Filing a DBA for a Business Entity

AdobeStock_119264482-300x204Naming a business is a critical component of branding strategy for a person or entity involved in a California business. When the name of the business does not include the owner’s last name, a person or entity has to file a fictitious business name (FBN) statement with the office of the Registrar-Recorder or County Clerk in the specific county location for the business. This process is also known as registering a “Doing Business As” (DBA) or “Trade Name,” and a business without a location in California will have to register with the Clerk of Sacramento County.

The DBA requirement can be confusing for many people, but you do not have to handle everything on your own. Contact an LA business formation attorney with Structure Law Group, LLP for help with all your DBA needs.

When DBAs Apply

You will have to register an FBN or DBA with the office of the Registrar-Recorder or County Clerk in the county where your business operates if your business is any of the following:

  • A sole proprietorship with a business name different from the owner’s name;
  • A partnership with a business name other than the partners’ surnames; or
  • An LLC, corporation, limited partnership, or other business entity doing business under a name other than the official business name.

Registering a DBA will legally connect you to your chosen Trade Name and becomes a matter of public record because California state law will require you to advertise your name in a local newspaper. You should advertise within the first 30 days of registering the DBA.

The first thing to do in setting up your DBA is to make sure it is available. Search existing California business entity names by performing a business name search through the California Secretary of State’s website or searching FBN filings on individual county websites.

Costs of DBAs

You should contact your County Clerk to get the most recent information about filing fees before filing your DBA paperwork. The rates can vary depending on where you live, but Los Angeles County typically charges $5 to search the business name database and $26 to file an application, with another $26 every year thereafter to renew the DBA.

Some lines of business may require additional state licenses and permits to operate legally in the state of California that come with their own fees. The federal government also requires fees for certain businesses, and you can visit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website to learn more about what industries are regulated as well as current fees.

Setting Up the DBA in California

When you have a DBA name, your next step will be to register it. You begin with the county where you intend to do business and then either complete the entire process online or download the forms and mail them in.

If you have a third party handle the DBA registration on your behalf, you should notarize your documents. When your company is not in California, it will be a foreign entity, meaning you must register the DBA with the Clerk of Sacramento County.

Pricing varies by county, so check with the County Clerk’s office in your location to get access to specific forms and filing fees.

What Happens After You Get Your California DBA

California law will require you to advertise your DBA within 30 days of its registration. Advertising will afford you public proof of your right to do business under the new alias.

While the DBA will be yours once you file all the paperwork, completing the process will not make the name indefinite. California only allows you to claim fictitious names for a period of no more than five years, so you should set an automatic reminder to renew your DBA.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation With an LA Business Formation Attorney

When you are forming an entity and trying to establish a legal and operative DBA, make sure you are working with an experienced entity formations law firm in LA. Structure Law Group, LLP is adept in formation strategy and has been handling these kinds of concerns for decades.

Our firm will know how to make the registration process as easy as possible for you and can help you avoid any complications. We can talk about your case further as soon as you call (408) 441-7500 in Silicon Valley or (310) 818-7500 in Los Angeles, or contact us online to arrange an initial consultation that will allow us to take an in-depth look at your case and provide full legal guidance.