So You Started A Business, Do You Have A DBA?
A DBA or a “Doing Business As” is an assumed name that sets your business apart from you, or your personal “self”. It is often referred to as a Trade Name (not to be confused with trademark) and the terms used can vary by State. You may hear words like, fictitious name, assumed name and trade name used interchangeably. Basically it is your branding, or in other words, it’s your business name that you want people to be aware of.
What A DBA Is NOT
- It is not the name of your corporation, partnership or LLC
- It is not your personal name
- It is not a Trademark
- It is not a level of protection for your personal assets
States That Don’t Require DBA Registration
- Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina (Only foreign businesses operating in the state can register), Tennessee, Virginia (Only if assumed name differs from legal business name)*
Why A DBA Is Important
- It is required to conduct business legally in most areas*
- It is required on government forms & applications, such as your apps for a business license, business permits or a Federal Employer Tax ID.*
Other Benefits to Having A DBA
- Keeps your start-up costs low. You don’t have to have an attorney to start your business and you won’t need an accountant to keep your books for tax filing purposes or reporting.
- You can list multiple businesses under 1 name. Example, you own a parenting blog and you own a separate website where you sell goods & services related to parenting. Both of these can fall under the umbrella of 1 name, but still remain 2 separate businesses that you own and operate.
- On the flip side, if you own a local flower shop, own a blog about pets, have an Etsy shop online and a photography business, you can have DBA’s for each of those ventures to hold onto your separate branding for each. You can have separate bank accounts, books etc.
- You can continue to file your business income taxes along with your personal taxes. No separate business tax filing is necessary.
- It allows you to open business banking accounts, to conduct transactions and make deposits/withdrawals under your business name. This also allows you to keep your business banking separate from your personal banking and receive additional business perks.
- It offers a small level of protection over your business name. It doesn’t trademark your name, but it will help prevent other local people from using your exact business name if you register it.
- You have complete control over your business, how much profit you make or take and you can maintain your own accounting. Hiring professionals to handle pieces of your business, are totally optional.
*Remember to always refer to your local jurisdiction regarding the business filing requirements for your venture. You can seek the help of an attorney or business law expert for your jurisdiction. Most States have information readily available at local levels with your city, county &/or state government offices or websites. Remember, there are some states that do not have DBA filing requirements.
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