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

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

These rules are generally similar across different states, but tracking down filing forms and other details can be a major headache. That’s why we put together this convenient list, which includes links to each state’s official website, to help you file a DBA in your respective state.

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How To File a DBA in All 50 States

The process of filing a DBA tends to vary by state and even 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 easily do so online, but this varies state by state.

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

Select Your State

AlabamaIdahoMinnesotaNorth DakotaTexas
AlaskaIllinoisMississippiOhioUtah
ArizonaIndianaMissouriOklahomaVermont
ArkansasIowaMontanaOregonVirginia
CaliforniaKansasNebraskaPennsylvaniaVirgin Islands
ColoradoKentuckyNevadaPuerto RicoWashington
ConnecticutLouisianaNew HampshireRhode Island
DelawareMaineNew JerseySouth CarolinaWest Virginia
FloridaMarylandNew MexicoSouth DakotaWisconsin
GeorgiaMassachusettsNew YorkTennesseeWyoming
HawaiiMichiganNorth Carolina

Alabama

Edmund Pettus Bridge
Source: Goodfaithmedia.com

General partnerships or sole proprietors 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, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited liability companies (LLCs) while conducting their necessary business filings by law.

File a DBA in State

Alabama Business Services
Reserve An Entity Name

Alaska

buildings with mountains in the background
Source: Adn.com

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

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

File a DBA in State

Reserve a Business Name
Alaska Business Licensing
Alaska Business Licensing FAQs
Business Name Registration Form

Arizona

city image with building and mountains
Source: Phoenixnewtimes.com

Since it isn’t a full legal requirement in this state, you cannot file a DBA with the Arizona Corporate Commission. Businesses can reserve a trading name for a set fee, though this is not the same as filing a DBA. Applications take two to three weeks to process and cost $10.

File a DBA in State

Trade Names and Trademarks
Trade Name Reservations

Arkansas

river, bridges and buildings
Source: Gettyimages.com

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

File a DBA in State

Online Filing System

California

glass building
Source: California.com

Sole proprietorships or general partnerships can file a DBA to use an assumed name. In the state of California, this is referred to as a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBNS).

LLCs, public limited companies (PLCs), and corporations register an assumed business name as part of the legally required business filings.

When filing an FBNS, you are responsible for checking if the trading name is available and ensuring there are no trademark issues.

File a DBA in State

Business Search*
Name Reservations
Forms, Samples, and Fees*

*California residents must search for their city or county

Colorado

bridge, park and buildings
Source: Bizjournals.com

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.

File a DBA in State

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

Connecticut

bridge and river
Source: Istockphoto.com

Sole proprietors 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.

File a DBA in State

Managing Registration
Register Your Business

Delaware

river and buildings
Source: Startupsavant.com

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.

File a DBA in State

Trade Name Registration Guide
Trade Name Database
Trade Name Laws

Florida

river, boats, bridge and buildings
Source: Businessfacilities.com

You do not have to file a DBA in Florida.

Prerequisites outlined by the Division of Corporations must be met when filing a DBA to secure a trade name. The filing cost is $10.

File a DBA in State

Fictitious Name Registration
Registration Instructions
Filing Options

Georgia

flowing river and buildings
Source: Southmag.com

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.

File a DBA in State

First-Stop Business Guide
Register a New Business

Hawaii

beach, park and buildings
Source: Flickr.com

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.

File a DBA in State

Business Registration (BREG)
Trade Name and Trademark Registration

Idaho

trees and buildings
Source: Idahosbdc.org

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.

File a DBA in State

Business Services – Resources
Assumed Business Name FAQs
Business Name Search

Illinois

buidlings with an open sea in the background
Source: Exisglobal.com

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

A filing is a requirement if a business is to trade under an alternative name from the legal entity in the case of corporations, LLCs, or LLPs – or the owner’s name for 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.

File a DBA in State

Filing and Registration
Step by Step Guide

Indiana

buildings
Source: Dreamstime.com

A 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.

File a DBA in State

Business Forms
How to File a DBA
Business Owner’s Guide

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 legal 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, described as a “Resolution to Adopt Fictitious Names.”

File a DBA in State

Business Entity Forms and Fees
Fictitious Name Registration Form
Business Entity Filings

Kansas

roads, tree and buildings
Source: Nytimes.com

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.

File a DBA in State

Kansas Business Filing Center
Business Name Database

Kentucky

pathway, bridge and buildings
Source: Urban.org

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 (LP)
  • General partnerships
  • Sole proprietors
  • Trusts
  • Limited cooperative associations

Optional renewals take place every five years.

File a DBA in State

Choose a Name and Structure
Business Filings Information

Louisiana

boat with a city in the background
Source: Timeout.com

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.

File a DBA in State

File Business Documents
Business Legislature

Maine

All corporations, LLCs, and PLCs must 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.

File a DBA in State

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

Maryland

big city
Source: Thedailyrecord.com

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.

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.

File a DBA in State

Registration and Filing Resources
Trade Name Application
Starting a Business

Massachusetts

city with building lights
Source: Istockphoto.com

Businesses planning to trade under a name other than their own in the State of Massachusetts must file a DBA. You can file a DBA 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.

File a DBA in State

Name Reservations
Guide to Starting a New Business
Business Entity Database Search

Michigan

downtown buildings
Source: Abcnews.go.com

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. Filing a DBA is done at a county level.

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

File a DBA in State

Assumed Name (DBA) Guide
Certificate of Assumed Name
Assumed Name Cancellation Form

Minnesota

river, bridges, trees and buildings
Source: Pods.com

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, Minnesota.

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

File a DBA in State

Assumed Name (DBA) Forms
Business Filing and Certification Fees
Name Availability Guidelines

Mississippi

cars, roads, and buildings
Source: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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 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.

File a DBA in State

Fictitious Business Name Registration

Missouri

bridge, river and a whole city
Source: Bbc.com

Businesses trading under a name different from the business 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: 1-866-223-6535.

File a DBA in State

DBA Registration Guide
DBA Registration FAQ
Guide to Starting a Business

Montana

skyscrapers
Source: Istockphoto.com

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

Laws around DBA filing and naming conventions are stricter in Montana, and have 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 legal entity (in the 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.

File a DBA in State

Business Resources
Business Help Center

Nebraska

tower
Source: Istockphoto.com

DBA 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 the 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.

File a DBA in State

Online Business Registration
Business Name Procedures
Trade Name Laws

Nevada

Las Vegas
Source: Telegraph.co.uk

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 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.

File a DBA in State

DBA Filing By County
Register Your Business Online

New Hampshire

building lights reflection
Source: Worldatlas.com

Filing a DBA is referred to as a Registration of Trade Name in the state of New Hampshire. The filing fee is $50 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.

File a DBA in State

Trade Name Forms and Laws
Trade Name Statutes

New Jersey

buildings and a park
Source: Trentondaily.com

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

If a business registered in New Jersey is already using the business name of a foreign entity (registered in a different state), 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, nonprofit businesses, and LLPs – $15
  • LLCs – $50

For businesses operating under an unfiled name, a yearly charge of $50 will be deducted by the Division of Revenue for every year in business.

File a DBA in State

Register a DBA
Register a Business

New Mexico

image of houses and trees
Source: Wideopenroads.com

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 business filing information:

  • The business owner’s taxpayer identification number (TIN)
  • Personal details (names, addresses)
  • Trade details (entity type, activity, designation)

File a DBA in State

Business Services

New York

buildings and trees
Source: Nationsonline.org

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 in other states.

File a DBA in State

Assumed Name Certificate
Certificate for Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships
Certificate of Assumed Name

North Carolina

cars in parking lot with building in the background
Source: Pixels.com

All sole proprietorships and partnerships must register an assumed name. The same goes for any incorporated businesses that 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. The State of North Carolina has online filing along with an online database of existing trade names.

File a DBA in State

Assumed Business Names
Trademark Registration Guide

North Dakota

trees and a tower
Source: Gettyimages.com

The DBA registration period 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
  • LLPs
  • LLCs

Filing a trade name, known as a franchise name, costs $25.

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

File a DBA in State

Trade and Franchise Name Registration Guide
Trade Name Registration Form
Guide to Registering Your Business Name
Business Services

Ohio

grass, river and bridge with buildings in the background
Source: Bizjournals.com

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 in person and cost $25.

File a DBA in State

Start a Business
Trade Name Filing Forms

Oklahoma

road intersection
Source: Greateroklahomacity.com

Trade name registrations are not a legal requirement in Oklahoma.

Businesses can trade under an alternative trade name without filing a DBA. If you are a business owner, you can still benefit from filing a DBA by:

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

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

File a DBA in State

File a Trade Name
How to Start a Business
Business Licensing and Operating Requirements

Oregon

city lights
Source: Wideopenroads.com

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

The business owner is responsible for checking 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 and renewals are due every two years.

File a DBA in State

Assumed Business Name Registration Forms
Guide to Assumed Business Names
Answers to Business Registration Questions

Pennsylvania

buildings and trees in front
Source: Britannica.com

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.

File a DBA in State

Guide to Fictitious Names

Puerto Rico (Unincorporated U.S. Territory)

beach
Source: Gettyimages.com

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 names different from 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 U.S. Deposits.

File a DBA in State

Registration of Marks and Trade Names

Rhode Island

city river
Source: Thoughtco.com

In Rhode Island, you can file a DBA (an FBNS), 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.

File a DBA in State

Fictitious Business Name Filing Guide

South Carolina

people in the beach
Source: Rdzphotographyblog.com

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

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and incorporated companies can 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
  • Nonprofits
  • LLC/LLPs

You are responsible for checking the availability of the preferred name.

File a DBA in State

Business Filing Forms
FAQs About Business Entities

South Dakota

rooftops
Source: Worldatlas.com

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 file a DBA through the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website.

Online services include:

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

The filing fee is $10.

File a DBA in State

Online DBA Portal
Register a DBA
Business Services

Tennessee

buildings, river and trees
Source: Gettyimages.com

Filing a DBA, known as an Assumed Name in Tennessee, is mandatory for all businesses when transacting with a business name other than the registered entity’s.

The filing fee is $20. An online tool gathers the relevant details for the registration of an assumed name.

Corporations need their Secretary of State Control Number that is assigned during the initial registration.

File a DBA in State

Register an Assumed Name

Texas

roads with skyscrapers
Source: Southernliving.com

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

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

Name reservations cost $40 (lasting 120 days) and Assumed Name Certificate filings have a fee of $25.

File a DBA in State

Business and Nonprofit Forms
Name Filing FAQs

Utah

trees and buildings
Source: Worldatlas.com

Any business transacting under a name that differs from the full 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.

Online DBAs fees are:

  • $22 to file
  • $27 to renew (every three years)

File a DBA in State

Guide to Assumed Names (DBAs)
Renewal Process
Business Name Search

Vermont

houses in town
Source: Wideopenroads.com

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 while renewals (every five years) cost $40 and are available on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.

File a DBA in State

Assumed Business Name Registration
Business Services Division

Virginia

trees, river, bridge, buildings and mountain
Source: Smokingmusket.com

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

According to the Virginia Secretary of State, operating under a fictitious name without a valid DBA can result in a fine of up to $2,500 or a prison sentence of up to one year.

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

File a DBA in State

Forms and Fees
Fictitious Name FAQs
Business Entity Search
Online Business Services

Virgin Islands

trees, mountain and boats
Source: Worldatlas.com

By law, businesses must register a DBA in the Virgin Islands when trading under a fictitious name.

Filing fees vary by business type:

  • Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, corporations, and nonprofits – $25
  • Labor corporations, LPs, LLPs, Limited Liability Limited Partnerships (LLLPs) – $50

File a DBA in State

Corporations and Trademark Forms
Filing Fees

Washington

sails and buildings in the background
Source: Nytimes.com

You will need a DBA to do business in Washington state under a name other than your full legal name (partnerships and sole proprietors) or the name you registered with the Secretary of State.

Keep in mind that a DBA is different from a trademark — you may also need to file for a trademark to protect your intellectual property.

You can file an application and pay the $5 fee online.

Register Trade Names
Business Bulletin: Trade Name Registration

Washington, D.C.

beautiful white building
Source: Dcpolicycenter.org

Individual traders can file a DBA to obtain a fictitious trade name.

Trade names must be different from corporate names; 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. During the second year of the registration term, the first renewal deadline is April 1.

File a DBA in State

Register a Trade Name
Corporate Registration Details

West Virginia

busy traffic lights
Source: Worldatlas.com

West Virginia charges a $25 fee for trade name applications. However, you can also pay extra for expedited service in 24 hours ($25), two hours ($250), or one hour ($500).

Only one DBA will be printed on your business license, but you can register more trade names if needed.

The state accepts applications through email and fax as well as walk-in delivery.

Application for Trade Name (DBA)
Registration of Additional Trade Names

Wisconsin

factory emitting white smoke
Source: Worldatlas.com

Wisconsin allows business owners to change their DBA name over the phone with some basic information about their company.

Alternatively, you can write to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Expect to pay a filing fee of $15 when you update your DBA name.

How to Change Your Address, Name, or Taxpayer Identification Number

Wyoming

green trees and buildings
Source: Kayak.com

Unlike most states, Wyoming doesn’t require businesses to register their trade names.

You still have the option to file a DBA if you want, but you will have to pay a steep fee of $100.

Processing can take up to 15 business days, and there is currently no option for expedited service.

Furthermore, applications must be notarized and sent to the Secretary of State’s office as physical mail.

Application for Registration of Trade Name