Scott Allen over at About.com wrote a great article on DBA’s and FBN’s – I highly encourage any small business owner or Entrepreneur read it!
FBA or FBN – Why do you want one and how do you get one?
A fictitious business name, assumed name, or DBA (short for “doing business as”), referred to as “trading as” in the UK, allows you to legally do business as a particular name at minimal cost, and without having to create an entirely new business entity. You can accept payments, advertise, and otherwise present yourself under that name. In fact, if you present your business under a name other than your proper legal name without proper notification, it may be considered fraud. Fortunately, filing for an assumed name is so easy and inexpensive, there’s really not much excuse for not filing one.
Why would you want to file an assumed name? What does it let you do?
It allows you as a sole proprietor to use a business name rather than your personal name. In some places you can use either your full name or part of your name plus a description of your product or service without filing an assumed name, e.g., Elena Garza Interior Design or J. Washington Investigataions. The exact rules vary from country to country and from state to state within the U.S., so check with your local business regulatory authority regarding your area. But if there’s any implication that there are more people involved (Shawad & Sons, The Anderson Group, etc.), or if you just use the first name (Joe’s Garage, Sam’s Boat, etc.), you have to file an assumed name….
When a new business is started a business license is required to conduct daily operations. The license may be required at the local level or at the state level. The type of license required depends on the regulations of the local and state government. Regardless, the first order of business is to register the name with the county or state be it a DBA for a sole proprietorship or a corporation. In addition if the business is not a sole proprietorship run under the business owners social security number then a tax identification or employer identification number must be obtained from the IRS. Once the name is legally registered and the TIN/EIN is received, a license can be obtained.
Getting a Local License
To begin, make sure all the necessary paperwork is in order such as a fictitious name filing and the TIN/EIN. Other documents may be required depending on the type of business. For example, for an LLC Articles of Organization or an Operating Agreement might be required. It is best to check with your local government for what is needed before applying for the license.
The next step is to fill out all applicable paperwork. Return the paperwork to city hall with the appropriate fee. If possible, pay the fee with a business check so there is a record of the payment for tax purposes. If the business checking account has not be opened be sure to get a receipt of payment for business records.
Keeping the Local License
Once the license has been received check with the local government regarding business regulations. One of the requirements to obtaining and keeping the business license might be yearly renewal and a renewal fee. If this is not done annually the business license could be revoked.
Getting a State License
If the business is under state regulation a state business license will be required. For example, some businesses needing state licenses include a realtor, hairdresser, doctor, auto mechanic or a lawyer. Usually a required training course is a necessity to get this business license. To get a state license fill out and file the appropriate paperwork and pay the state filing fee with a business check if possible. Make sure the business renews its license annually and completes in additional training courses required by the state.
Sales Tax Business License
While business licenses might be optional in some state, a sales tax license is always required. This license allows the business owner to charge sales tax to its customers. The local State Franchise Board will let the business owner know what is required.
1. It is the law! By law, you have to inform the public that you are Doing Business As any name other than your own personal name. California law states that all Fictitious Business Name Statements (aka FBN/DBAs) must be published for four (4) consecutive weeks in an adjudicated newspaper after filing with the County Clerk/Recorder’s office.
2. Banks will not open a business account for you without proof of your DBA filing.
3. By filing a DBA, you are beginning the process of protecting your business name in the county in which you do business. There are many ways and levels at which you can protect your business name. Filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement is by no means the most powerful protection of your chosen name. You should check with an attorney for details and further protections.
Protect your companies name and reputation by Filing a Legal DBA or FBN (depending on State/County).
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.