What is a DBA?
If the owners of a company want to do business using a name that is different from the original name used to form the business, they must register the secondary name. For sole proprietorships and partnerships the original name is the actual name of the owner or partners.
This secondary name doesn’t replace the original name but acts as an additional, legal name for the business. This name is known by several terms such as trade name, fictitious business name and assumed name. The process for filing this name is often called filing for DBA registration, or doing business as.
For example, if the partners in the “John Doe and Jane Doe Partnership” (partnerships use the legal names of the partners) wants to do business as “Two Good Plumbers” then the partners have to file a DBA.
When you need a DBA
Sole proprietorships or partnerships using a name other than the names of the owners of these entities will be required to file for a DBA designation. If the company is a corporation or limited liability company, then a DBA will be needed if the owners want to open bank accounts, advertise, or otherwise do official business using the trade name.
Setting up a DBA in Iowa
The first step to getting a trade name registered is to find out if the name is available. If someone else has already filed a DBA for the name you want, you typically can’t use that name. Go to the Iowa Secretary of State website in order to search the state database of names.
After you’ve got a usable name, you have to file the paperwork and pay filing fees. Sole proprietorships and partnerships will have to file their DBA with the local county recorder in the county where their business operates. Corporations and LLCs have to file with the Iowa Secretary of State.
You’ll fill out the form Fictitious Name Resolution and file it with either with the local county recorder or with the Iowa Secretary of State, depending on the type of business you’re running. Check with your local county clerk or the Secretary of State for the most current filing fees, and any county-specific requirements.
Registering a trade name doesn’t affect how 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.
Find out more about DBA State Requirements