Wednesday, July 13, 2011

D.B.A. (Doing Business As): Information For Aspiring Entreprenuers

When i started my business 9 years ago, i only knew how to spell business.  I was definitely wet behind the ears and at times, lazy, especially in the beginning.  I didn't personally know any business owners and wished that there was someone that i could have spoken with to get advice.

In order to do business in any state, you have to have legal documents to back you up and one of those documents is a Business Certificate aka a D.B.A (Doing Business As).

I stood in my own way by not asking questions and wasn't really sure what questions to ask.  Eventually, as I began doing Vendor Markets, Photoshoots, etc., the answers to the unspoken questions began to reveal themselves.

So i always said that i would share the information as i received it.  Here goes!!!!

Read the information below:

Q: What is a DBA?
A: 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. If you are conducting business under any name other than your own name or your company's legal name, you must register the fictitious name with your state and/or county.
Q: Do I need to file a DBA?
A: DBA registration is 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 generally require a DBA registration in order to open a business bank account. DBA registration is required if you anticipate collecting money under a name other than your own name or your true corporate name.
Q: I have a corporation -- should I file a DBA for my corporation?

A: Another common reason to register a DBA is when your state-level entity (such as a corporation or limited liability company) has a division or unit that conducts business using a variation of—or a completely different name than—the true name. For example, a bank whose true name is "ABC Bank Inc." might market their mortgage services on a website called "" and might have a separate division for their loan services called "XYZ Lenders," in which case they would most likely file DBAs for both "" and :"XYZ Lenders" in all jurisdictions in which these names are used.
Q: Do I need a DBA to open a business bank account?

A: Most banks do require a DBA registration to open a business bank account. In many states, they will require a certified copy of the DBA.
Q: What is an example of a DBA?

A: If your name were Jane Brown and the name of your business was "Donuts Unlimited," you would register your business as "Jane Brown, doing business as 'Donuts Unlimited.'" If you were a corporation named "ABC, Inc.," and you conducted business under the name "Express Cabinets," you would register your business name as "ABC, Inc., doing business as 'Express Cabinets.'"
Q: What types of names can be DBAs?

A: A DBA can be almost any name under which you are doing business. You cannot, however, make your DBA a corporate name such as XYZ, Inc. if you do not have a corporate name that is XYZ, Inc. In other words, when filing a DBA you cannot add "Inc." or "Corp." to your name to create the impression that your business is a corporation when, in fact, it is not.
Q: How soon am I required to file a DBA?
A: In most jurisdictions, it is best to file your DBA prior to beginning any use of the name. In some jurisdictions, a DBA filing is required within a specific period of time since having begun use of the name (usually within 30-60 days).
Q: Where should I file my DBA?

A: DBAs are usually filed at the state level and sometimes at the county level as well. You should file your DBA in the state and/or county in which you are conducting business under the name. In addition, certain jurisdictions require publication of your DBA. If you don't know your jurisdiction's requirements, you've come to the right place by visiting MyCorporation.Com. It's what we do.
Q: How long does it take to file a DBA registration?

A: Depending on the jurisdiction, most DBA filings take 1-4 weeks with some exceptions.
Q: Does filing a DBA exclude others from using the same name?

A: 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.
Q: Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) for a DBA?

A: Legally, you are required to identify your business with one of two numbers: either your Social Security Number or an EIN (Employer Identification Number, a.k.a. Federal Tax ID 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.
Q: When do I need to obtain a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)?

A: You Should obtain a Federal Tax Id:
  1. If you have a corporation
  2. If you have employees
  3. If you need to open a business bank account
  4. If you want to build corporate business credit

SOURCE: Briian Dargon and

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