What Is a DBA?
If a company wants to do business with a name that is different from the name used to form the business, it must file the new name (called a trade name). This is often called filing for a DBA, or doing business as. For example, if “Frank’s Hot Dogs LLC” wants to do business as “Best Hot Dogs in Town” then the owners have to file a DBA.
When You Need a DBA
Under Florida law, a business must file a DBA if it seeks to operate under a name different from the name under which it was formed or from its owners. This applies whether the business is a corporation, a type of partnership, or a sole proprietorship.
Registering a DBA allows the business to use the name to open bank accounts, conduct transactions, and even to advertise. A business can file for a DBA before the business is legally formed, but most do so after the company is up and running.
Setting Up a DBA in Florida
No two business can have the same, or similar, names. This means the first step in filing a DBA is to search the Fictitious Name database to check if the desired trade name is available. If it is, then the filer may proceed to the registration process. Filers should bear in mind that the registration of a DBA will be denied if the name includes entity phrases such as "corporation" or derivatives of such entity phrases.
The next step is to file the paperwork with the state of Florida. Florida offers an Online Fictitious Name Registration service which allows filers to file their DBA online. Read the Fictitious Name Registration – General Information before proceeding, and review the various laws in place in Florida relating to fictitious names.
Note: You may have to publish notice of your intent to file a DBA. This means that you’ll need to publish a statement in a local newspaper so people in the community know that you’re doing business under another name. In most places, this statement must run for about five days. The paper will typically send you a certification proving the statement was published. The details for this may change from county to county, check the links above for more details.
These forms ask a variety of information, including:
Name to be registered
Mailing address of the business seeking a DBA designation
Name and address of each owner
Federal employer’s identification number, if the company is a corporation
A certification proving publication was completed, if required.
Once the DBA is registered it remains valid for a period of 5 years and expires at the end of year five. Those wishing to maintain their DBA designation will need to file for renewal of the DBA.
Getting a DBA doesn’t change the way your company is taxed.
If you’re ready to file a DBA, LegalZoom can help you get started today. We can help you file the paperwork with your state and can get you in touch with an attorney or tax professional to answer specific questions.