When doing business, the majority or business owners choose to have a separate name for the business other than their own. The name, once chosen is registered with the county of operation. This is followed by opening up a business account in the new name and perhaps applying for a business credit card or line of credit to help the business stay in operation during its first few years.
The name chosen for the business, which will be presented to the public is considered the fictitious name for the sole proprietor. This is the business name that is used in advertising campaigns, on business cards and on business bank accounts. This name is registered with the county under the category of fictitious names.
DBA or doing business as…
When the fictitious name is registered with the county the business owner has now officially announced the intention to operate the business under the fictitious name. The business owner is now doing business as the chosen fictitious name. And for sole proprietorships (those who declare business earning through Schedule Con the personal tax returns) the DBA and fictitious name are technically the same thing.
What’s the Difference?
The biggest difference between the DBA and a fictitious name comes into play with corporations. A corporation name is actually registered with the states and files business tax returns separately from personal tax returns. There are situations where a business owner will choose to open several different companies under the umbrella of the main business name but want each company to have their own name. In this case the corporation owner will file fictitious names that sit under that main corporation. Therefore, instead of John Doe DBA Branches and Bushes Landscaping the corporation, All Inclusive Landscaping Inc, has a fictitious name for its company that landscapes for private residences; All Homes Landscaping, and a fictitious name for its company that landscapes for businesses; All Business Landscaping and a company that grows the plants; We Grow Plants. In this way the corporation can keep the finances separate for each separate business, yet report it under one business tax return.
Therefore, a business owner who plans on growing and adding to the initial company would be wise to choose an original yet generic name. The name should explain what the business does and be memorable to customers. At the same time the name should be vague enough to allow for separate businesses to form under it. The example above, All Inclusive Landscaping describes exactly what the business is. The DBAs under the main business made up of fictitious names, also clearly explain what they do; landscaping for homes and businesses as well as plant cultivation.
Whether you’re a corporation, LLC or sole proprietor, there may be advantages to filing a “Doing Business As” or “DBA” for your business.
What is a DBA?
DBA stands for “doing business as” and is an official and public registration of a business name. DBAs are also known as Fictitious Names, Fictitious Business Names, Assumed Names, and Trade Names. Essentially, a DBA is the name of a business other than the owner’s name or, in the case of a corporation, a name that is different from the corporate name as on file with the Secretary of State.
What are the benefits to filing a DBA?
A DBA makes it easy to:
• Open a bank account and collect checks and payments under your business name
• Look more professional, by establishing a separate business identity
• Start marketing and advertising under a name other than your personal or corporate name
What is an example of a DBA and how it is used?
If you were a sole proprietor named Jane Brown and the name of your business was “Donuts Unlimited,” you would register your business as Jane Brown, doing business as “Donuts Unlimited.”
I’ve already got a name for my corporation or LLC. Do I need a DBA?
If you have a corporation or LLC and want to do business under a name different from your corporate name, most states require that you file a “Doing Business As” name or “DBA.”
For example, if an LLC is doing business under the name “Studio City,” but the corporate name is “Pinnacle Projects, LLC,” then a DBA should be filed for the name “Studio City.” This DBA filing must be made in the county or state (where applicable) in which the registered office and principal address of the business are located.
What information is required for a DBA filing?
DBA filings will typically contain the name of the applicant, date of filing, name of the fictitious business and address for the business. Filings can be made by individuals or businesses. In most states, you must first file the DBA documents with the appropriate government entity, accompanied by a state or county fee. In some states, you also have to publish the name in a newspaper to give notice of the new business name.
We created a short 3 min Video showing people how to use DBAFilingOnline.com to file a DBA in 3 easy steps. Check out the video, and file your DBA or FBN online today!
If you are doing business under any name other than your given name, or your actual corporate name, you will need to file a Doing Business As (DBA) or Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement.
DBAs are also called: Fictitious Name Statements, Business Name Statements, Trade Names, Assumed Names and Assumed Business Certificates.