What is a dba?
When a business wants to operate under a different name (known as a trade name), that business may need to file to ‘do business as’ (dba). Filing for a dba allows the company to register its secondary name with the state and makes the name a fully legal name for operating purposes.
When you need a dba
Generally speaking, Ohio law requires that businesses report the use of a fictitious name when seeking to do business under a name different from the names of the owners, or different from the "true" name of the business entity.
That said, there are a number of prudential considerations that go into the decision to file for a dba as well. If a trade name is registered, the company can open bank accounts, write contracts, and perform other operations under the new name.
Furthermore, reporting the use of a fictitious name can assist a business in avoiding later claims of fraudulent or deceptive trade practices in certain cases. Businesses should keep in mind that reporting a fictitious name is different from filing for entity registration; the latter isn't required for a sole proprietorship or general partnership.
Setting up a dba in Ohio
Setting up a dba in Ohio begins with a corporate name search. Check with your local county clerk to search the business names in your area. Business names cannot include entity designations that are inaccurate, e.g., "Inc." can only be used for corporations.
Ohio filing & registration
Typically, you will need to provide certain information, including the name of the filer, the name of the business entity as it currently exists, the principal place of business of the entity, and the type of business it carries on. The proposed dba will also need to be provided in the filing itself.
Getting a trade name registered by filing a dba doesn’t change how your company is taxed.
If you want to file a dba, LegalZoom can help you. We can prepare and file the paperwork, search for available business names, and get you in touch with a business attorney to answer specific questions about your company.
Find out more about DBA State Requirements