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What is a Fictitious Business Name (also known as a DBA)?

DBA stands for "Doing Business As" and it can also be referred to as an assumed name, fictitious business name or trade name. If a business intends to do business under a name that is not the legal name of the business owner, or affiliated persons,  then they would need to register for a DBA. It is registered with the county or state’s regulatory authority. The county or state to register DBA names in is determined by where the main business was formed or where it resides. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships can benefit from the option of utilizing a DBA to conduct business. If a DBA is included in filed incorporation documents then C corporations, S corporations, LLCs, LPs, LLPs and nonprofit corporations can do business transactions without having to use the official business name. A DBA can be used as an official business name and allows a business to advertise its services, carry out transactions on behalf of the business, produce business or stationery cards and open a business bank account.

Other reasons a business chooses to register a DBA include:

  • Sole proprietorships and general partnerships will be able to open a business bank account, as well as enhance credibility.
  • Allows for a business to market a new product or service or open up a new line of business.
  • A business can do business transactions under a DBA as the domain name.
  • It is part of public records so other businesses will be aware of DBA names in use.
  • Because real names and addresses are required on the application, creditors and other interested parties can connect a business name to the actual owner of the business by looking up the DBA. 

A business can register as many DBA names as it would like, but keep in mind that registering a DBA is not a substitution for business formation filing and registration. 

Below are the necessary steps to registering and filing a DBA:

  1. Perform a name availability check/search with the appropriate county or state agency.
  2. Prepare and file the DBA document(s).
  3. Pay the necessary fees to the county or state agency.

If mandatory in the county or state, publish the DBA filing in local papers and re-file publication with the county or state agencies.

Please be aware that whatever DBA names you choose make sure that it does not deceive or mislead the public about the kind of business or services provided by the DBA. For businesses that are not registered as a corporation or an LLC do not include any variation of corporation or limited liability company in the DBA name. DBA filings may or may not have expiration dates and re-filing requirements, be sure to check with your local regulatory authority for how long a DBA can exist in your county or state.

Please see File and Publish your California Fictitious Name for assistance on filing and publishing your DBA. 


SunDoc Filings is not a law firm.  The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

DBA stands for "Doing Business As" and it's a registration offering advantages to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, but it can also be used by any business entity, often for specific marketing campaigns. Learn all about the useful DBA here...

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