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 corporation “Ghost Tours Inc.” wants to do business as “Spooky Sightseeing” then the owners have to file a DBA.
When you need a DBA
Under Louisiana law, the owner of a sole proprietorship does not have to register an assumed name if the owner wants to do business under a different name. However, most other business entities, including corporations, non-profits, limited liability companies and partnerships are required to register their DBA with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Setting up a DBA in Louisiana
The first step is choosing an appropriate assumed name for the DBA. You’ll have to search the names already registered by using the Louisiana Business Filings database. A name that is already registered can’t usually be used as an assumed name. Furthermore, state law places other restrictions on assumed business:
The assumed name must be expressed in English letters or characters
The assumed name may not imply that the business is an administrative agency of any parish, or of the State of Louisiana, or of the United States
Assumed names cannot deceptively or falsely suggest that the business is a corporate entity and cannot contain words which required by law to be included in a corporate name such as “corporation,” “Inc.” or similar.
Assumed names may not contain the name of any public park, playground, or other public facility without written consent of the relevant governing authority.
Once you’ve chosen an assumed name, you’ll use the Application to Register Trade Name, Trademark or Service Mark from the Louisiana Secretary of State website.
Other forms relating to renewal of the DBA designation and the dissolution or abandonment of the DBA designation can also be found on the Louisiana Secretary of State website, as well as filing instructions and fee information.
Before you can file this form, you have to publish notice of your DBA filing. This means that you’ll have to run a notice in a parish newspaper telling the community about your DBA filing. This notice must run once a week for three successive weeks. Contact the Clerk of Court for your parish to get details about this requirement, such as which paper to use, how much it costs, etc.
This form must be filed with Louisiana Secretary of State and with the Office of the Clerk of Court for the parish where the business has its principal place of business. If the business is “foreign,” i.e. located outside the state of Louisiana, then filing with the Clerk of Court of any parish in Louisiana will suffice. You form must include a description of the names to be used, as well as any marks or devices to be used.
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.
Find out more about DBA State Requirements