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 their secondary name with the state and makes the name a fully legal name for operating purposes.
When you need a DBA
A business is not required to register a DBA in Oklahoma. However, doing so will secure the business' exclusive right to use a name within the state. This is important not only for business purposes relating to dispelling any potential consumer confusion, but is also a concern as it pertains to legal liability. Whether it be allegations of deceptive or fraudulent practices or trademark infringement, the risk of these issues can be reduced by filing for a DBA formally.
Furthermore, engaging in transactions and opening bank accounts may require the filing of a DBA. In fact, sole proprietors are usually required to obtain a Certificate of Fictitious Name, which identifies the sole owner of the business, from the local county clerk's office.
Setting up a DBA in Oklahoma
Obtaining a DBA starts with searching the state business name database to determine if the name you want is available. You can go here to conduct the relevant search. Bear in mind that certain names should be avoided whenever possible, such as names that are already taken, names that deceptively or fraudulently represent the business' overall purpose, and names that misrepresent the entity structure itself, e.g. that incorporate "Inc." when the business is not actually a corporation.
Furthermore, names usually cannot be obtained for something illegal, e.g. "Johns Illegal Drug Emporium," or for names that represent the entity as a quasi-governmental or governmental organization.
Oklahoma DBA forms
DBA filers in Oklahoma can download a Trade Name Report form by going here. Sole proprietorships that wish to open a bank account using a Certificate of Fictitious Name should visit their local county clerk's office. Foreign entities (companies formed in a state other than Oklahoma) will need to use a separate form, which is available here.
Oklahoma DBA filing & registration
Filers for a foreign entity that requires a DBA must provide the name of the entity as it originally exists, the country or state where the corporation is originally organized, and the fictitious name to be registered.
Domestic entities (companies formed in Oklahoma) must provide the proposed trade name of the entity, the address where business is carried on under the trade name, a brief description of the business the entity conducts, the original "legal" name of the entity, the entity type, and the jurisdiction where it was formed.
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.