DBA: When, Why, & How Do You File One?
Starting a new business comes with several challenges, one of the significant challenges being making critical legal decisions. When making legal decisions and ensuring that you file all the required paperwork, you must understand the many terms people always throw around. Some of these terms are acronyms, and as such, comprehending what they mean is not easy.
One of the terms you will come across, if you still have not, is DBA. The acronym stands for "doing business as," and it is also called an assumed business name in North Carolina. A DBA is an excellent way for you to rebrand your company’s name.
This article focuses on the abbreviation, DBA. Keep reading to learn when you need to file a DBA, why, and how to file a DBA in the state of North Carolina.
What Exactly is a DBA?
A DBA, or “doing business as,” or an assumed business name, is the fictitious name that a business uses, which is different from the entity's registered name. It is often the name that business owners choose to present to the public. For example, a business registered as “Pitt’s Bakery LLC.” might have a "doing business as" of "Pitt's & Daughters Bakery." The difference between these two names is a few words, but the second name is a DBA regardless of the small difference. Some business entities choose to use completely different names for a DBA. One reason for such a decision could be because a registered name is too long.
In North Carolina, any other name that an LLC or a corporation uses other than the one they registered with the NCSOS is an assumed business name. Partnerships and sole proprietorships (individuals) in North Carolina use assumed business names anytime they use names different from the business partners’ or proprietors’ real names.
Therefore, if you own an LLC, a corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship, and intend to use a name different from your real names or the name you registered with the NCSOS, then you need to file for a DBA.
Why You Need to File for a DBA
Apart from the fact that the law expects you to file for a DBA before you can use a fictitious business name, there are other reasons why you need to file for a DBA.
● Using a DBA without filing for it can spell trouble when you are accused of conducting deceitful activities.
● Filing for a DBA allows you to open a bank account under the assumed name.
● Filing for a DBA gives confidence to those who conduct business with you.
How to File for a DBA
DBA names can be registered at the state or county level, depending on where your business is located. Some states don’t require registration of DBA names at all. Filing for a DBA in North Carolina entails two simple steps.
● The first step is for you to conduct a name search.
● The second step is to register with the Register of Deeds Office.
As of December 1, 2017, business owners in North Carolina stopped filing for DBA certificates in each county where they conduct business. File for a DBA in one of the counties where you do business and indicate on the form the other counties.
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