What Is a DBA?
When a person, or company, wants to do business under a name other than their legal name they usually need to register the secondary name. This secondary name is called a trade name and the process is called filing to Do Business As (DBA). For example, if “Joe’s Auto Body LLC” wants to do business as “Sunset Car Repair” the owners need to file a DBA to register that secondary name (a trade name).
When You Need a DBA
In Connecticut, sole proprietors operating under a name different from their personal name are not required to register a DBA with the Secretary of State. For example, if John Doe runs a tax accounting firm, he is legally operating as John Doe, but could do business in Connecticut as “John’s Lightning Fast Taxes.”
On the other hand, corporations, LLCs, LLPs, or other partnerships that choose to use a name other than the names of the owners will need to register a DBA with the Secretary of State. In the same example, if John Doe formed “John Doe’s Tax Firm, LLC” he’d need to register a different name.
DBA Name Search
The first step to registering a trade name is to see if the desired name is already in use in Connecticut. If it is, you can’t register it because no two companies can have the same, or in some cases even similar, names. A company that operates with an unapproved name could open itself up to legal liability.
A name search can be conducted using the Commercial Recording Division's CONCORD service. When selecting a name filers should avoid using names like "corporation," "inc" or "LLC," as these names are not available for registration in Connecticut. Furthermore, deceptive names should not be registered as these may also be rejected.
Connecticut DBA Forms
An applicant for a Connecticut DBA should file an Application for Reservation of Name, the form can be found at the Secretary of State website. Filers should bear in mind that there are different forms for different types of entities, and should be mindful in selecting the appropriate form to avoid rejection by the licensing authority.
Specifically, there are seven different forms that a filer will need to select from in determining the manner of registering for the business' DBA. These forms have many similarities, but filers should not assume they are identical, and should be careful in reviewing the instructions as well as the requesting information to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations surrounding DBA registration.
Connecticut DBA Filing and Registration
While each form may be slightly different they do share certain similarities. For example, all of the forms require the personal information of the owners including names and addresses, and the forms will also require the selection of a DBA designation and a signature of the form from an authorized person.
Registering a trade name doesn’t affect your company’s tax status.
If you’re ready, LegalZoom can help you get a DBA online, and offers other business services such as trademarking your business name or logo, forming an LLC, and helping you stay up to date on legal requirements.