A DBA name or doing business as name is a fictitious business name that is different from your personal name. When you create a business, your company’s name defaults to the name of the person or organization who owns it. To change the name of your business, you must register it as a DBA name. Knowing and using the legal name of your business is essential since it is required on all government paperwork, including applications for employer tax IDs, licenses and permits.
A DBA is needed in the following circumstances:
Sole proprietorships — If you want to operate your sole proprietorship under any name other than your legal name, you must register a DBA or assumed name. For example, if Jane Doe creates a bakery shop, her business is called Jane Doe. However, Jane Doe could change her business name to Jane Doe Bakery by registering her new DBA name.
Partnerships — If the name you choose for your partnership differs from names of the partners, DBA registration is required.
Existing corporations or LLCs — Do you already own a corporation or LLC? If you want to change the existing name of your company, you must choose and register a DBA name.
It is vital that you perform proper research before choosing a name. The name you choose cannot infringe on any trademarks or copyrights of other businesses. Additionally, it is important to remember to renew your DBA — in California, your DBA expires five years from the date of filing. Depending on the location of your business, you can register your DBA with the county clerk or with the state government.