What is a DBA?
If a business wants to operate with a different name than the one used to form the business, it may have to register the new name (called a trade name or fictitious name). This process is often called filing for a DBA, or doing business as. For example, if “Frank’s Hot Dogs LLC” wants to do business as “Best Hot Dogs in Town” then the owners have to file a DBA.
When you need a DBA
The use of a DBA is required in West Virginia by any company that will do business under a name different than the name used to form the company.
There are different requirements for each entity type; individuals, sole proprietorships, general partnerships and unincorporated nonprofit associations need to register by filing paperwork with the county clerk of the county where the principal place of business is located.
For out-of-state companies, the relevant county will be the county in which most of the business is transacted. For corporations, limited liability companies (LLC), limited partnerships (LP), limited liability partnerships (LLP), voluntary associations and business trusts, on the other hand, trade names must be registered with the Secretary of State.
Setting up a DBA in West Virginia
Start the process of registering your trade name by searching the West Virginia business name database. Avoid names that are confusingly similar to other names on the register, or names that might be perceived as deceptive or fraudulent, and names that already have pre-existing federal and state trademark rights.
Registering a business name for your company doesn’t grant you any sort of trademark rights, so if you register a trademarked and try to use it in commerce, you may face a lawsuit.
West Virginia DBA Filing & Registration
DBA filers will need to provide the DBA to be registered, the name of the business as it originally was formed, the principal place of business, the general purpose or nature of the business in question, and any other information that is requested of the business at the time of filing.
Getting a trade name registered by filing a DBA doesn’t change how your company is taxed.
When you are ready to file a DBA in West Virginia, LegalZoom can help you. We can search the state business name database to find conflicts, file your paperwork, and even get you in touch with an attorney to help you with specific questions.