice required?
Yes, once in a local newspaper, with proof of publication filed within 45 days of trade name approval
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Nevada
Referred to as
Fictitious name
Required?
Yes
Fee
Varies by county
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
County clerk
Forms available online?
Varies by county; contact your county clerk for more information
Location_01
New Hampshire
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Corporation Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
New Jersey
Referred to as
Alternate name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
New Mexico
Referred to as
DBA
Required?
No
Fee
---
Length of approval
---
Public notice required?
---
Must file with
---
Forms available online?
---
Location_01
New York
Referred to as
Assumed name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of State, Division of Corporations
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
North Carolina
Referred to as
Assumed business name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$26
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with

Your county's Register of Deeds

Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
North Dakota
Referred to as
Trade name
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Ohio
Referred to as
Fictitious name (does not include exclusive rights) or trade name (does include exclusive rights); for more information see Ohio Revised Code Section 1329.01
Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Oklahoma
Referred to as

Trade name (for business entities) or fictitious name (for individuals)

Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Oregon
Referred to as

Assumed business name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
2 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Corporation Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Pennsylvania
Referred to as

Fictitious name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$70
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?

If the registration includes an individual then notice must be published in two local papers, one of which must be a legal publication

Must file with
Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Rhode Island
Referred to as

Fictitious business name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of State, Business Services Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
South Carolina
Referred to as

Assumed name

Required?
Yes, but only for limited partnerships
Fee
$10
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
South Dakota
Referred to as

DBA

Required?

Yes, unless certain conditions apply; for more information see South Dakota Codified Laws 37-11-1

Fee
$10
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Tennessee
Referred to as

Assumed name

Required?
Yes, except for sole proprietorships and general partnerships operating under the name of the owner(s)
Fee
$20
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Texas
Referred to as

Assumed name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
10 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Utah
Referred to as

DBA

Required?
Yes
Fee
$22
Length of approval
3 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Commerce, Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Vermont
Referred to as

Assumed business name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$50
Length of approval
5 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Corporations Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Virginia
Referred to as

Fictitious name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$10
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
State Corporation Commission
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Washington
Referred to as

Trade name

Required?
Yes, except for sole proprietorships or partnerships operating under the full legal name of the owner(s)
Fee

$5 trade name fee, plus a $19 general filing fee

Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Revenue, Business Licensing Service
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Washington DC
Referred to as

---

Required?
---
Fee
---
Length of approval
---
Public notice required?
---
Must file with
---
Forms available online?
---
Location_01
West Virginia
Referred to as

Trade name

Required?
Yes
Fee
$25
Length of approval
Indefinite
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State, Business and Licensing Division
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Wisconsin
Referred to as

Trade name

Required?
No
Fee
$15
Length of approval
10 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Department of Financial Institutions
Forms available online?
Yes
Location_01
Wyoming
Referred to as

Trade name

Required?
No
Fee
$100
Length of approval
10 years
Public notice required?
No
Must file with
Secretary of State
Forms available online?
Yes

Common Questions About Filing a DBA

How Much Does a DBA Cost?

It typically costs $25-$100 to file a DBA. This depends on your state — for example, it costs $15-$25 in Texas and $55-$65 in Florida. You can find this information online when you go to file or by using the state search feature above.

Can a DBA Become an LLC?

If you got a DBA as a sole proprietor, you can convert to an LLC to enjoy more legal protections. You’ll first need to make sure your DBA can be used for your LLC name, as it may already be in use by a legally registered business.

Can I Have Multiple DBAs Under One LLC?

Yes — this is the beauty of DBAs! If you have multiple locations or branches of your business that all operate under the same LLC, you can file multiple DBAs to help distinguish them.

Can Two Businesses Have the Same DBA?

Typically, states won’t allow two businesses to have the same DBA — even if you own them both. Your DBA application may be denied to avoid confusion, especially if they’re in the same industry. However, your DBA could be used if you haven’t registered your business as a legal entity.

Do I Need an EIN for a DBA?

Since a DBA acts as a nickname, you won’t need a separate EIN for it. You do, however, need an EIN for your registered business entity for tax purposes.

Need a DBA ASAP?

We’ll save you time by doing the paperwork for you. Just place an order and presto — you’ll have an assumed business name in no time.