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 John Smith, owner of a sole proprietorship, wants to do business as “Best Carpet Cleaner” rather than "John Smith" then he has to file a DBA.
When you need a DBA
Kentucky law requires all sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, business or statutory trust, or limited cooperative association to file for a DBA if the owners want to do business under an assumed name in Kentucky.
In addition to being required by law, filing a DBA registration allows a company to open bank accounts with the assumed name and helps prevent other businesses from using the assumed name.
Setting up a DBA in Kentucky
The DBA filing process begins by determining if another business already registered the name you want to use. This is done by searching the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Name Availability Search.
Once you’ve decided on an assumed name you will have to fill out and file the paperwork. The appropriate form is the Certificate of Assumed Name. The DBA designation filing must be renewed approximately every 5 years.
In Kentucky, filers for a DBA designation have different filing requirements depending upon the type of entity at issue. If the business is a sole proprietorship, the business must file with the county clerk where the business maintains its principal place of business. All other business entities, including general partnerships, limited partnerships, business or statutory trusts, corporations, limited liability companies, or limited cooperative associations, must file with the Kentucky Secretary of State and also with the county clerk of the county where the entity maintains its registered agent or its principal office.
Getting a trade name registered by filing a DBA doesn’t change 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.