In continuation of our series of articles from my friend Jim Betinol from Withrow & Betinol Law, we share an article that discusses DBAs or Doing Business As. The purpose of these articles is to emphasize that is not merely enough to have business insurance, but other aspects that surround your business lay the groundwork and foundation on which your business is founded on. You can make $1,000,000.00 in the year, but you can also lose it all and more because of a technicality or mistake.
August 20, 13
Do I need to file for a DBA?
Also referred to as a Fictitious Business Name, Doing Business As (DBA) is a required filing that lets the public know the true owner of a business. It was created to provide a form of consumer protection against those dishonest business owners operating under a different name to avoid legal trouble.
Who needs a DBA?
Generally, there are two situations in which your business will need to file a DBA:
A. If you are a sole proprietor or partnership operating a business using a name that is different from your own personal name(s).
John Doe wants to open a coffee shop called “Bean Café.” Under this situation, John would need to file a DBA since his operating a business under a name that is different from his own personal name.
Alternatively, if John Doe decides to use the name “John Doe’s Café,” he may not need to file a DBA since his operating the business under his own personal name.
John Doe wants to open an auto repair shop, called “John Doe and Family Auto body” or “John’s Auto body.” Under these two situations, John would need to file a DBA since the business either implies a larger group of unnamed owners and/or is ambiguous.
B. If you have formed a limited liability company or have incorporated your business and is operating the business under a name that is different from the name of the company or LLC registered with the State.
John Café, LLC decides to open a store called “Coffee Bean Café,” or “johncoffeeroaster.com.” Under this situation, John would need to file a DBA for the other names.
Where and when do you file a DBA?
DBA’s are generally filed with your local county clerk’s office, which will include a small filing fee to the clerk and an additional expense to publishing your DBA filing with an approved newspaper to satisfy the public notice requirement of DBAs. Consult with your local clerk’s office for further details.
DBA’s should be filed before any business is conducted using the name. Some jurisdictions may allow a grace period before assessing penalties, but it is important to have your DBA filed from the start because it is necessary for using the name in contracts, bank accounts, licenses, and permits.
Written by Guest Writer: Jim Betinol, Partner at Withrow & Betinol Law