1Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) for a DBA?
Legally, one is required to identify a business with one of two numbers: either a Social Security Number or an EIN (Employer Identification Number). If you are a sole proprietor, your Social Security Number can be used on all of your government forms and other official documents, but most small business advisors recommend that you apply for an EIN and use that number instead. If you are a corporation, LLC or other state-level entity, you must obtain an EIN because your business is an entirely separate legal entity.
2What 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 legal or true corporate name as on file with the Secretary of State.
3Do I need to file a DBA?
DBA registration may be necessary if your company conducts any business under a name other than your own name (for sole proprietors) or its legal name (for state-level entities such as corporations and LLCs). “Conducting business” can include marketing, advertising, letterhead, business cards, etc., in addition to actual business transactions. Also, banks may require a DBA registration in order to open a business bank account.
4Where should I file my DBA?
DBAs can be filed at the state level and sometimes at the county level depending on the state. Generally, one should file a DBA in the state and/or county in which they are conducting business under the name. In addition, certain jurisdictions require publication of a DBA.
5What is an example of a DBA?
For example, if Jane Brown and had a business called “Donuts Unlimited,”she would register the business as “Jane Brown, doing business as ‘Donuts Unlimited.'” If a corporation was named “ABC, Inc.,” and wanted to conduct business under the name “Express Cabinets,” they may register the business name as “ABC, Inc., doing business as ‘Express Cabinets.'”
6Does a DBA give a company liability protection?
DBAs do not offer liability protection. Typically, companies looking to get limited liability protection form either a corporation or LLC.
7Are there any maintenance documents (such as annual reports) to maintain a DBA?
Generally, the only requirement to maintain an active DBA filing is to renew the filing when the expiration date approaches (usually five years, although durations vary by jurisdiction).
8Does filing a DBA exclude others from using the same name?
Generally speaking, filing a DBA grants little, if any, exclusivity to use of the name. In many jurisdictions, more than one applicant can file the exact same DBA. The only way to legally ensure exclusive rights to the use of a name is to register a trademark.
9Are name checks required for DBA filings?
Generally, some states allow more than one DBA for the same business name, in which case a name check is not required. However, other states will not file the same DBA for two separate owners – in those states, Launch by LegalShield will perform a name check prior to processing documents.