What Is A DBA (Assumed Name) & When Do I Need One?

November 14, 2011  |  By

Just what is a DBA?

A DBA (Doing Business As) is an official filing you make with either the local or statewide government offices for registering the name under which you will be conducting business. In Texas, we generally refer to DBA registration as filing an Assumed Name Certificate.

Any type of entity structure can file an Assumed Name, whether you are operating as a sole proprietor, a partnership, a corporation, or an LLC. In fact, a lot of times banks may require proof of your Assumed Name Certificate before you can open your business bank account for a sole proprietorship or partnership.

When do I need one?

There are a number of times when you need to file an Assumed Name Certificate. First, if you are starting a business as a sole proprietor (or partnership) and don’t want to operate it under your personal name. Additionally, as stated, you may be required to file it in order to open a business bank account. Also, if you have started a company (a corporation, LLC, LP, LLP) but want to transact company business using a different name or moniker.

How do I do it?

Filing the Assumed Name Certificate is rather simple.  You can always go down to the County offices to get copies of the form, complete it, and then file it with the clerks (don’t forget your checkbook in order to pay the appropriate fee), but most large County offices are now using online forms that allow for electronic filing. Further, if you want to register your assumed name for the whole State of Texas, you can do so through the Texas Secretary of State.  A few best practices before filing:

  • Always be sure to conduct a preliminary name check to ensure that someone else isn’t already conducting business under the name you want to use.
  • Remember that you can’t use words in your Assumed Name that will mislead people about the business entity type.  For instance, I can’t use “INC.” or “LLC” in my Assumed Name if I am not actually incorporated or a limited liability company.

As always, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions.

About the Author(s)

Vela Wood

Vela Wood is a boutique corporate law firm with a local feel and a global impact. We focus our practice in the areas of M&A, Private Equity, Fund Representation, and Venture Transactions.