What is a DBA?
A "doing business as" or DBA designation is a useful way for businesses to adopt an alternative name, or trade name, that is different from the name used when the company was first formed. In some states the DBA filing is required, but in Hawaii the filing a DBA is purely voluntary.
When you need a DBA
In Hawaii, there is no requirement that a business register a DBA in order to use an alternative name in commerce. However, despite the fact that a DBA is not mandatory, it can be helpful in many regards. Some advantages are:
A registered DBA prevents others from legally using the name
Could deter trademark applications that are similar to your business name
Reduces the likelihood of future brad disputes
Some banks require DBA registration before opening a bank account
Setting up a DBA in Hawaii
In order to set up a DBA in Hawaii you get started by checking the state database of business names, if the name you want to register for your DBA is already in use, you will not likely be able to register that name. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs: Business Registration Division is the government depart that handles DBAs. You can search for conflicting business name on the department’s Search for Business Entity & Documents page. The site is also where DBA registration forms will be found.
After you’ve determined if your name is available, you can move on with registering the name with the state government. There is a non-refundable fee associated with filing the paperwork, check the above link for details about fees and processing times.
Adding an alternative trade name will not affect the company’s tax status.
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.