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Obtaining a DBA

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/8/2009

For anyone who wants to establish a business and operate under a name other than their own, a DBA, or Doing Business As, must be filed. Read this article to find out more about how to obtain this distinction to ensure your business is completely legal.

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    What is a DBA?

    A DBA, otherwise known as Doing Business As, is a form stating that a person or another business is doing business under another Black Business Shoes name. This form allows a person to open a bank account and accept payment under the business name, essentially allowing business to be conducted without a formal legal business structure setup. The DBA allows business to be conducted under another name without having to establish a completely new business entity. For sole proprietors who use their names as part of the business name, the DBA is not required.

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    Obtaining a DBA

    Depending on the primary business location, the requirements and policies regarding how to obtain a DBA may vary. Generally speaking, the DBA can be obtained from the county Register of Deeds, or the Secretary of State. It must contain information about the person or business that will be using the other name, along with the other name. It should be signed and notorized. There will be a fee to file a DBA, though this fee will vary on locality. The list below gives a glimpse at all 50 states.

    • Alabama: Doesn't require a fictitious name to be registered. Trade name can be registered with the Secretary of State.
    • Alaska: Registering Business Names in Alaska
    • Arizona: Doesn't require a fictitious name to be registered, though the names can be registered to prevent others from taking them. Trade name can be registered with the Secretary of State.
    • Arkansas: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file an Application for a Fictitious Name.
    • California: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Colorado: Trade names can be registered online.
    • Connecticut: Register a trade name in the city or town where business is conducted or register as corporation with the State.
    • Delaware: Register in the county where you are doing business.
    • District of Columbia: File a trade name with the Consumer and Regulartory Affairs Department for $50.
    • Florida: All businesses must register their fictitious names with the Division of Corporations.
    • Georgia: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Hawaii: Form must be filed with the Consumer and Regulartory Affairs Department for a discounted fee of $25. Fee will revert to $50 on January 1, 2010.
    • Idaho: All DBAs must be filed with the Secretary of State. $25 fee. Renewed every 5 years.
    • Illinois: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted. Corporations, LLCs, and LLPs are required to file forms with the Secretary of State.
    • Indiana: Businesses must file a DBA in each county and with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Iowa: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Kansas: Doesn't require a fictitious name to be registered.
    • Kentucky: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Louisiana: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Maine: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Maryland: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Massachusetts: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Michigan: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • Minnesota: Must be filed with Secretary of State.
    • Mississippi: Doesn't require a fictitious name to be registered.
    • Missouri: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Montana: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Nebraska: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Nevada: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Clerk, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • New Hampshire: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • New Jersey: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • New Mexico: Doesn't require a fictitious name to be registered.
    • New York: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • North Carolina: Anyone doing business under a name other than their own must file a Doing Business As with the Register of Deeds, in the county where business will be conducted.
    • North Dakota: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Ohio: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Oklahoma: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Oregon: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Pennsylvania: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Puerto Rico: Register with the Department of State's Registry of Marks and Commercial Names.
    • Rhode Island: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • South Carolina: Not required. Foriegn (out of state businesses) may file for a DBA.
    • South Dakota: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Tennessee: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships are not required to file.
    • Texas: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Utah: All business types must file.
    • Vermont: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Virginia: Businesses must file a DBA with the Secretary of State. Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships can file with the county only.
    • Washington: Washington State Dept of Licensing.
    • West Virginia: Must be filed with the Secretary of State.
    • Wisconsin: Must be filed with the State.
    • Wyoming: Must be filed with the Department of State.
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    Last Updated September 2009. Resources: Doing Business As--Business.gov