Want To File A DBA In The USA? Here Are The Official Links To All States

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Marko Csokasi
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Overview of each state links to official websites and online filing information

Last Updated on August 24, 2020

Choosing a business name to trade is part of the startup process of growing businesses. While it isn’t necessary to register and choose a name immediately some may choose to file a Doing-Business-As (DBA) to:

  • Legally trade under a business name different from the owner’s or registered business’s
  • Declare legitimacy and trust
  • Protect a desired future trading name

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How To File a DBA

The process of filing a DBA tends to vary from state-to-state, even county-to-county.  Here is a brief overview of DBA proceedings by state along with official resources to help you get started.

Can I file for a DBA online? Yes, in many states you can do so online easily, but this varies state by state.

Important: Always check the official sources as we are not not legal experts and regulations:

Alabama

General partnerships or sole proprietorships are not required to file a DBA in Alabama.

At the time of filing a DBA, the filing business must already be trading under a “fictitious” business name. Relevant business names are registered via the Alabama Secretary of State by Corporations, LLPs and LLCs while conducting their necessary business filings by law.

Official Resources:

Alabama Business Services Link
Reserve An Entity Name Link

Alaska

You have to file a DBA in Alaska if you plan to trade under a name other than your registered name with the ASS (Alaska Secretary of State).

Sole proprietorships have to file a DBA unless they intend to trade under the business owner’s name.

Official Resources:

Reserve a Business Name Link

Alabama Business Licensing

Link
Alabama Business Licensing FAQs Link
Business Name Registration Form Link

Arizona

You cannot file a DBA with the Arizona Corporate Commission since it isn’t a legal requirement in this state. Businesses are able to reserve a trading name for a set fee, though this is not the same as filing a DBA. Applications take 2 to 3 weeks to process and cost $10.00.

Official Resources:

Trade Names and Trademarks Link
Trade Name Reservations Link

Arkansas

All businesses need to file a DBA when operating under a different trading name (other than the business owner’s or business’s registered name).

Official Resources:

Online Filing System Link
Arkansas District Office Link

California

Sole proprietorships or general partnerships are liable to file a DBA. In the state of California, this is referred to as a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBNS).

LLCs, PLCs, and Corporations register an assumed business name as part of the legally required business filings.

When filing an FBNS, you are responsible to check if the trading name is available and to ensure there are no trademark issues.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Name Search Link
Name Reservation Walkthrough Link
Filing Options Link
Filing a Fictitious Business Name Link

Colorado

Business owners need to file a DBA when trading under an alternative name other than the owner’s.

DBAs in Colorado are filed online and are required by:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • General partnerships
  • Domestic limited partnerships (DLP)
  • Active and/or dissolved reporting entities
  • Trusts

The filing fee is $20.00.

Official Resources:

File a Business Related Form Link
Business Database Search (Names, Trademarks) Link
Business FAQs Link

Connecticut

Sole proprietorships amend or file DBAs by mail (via the Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services) or at a local town hall.

Registered partnerships, corporations or LLCs file by mail only.

When filing, the IRS may require the business to obtain a new employee identification number (EID) and a new Connecticut tax registration number.

Official Resources:

Managing Registration Data Link
Business Registration Link

Delaware

Businesses need to file a DBA via the Superior Court’s office in your county.

PLCs, LLCs and other entities need to file a DBA during business registration either online or by mail.

Official Resources:

Trade Name Registration Guide Link
Trade Name Database Link
Trade Name Laws Link

District of Columbia – Washington, D.C

Individual traders are able to file a DBA to obtain a fictitious trade name.

Trade names must be different from corporate names, meaning that corporations and partnerships have to file a DBA to legally operate under a new fictitious trade name.

The renewal of trade names is a legal requirement. The first renewal deadline is the 1st of April during the 2nd year of the.

Official Resources:

Register a Trade Name Link
Corporate Divisions and Registration Link

Florida

You do not have to file a DBA in Florida.

Pre-requisites outlined by the Division of Corporations must be met when filing a DBA to secure a trade name. The filing cost is $10.00.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Name Registration Link
Registration Instructions Link
Filing Options Link

Georgia

All businesses must file a DBA to trade under a fictitious business name in Georgia.

According to Georgia’s Secretary of State, select counties and cities require the registree’s state tax identification number prior to registering a fictitious trade name (information available at the local Chamber of Commerce).

The relevant county’s superior court provides filing forms.

Official Resources:

First-Stop Business Guide Link
Business Licenses Link

Guam

Businesses in Guam need to file a DBA, referred to as a Director of Revenue and Taxation of Guam (DRTG).

The cost of filing a DRTG is $25.00.

Official Resources:

DBA Filing Certificate Link
Use of Fictitious Names by Law Link

Hawaii

All businesses in Hawaii are able to trade under an alternative business name by law without having to file a DBA.

The benefits of filing a DBA are:

  • Open and manage business accounts with ease
  • Trademark protection against similar trade names

You can file a DBA online for a fee of $50.00.

Official Resources:

Business Registration (BREG) Link
Trade Name and Trademark Registration Link

Idaho

Corporations, LLCs, LLPs, sole proprietorships and general partnerships must file a DBA – in this case, an Assumed Business Name (ABN) – to trade under a fictitious name.

The aforementioned businesses are able to do business under a fictitious name and must select an “assumed” business name before filing a Certificate of Assumed Business Name via the Idaho Secretary of State.

Name alterations cost $10.00.

Official Resources:

Business Services – Resources Link
Assumed Business Name FAQs Link
Business Name Search Link

Illinois

By law, businesses must file a DBA either online or at their respective Country Recorder’s office.

A filing is a requirement if a business is to trade under an alternative business name to the entity in the case of corporations, LLCs or LLPs, or the owner’s name in case of sole proprietorships and general partnerships.

Prior to filing a DBA, the business owner must ensure that the trade name is available. Detailed instructions on filing a DBA can be found on individual county websites.

Official Resources:

Filing and Registration Link
Small Business Assistance Link

Indiana

Business trading under an alternative or fictitious business name must file a DBA.

Before you file a DBA in Indiana, you must search and check the availability of your preferred trade name.

Once you have an available name, you are ready to file a DBA at the local County Recorder’s office – be sure to check the relevant county’s website for details.

Official Resources:

Entrepreneur’s Startup Guide Link
Business Forms Link
Register a DBA Link
Business Owner’s Guide Link

Iowa

All businesses must file a DBA in Iowa if they are to trade under an assumed or alternative business name – one different from the entity or owner’s.

Charges of taking on a fictitious trading name vary from business to business, according to Iowa’s Secretary of State website.

There is a recurring cost of $5.00, described as a “Resolution to Adopt Fictitious Names.”

Official Resources:

Filing Forms and Fees Link
Fictitious Name Registration Form Link
Business Entity Filing Link

Kansas

There is no formal or legal framework for registering a fictitious trade name, nor filing a DBA in Kansas. Should a business owner want to register as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, LLC or LLP, trade names are reserved up to 120 days in advance.

Official Resources:

Business Resource Knowledgebase Link
Filing Forms Link
Business Name Database Link

Kentucky

The following business structures must file a DBA with the Kentucky Secretary of State, should they trade under an alternative business name that differs from the entity’s registered name or the owner’s real name:

  • LLCs
  • LLPs
  • Limited partnerships
  • General partnerships
  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited liability companies
  • Trusts
  • Limited cooperative associations

Optional renewals take place every 5 years.

Official Resources:

Business Names and Types Link
Business Filings Link
Trade Name Database Link

Louisiana

All businesses need to file a DBA when trading under a fictitious name differing from the entity or owner.

Louisiana is another state which requires business owners to publish an article in a local newspaper announcing their DBA filing.

Official Resources:

Business Filings Link
Business Legislature Link

Maine

All corporations, LLCs and PLCs must to register with the Bureau of Corporations at the Office of the Secretary of State by law. These business types are also required to file a DBA to be able to trade under an “assumed” name with the Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions (BCEC).

While filing a DBA is not a legal necessity for sole proprietorships and general partnerships, either of the two wanting to trade under an alternative business name must file a DBA or register an assumed name.

Official Resources:

Starting a Business Guide Link
Trade Name (DBA) Protection Link
Business Services and Resources Link

Maryland

Businesses trading under a fictitious name must file a DBA.

DBAs are filed via the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (MSDAT) online or in-person for a fee of $25.00.

The MSDAT advises businesses looking to register a trade name to contact the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to check the availability of the desired name.

Official Resources:

Business Services Link
Trade Name Registration Link
Start a New Business Link

Massachusetts

Businesses planning to trade under a name other than their own in the State of Massachusets must file a DBA. DBAs are filed at a local, county (usually), or even individual city level. General state guidelines do not exist.

Use the below resources to find your appropriate city or county’s procedure.

Official Resources:

Name Reservations Link
Start a New Business Link
Business Entity Database Search Link

Michigan

The State of Michigan requires sole proprietorships and general partnerships to file a DBA if trading under an alternative business name, or in this case an “assumed” business name. The filing of a DBA is done at a county level.

All other business entities who wish to trade under a differing name to the registered company’s original name must also file a DBA.

Official Resources:

Assumed Name (DBA) Guide Link
Certificate of Assumed Name Link
Choosing a Business Name Link
County Level Business Name Filing Link
Assumed Name Cancellation Form Link

Minnesota

DBAs are filed via the Minnesota Secretary of State (MSoS) and can be done both online and in person at the MSoS office in Saint Paul, MN.

All businesses trading under a fictitious name are required to file a DBA.

Official Resources:

DBA Forms Link
Filing Fees Link
Name Reservation Guide Link

Mississippi

All businesses transacting under a fictitious, or alternative business name are required to file a DBA. Online filing is not yet a possibility, though forms are available to download.

Registrations last five years with an eternal renewal policy (no limits on renewals). DBA forms are submitted to the Business Services Division of the Secretary of State’s Office.

Each submission incurs a fee of $25.00.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Business Name Registration Act Link

Missouri

Businesses trading under a name different from the entity’s registered name must file a DBA – referred to as a Fictitious Name Registration.

Fictitious business names are filed online or in person.

The Missouri Secretary of State offers phone support for business owners’ queries on 1-866-223-6535.

Official Resources:

DBA Registration Guide Link
DBA Registration FAQ Link
Start a Business Link

Montana

All businesses or individuals transacting under an assumed or fictitious business name must register with the Montana Secretary of State. Any attempted registrations with names which are already in use will be rejected.

Laws around DBA filing and naming conventions are stricter in Montana with the following rules:

  • The fictitious name must not be classed as misleading from the nature of the business
  • All fictitious names must be different from the already registered name of the entity (in case of corporations, LLCs and LLPs)
  • Upon filing, the business must state the nature of the commerce

All filed DBAs last for five years with the option to renew.

Official Resources:

Start a Business Link
Business Resources Link
Business Help Center Link

Nebraska

Doing-business-as names are known as ‘trade names’ in Nebraska. Filing a DBA is not a legal requirement as regulations are loose.

Businesses may trade under a name different from the entity’s original name or in case of sole proprietorships and partnerships, the owner’s name.

The Nebraska Secretary of State does recommend filing a DBA to ease fundamental business proceedings like opening a bank account.

Official Resources:

Online Business Registration Link
Name Reservation Guide Link
Trade Name Laws Link

Nevada

Businesses looking to trade under an alternative business name in Nevada must file a DBA. You file DBAs on a county to county basis as opposed to a state level.

Business owners need to take initiative and research whether their desired business name is available to use.

Registrations of fictitious names are usually done in person, though some counties do have online services in place.

Official Resources:

DBA Filing By County Link
Online Business Services Link

New Hampshire

Filing a DBA is referred to as a Registration of Trade Name in the state of New Hampshire. The filing fee is $50.00 and applies to the following businesses trading under surrogate business names:

  • Corporations
  • LLCs
  • LLPs
  • Trusts

Individual unregistered traders who wish to operate under a fictitious name must also file a DBA.

Official Resources:

Trade Name Forms and Laws Link
Trade Name Statutes Link

New Jersey

Both profit and nonprofit entities are permitted to do business under an alternate business name in New Jersey, providing the relevant DBA – in this case, a C150-G form – is filed via the Division of Revenue.

If a business registered in New Jersey is already using a foreign entity’s (registered in a different state) business name, the latter is required to file a DBA to operate legally under a new, untaken trade name.

Fees vary in New Jersey and are:

  • Corporations, non-profit businesses, and LLPs – $15.00
  • LLCs – $50.00

Businesses operating under an unfiled for a name, a yearly charge of $50.00 will be deducted by the Division of Revenue for every year in business.

Official Resources:

Register an Alternate Name Link
Register a Business Link

New Mexico

Trade name laws are tight in New Mexico. Business owners or companies trading under a fictitious name must file a DBA. The chosen trade name must not represent the business’s sphere of activity inaccurately.

Businesses file a DBA via the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. Required filing information:

  • The business owner’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
  • Personal details (names, addresses)
  • Trade details (entity type, activity, designation)

Official Resources:

Business Services Link

New York

A DBA – referred to as a Certificate of Assumed Name in the state of New York –  must be filed through the New York Department of State for registered entities to legally trade under a new assumed name.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are obligated to file a business certificate with their relevant county clerks.

Costs vary by county, though they are significantly higher than other states.

Official Resources:

Assumed Name Certificate Link
DBA Filing for Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships Link
Assumed Name Certificate Filing Guide Link

North Carolina

All sole proprietorships and partnerships must register an assumed name, as well as any incorporated businesses who wish to trade with a name different from the entity’s registered one.

Businesses file a DBA or an assumed name with the Register of Deeds office. As of 2017, the state of North Carolina made online filing available along with an online database of existing trade names.

Official Resources:

Assumed Business Names Link
Choose a Business Name Link
Trademark Registration Guide Link

North Dakota

The DBA registration periods for trade names is five years. DBAs are filed by the following business types planning to transact with assumed names:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • General partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies
  • LLPs
  • LLCs

Filing a trade name – known as a franchise name – costs $25.00.

The official form of filing is named a “Trade Name Registration” or “Franchise Name Disclosure”. Look for the identification number “SFN 13401”.

Official Resources:

Trade and Franchise Name Registration Guide Link
Trade Name Registration Form Link
Register Your Business Name Link
Business Services Link

Ohio

Both individual and incorporated businesses in Ohio need to register for the legal use of a fictitious business name.

You need to file a form (524A) and submit it to the Ohio Secretary of State.

Submissions are sent by mail, online or person and cost $25.00.

Official Resources:

Start a Business Link
Trade Name Filing Forms Link

Oklahoma

Trade name registrations are not a legal requirement in Oklahoma.

Businesses are able to trade under an alternative trade name without filing a DBA. Business owners still benefit from filing a DBA by:

  • Registering the desired trade name before a competitor
  • Ease of business banking
  • Avoiding trademark infringement

Domestic trade names and foreign trade names are filed by separate forms online via Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Official Resources:

File a Trade Name Link
Business Startup Guide Link
Business Licensing Requirements Link

Oregon

When trading under a trade name – referred to as an “assumed name” in Oregon – businesses in need to file a DBA.

The business owner is responsible to check the availability of the chosen assumed name before filing.

You can register and renew assumed business names online and submit amendments and cancellations by mail or in person.

The filing fee is $50.00 and renewals are due every 2 years.

Official Resources:

Assumed Business Name Registration Link
Assumed Business Name Guide Link
Registering Your Business FAQ Link

Pennsylvania

Businesses trading under an alternative trade name must file a DBA.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State (PDS), business types liable to file are:

  • General partnerships
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Corporations
  • Associations
  • Joint-stock companies
  • Business trusts
  • Syndicates
  • Joint ventures

DBAs are filed with the PDS via mail.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Name Guide Link
Online Filing Portal Link

Puerto Rico (Unincorporated US Territory)

While the information in English is limited, there is partial information online. All businesses operating in Puerto Rico as foreign entities and local entities trading under different names to their originally registered names must file a DBA.

DBAs are filed through the Department of State of Puerto Rico under the Register of Marks, Trade Names and US Deposits.

Official Resources:

Registration of Marks and Trade Names Link
Business Registrations Link

Rhode Island

You can file a DBA – a Fictitious Business Name Statements (FBNS) – in Rhode Island though it is not a legal requirement.

Similarly to fellow states where DBAs are optional, business owners may consider registering their alternative trading name for the sake of ease when:

  • Opening a business bank account under a fictitious name
  • Staying legally safe when entering business contracts under a fictitious name

You need to submit the completed FBNS form to the Rhode Island Secretary of State by mail for a fee of $50.00.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Business Name Filing Guide Link

South Carolina

Filing a DBA is not a legal obligation for businesses transacting under alternate trade names.

Sole proprietorships, partnerships and incorporated companies are able to simply trade under assumed names.

Some businesses still file a DBA for trademark protection. The South Carolina Secretary of State offers separate DBA filing forms for:

  • Individual businesses
  • Corporations
  • Non-profits
  • LLC/LLPs

You hold the responsibility to check the availability of the preferred name.

Official Resources:

Online Filing Services Link
Business Filing FAQs Link

South Dakota

By law, all business owners are obligated to file a DBA if trading under an assumed or fictitious name.

After searching for the availability of the new preferred trade name, businesses must head over to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website and file a DBA.

Online services include:

  • DBA amendment
  • DBA renewal (every 5 years)
  • DBA cancellation

The filing fee costs $10.00.

Official Resources:

Online DBA Portal Link
Register a DBA Link
Business Services Link

Tennessee

Referred to as an “Assumed Name” in Tennessee, filing a DBA is mandatory for all businesses when transacting with a business name other than the registered entity’s.

The filing fee is $20.00 while an online tool gathers the relevant details for the registration of an assumed name.

Corporations need their Secretary of State Control Number, a number assigned during the initial registration.

Official Resources:

Register an Assumed Name Link

Texas

Filing a DBA is obligatory for all corporations, LLP/LPs and LLCs as well as foreign entities which conduct frequent transactions in Texas when trading under a name other than the entity’s originally registered name.

The Secretary of State offers an online service for this, though sole proprietorships and partnerships may only file a DBA in their respective counties via the county clerk’s office.

Name reservations cost $40.00 (lasting 120 days) and Assumed Name Certificate filings have a fee of $25.00.

Official Resources:

Business and Non-Profit Forms Link
Name Filing FAQs Link

U.S. Virgin Islands

By law, businesses must register a trade name in the United States Virgin Islands if when trading under a fictitious name.

Filing fees vary by business type:

  • Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, corporations and nonprofit – $25.00
  • Labor corporations, LPs, LLPs, LLLPs – $50.00

Official Resources:

Business and Trademark Forms Link
Filing Fees Link

Utah

Any business transacting under a name which differs from the legal name of the entity or the owner must file a DBA.

Before filing a DBA, an available business name must be proposed and validated by the applicant. Owners are also liable to disclose personal details and more information on the nature and activity of the business.

You can file and renew DBAs online for fees of:

  • $22.00 to file
  • $27.00 to renew (every 3 years)

Official Resources:

File a DBA Online Link
Filing Fees Link
Renew Your DBA Link
Business Name Search Link

Vermont

Businesses trading with an alternative name are obliged to file a DBA in Vermont. Both profit and nonprofit entities fall under this category.

Trade name registrations cost $50.00 while renewals (every 5 years) cost $40.00 and are available online on the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Official Resources:

File a DBA Link
Business Registration Services Link

Virginia

You need to file a DBA in Virginia when trading under a fictitious name, regardless of the business’s type.

According to the Virginia Secretary of State, operating under a fictitious name without a valid DBA can result in a fine up to $2,500.00, or a prison sentence up to one year.

Sole proprietorships must file a fictitious name via their county clerk’s office in person or by mail.

Official Resources:

Fictitious Name Filing Fees Link
Fictitious Name FAQs Link
Business Entity Search Link
Online Business Services Link