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 examplhelpe, 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
The State of Maine does not require business name registration. That said, companies operating under an assumed name or DBA may be required to file with the Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions. Specifically, sole proprietorships and general partnerships cannot file for a DBA, but sole proprietors and general partnerships operating under a trade name are required by Maine law to file with the municipal clerk where the business is located.
Setting up a DBA in Maine
No two businesses can have the same registered name, so filing for a DBA begins with searching the relevant databases to determine if the name you want is available. You can go here to search the relevant entity name database. Filers should also keep in mind that there are some very specific rules concerning business names in Maine.
For example, businesses may not use a name that contains the words "corporation," "incorporated" or "limited," or any abbreviation of these words unless the entity is a corporation. Similarly, a limited partnership name cannot include the name of a limited partner unless it is also the name of a general partner.
Corporate names may not be obscene, may not inappropriately promote abusive or unlawful activity, and may not falsely imply an association with public institutions. Finally, trade names containing the word "Passamaquoddy" are basically prohibited without written authorization from the Passamaquoddy Tribe (except "Passamaquoddy Bay").
Maine DBA forms
You can use the Assumed Name Form for the particular entity that the filer seeks to register an assumed name for. Forms are available here for each of these entities.
Maine DBA filing & registration
In Maine, the DBA filing requirements vary depending upon the type of entity that is getting a DBA. For sole proprietors, filers must provide the name and residence address of the proprietor as well as the DBA to be assumed.
Partnerships must provide the names of all the partners in the business as well as their places of residence, the purpose of the partnership, and the DBA to be assumed.
Limited partnerships must provide only the limited partnership name and the DBA to be used, as well as the locations in the state where the DBA will be used, and foreign limited partnerships must provide the jurisdiction where the partnership was organized.
Corporations must include their corporate name, the proposed DBA, and where in the state the DBA is to be used. If a foreign corporation, it must also provide the jurisdiction where it was formed. Corporations must file with the Maine Secretary of State.
These entities must file this paperwork in the clerk’s office in the town where business is conducted.
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.