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
Under Minnesota law, a DBA filing is required for any individual, corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company that seeks to conduct business under a name other than their full legal name. Failure to file the DBA properly can result in allegations of fraud brought against the business entity in question, and so it is important to file the DBA properly.
Setting Up a DBA in Minnesota
Filing for a DBA begins with a name search to ensure that the trade name the business seeks to operate under is not already registered by another business. The Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State website is where you’d find a list of registered names.
Bear in mind that Minnesota prohibits the use of a DBA to intentionally misrepresent the geographic origin or location of the business in question. Minnesota law also expressly prohibits the use of a corporate designation such as incorporated, inc, limited, chartered, professional association, etc. unless that designation is an accurate representation of the type of entity filing for the DBA.
Minnesota DBA Forms
Filers for a DBA will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name with the Office of the Secretary of State. Minnesota has this filing process centralized at the Minnesota Business & Lien System within the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website, which can be found here.
Minnesota DBA Filing & Registration
Filers begin by filling out the Certificate of Assumed Name, and including the relevant information such as the name of the filer, the principal place of business of the entity in question, and the assumed name to be adopted by the entity in question.
After obtaining the Certificate, you must publish the Certificate in a qualified Legal Newspaper (a list of newspapers that qualify can be found here) for two consecutive issues in the county where the principal place of business is located.
Businesses must keep in mind that Minnesota requires that the DBA designation be renewed annually. There is no fee for renewal, but if allowed to lapse there will be a reinstatement fee for the DBA designation. For more detailed instructions on filing filers can go to the Office of the Revisor of Statutes located here.
Getting a trade name registered by filing a DBA doesn’t change how your company is taxed.
Are you ready to get a DBA? LegalZoom can help you get started today. We can help with the paperwork and can also get you in touch with a business attorney to answer specific questions about your DBA.