What is a DBA?
A business operating under a name different from the name that is registered with the state of Alabama will need to register the new name. This registration is commonly referred to as a DBA (doing business as) in most states.
In Alabama, the business filing a DBA must already be using the secondary name at the time registration is sought. This sets Alabama apart from other states which generally frown upon use of a DBA prior to registration.
When you need a DBA
Given that you can use the DBA you have chosen in Alabama without having to register it first, you only need a DBA when you are a foreign entity seeking to do business under a different name inside Alabama. That said, sole proprietors and general partnerships are also exempted from filing for DBA's simply because there is no state filing requirement for those entities. Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships, however, are not exempt and must file if they are foreign entities doing business under a different name.
Setting up a DBA in Alabama
As is the case with most DBA registrations in any state, filing for a DBA in Alabama begins with a DBA business name search to determine the availability of the proposed DBA designation. After verifying the availability of the proposed name through Alabama's Government Records Inquiry System, the entity may proceed to file an Application for Registration of Foreign Corporate Name.
Alabama DBA forms
To initiate the Alabama DBA filing process, an entity can call the Alabama Corporations Call Center or download a name reservation form and fax or mail it to the Alabama Secretary of State.
Alabama DBA filing & registration
In order to file for a DBA in Alabama, the filer will need:
- The date that the name was first used in any state
- The date the DBA was first used in the state of Alabama
- A statement claiming ownership of the right to use the DBA name
- A brief description of the business, how the name will be used, and if a federal trademark registration exists, a copy of the federal registration.
The DBA registration must be renewed every 10 years. The Alabama Secretary of State will send a notice to the address on file for the entity, so the address on file should be kept current. The renewal must confirm the continued use of the DBA in Alabama, as a lack of use in the state will result in expiration of the name. If this happens, the name will be available for use by other businesses.
Getting a DBA in Alabama does not affect the tax status of the business that filed the DBA.
Ready to file a DBA in Alabama? LegalZoom can help you file for DBA registration online in three easy steps. LegalZoom also offers other business services, such as forming an LLC or corporation or finding a registered agent.