If you’re an entrepreneur in Arizona, you may not wish to use your business’s full legal name for all of your company’s activities. If so, a “doing business as” (DBA) name could be a helpful branding tool, allowing you to conduct your small business under a different title.
A DBA is used when the name under which they operate their business differs from its legal, registered name. Arizona has its own legal requirements, restrictions, and processes when registering and maintaining a DBA name, which they call a “trade name.”
Although we don’t currently support DBA registration in Arizona, read on to learn about why you might want to use a trade name as well as how to register, maintain, and renew one to give your business the best chance at success.
A DBA name allows a business entity to operate under a name that’s different from its legal title. You’ll register this name through Arizona’s Secretary of State.
To be clear, this doesn’t create a new legal entity. You won’t be taxed separately under this name, nor does it come with any liability protection. It’s just another name for your company, one that you’ll use for marketing purposes.
DBA names are referred to by various names in different states: “fictitious names,” “assumed names,” and “trade names” being some of the most common. In Arizona, DBA names are formally called “trade names,” although they’re essentially the same thing. When you register your business’s pseudonym, it will be as a trade name.
There are two main categories of businesses that tend to seek trade names:
Although a trade name doesn’t establish a separate legal entity, there are still plenty of benefits that come with it. You might choose to operate under a DBA name for various reasons. It all comes down to your business’s needs. These benefits include:
If you think a trade name makes sense for your Arizona business, continue reading this comprehensive guide. This guide provides a detailed overview of how to register a trade name in Arizona.
To register your Arizona DBA name, you must file your trade name through the Secretary of State. The state requires that you complete the Trade Name Registration Application via the Online Trade Name/Trademark Program. Applications by mail are no longer accepted.
Here are the steps to take when registering your Arizona trade name:
When choosing a trade name in Arizona, you’ll want a name that makes an impact. Your name is the most important branding tool you have. Pick a distinctive name that is a good representation of what your company has to offer. You’ll want customers to see your name and know right away what you’re about.
Also, keep state regulations in mind when creating your trade name. First, you want to check to make sure the name you want is available. Before registering it, you can search Arizona’s state database of businesses to determine the availability of your preferred name.
In Arizona, your trade name should be distinguishable from any other entity on record. In its Trade Name and Trademark Handbook, the state includes a list of requirements for determining whether your preferred name is distinctive from other businesses.
Arizona also does not allow trade names to include corporate designators, such as “Inc.,” “LLC,” or “Ltd.” Remove those ahead of registering your trade name, or you’ll risk rejection.
Remember that you’ll also want to set up a domain name that aligns with your DBA name. Before finalizing your trade name, check to ensure a corresponding domain name is available. If you’re interested in setting up a website that aligns with your DBA name goals, ZenBusiness’s Domain Name Registration services can handle this process for you.
Once you register your Arizona trade name, it’s valid for five years. After five years, you’ll need to file a Trade Name Renewal form, which has a $10 filing fee. This renewal should be done within six months of your trade name’s expiration date.
To make any changes to your trade name, including the address, phone number, or legal name of the current owner, you must file a Trade Name Amendment form. This has a $3 filing fee.
To transfer ownership of your trade name to another entity, you need to fill out a Trade Name Assignment form. The filing fee for this transfer is $10. You also must have this form notarized before submitting it to the Secretary of State by mail or in person.
If you decide to terminate your trade name, you can do so by filing a Trade Name Cancellation form. While there is no fee for filing this form, it does require notarization.
While we don’t currently support DBA registration in Arizona, we can help you create one in states we do support, including: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. We can make creating a DBA name for your business simple.
The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
Arizona Business Resources
When applying for a DBA or trade name in Arizona, you’ll need to file a Trade Name Registration Application with the Secretary of State with the proper fee. You can find a current fee schedule on their website, which includes an option for expediting registration.
Since your trade name application requires rigorous review by the state to determine that your name is distinguishable from other entities and available, the processing time takes between two and three weeks. When filing your application, you can pay an additional $25 to expedite this process, though.
There is no requirement that Arizona businesses adopt a DBA or trade name. However, it is an acceptable business practice if you decide your company could benefit from a trade name.
As a sole proprietor or partnership, a DBA name will create a brand separate from your personal name and establish an identity for your business. For corporations and LLCs, a trade name allows you to condense your legal name and drop the formal business designators, such as “LLC” or “Inc.” This helps to streamline your marketing efforts.
While registering a trade name doesn’t grant you exclusive rights to the name in Arizona, having it on record will likely cause other entities to pass on using it. No reasonable business will want to deal with the marketing conundrum of adopting a name already in use. The best way to ensure you have exclusive rights to a business name in Arizona is by adopting it as your formal name during formation.
There is no limit to the number of trade names your business adopts. It all depends on your company’s needs and what makes sense for your operations. You might want to have multiple DBA names to establish several brands under the same ownership structure.
A DBA name might also be referred to as a “fictitious name.” In Arizona, though, a DBA name is formally referred to as a “trade name.”
In Arizona, a sole proprietor can use their given name to conduct business or operate under an assumed name. There is no requirement to adopt a trade name.
A sole proprietor might benefit from a trade name, though. This will separate their personal identity from their business identity and create a more professional aura around their business.
No, a DBA name doesn’t affect how your business is taxed in Arizona. When you register a trade name, you aren’t establishing a separate legal entity from the business created during your formation. Even if you have several trade names, they’ll all be taxed under your original business.
ZenBusiness’s business formation experts are here to help you establish and grow your dream business. See how our many services can help you cut through the red tape so that you can focus on the more enjoyable parts of running your company.
Most Popular States to Get a DBA Name
When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for filing a DBA.
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