How To Get a DBA in Arizona

If you’re interested in creating a DBA name for your Arizona business, then use our step-by-step guide. While we don’t currently offer DBA registration services in Arizona, we can help you with starting a business. Get started below.

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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.

What is an Arizona “doing business as” (DBA) name?

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:

  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships: These structures use trade names to establish a business identity separate from the names of their owners.
  • Corporations and LLCs: These business entities use DBA names when they want to operate under a different name or to condense their formal names. During formation, they’re required to include designators, such as “Corporation,” “Company,” “Limited,” or “Incorporated,” or an abbreviation of these words, in their names. A trade name allows them to drop these signifiers and simplify their 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:

  • Project a professional appearance: Whether you’re a sole proprietor or involved in a partnership, adopting a trade name allows you to operate under a name other than your personal name. By doing so, your business will appear more professional to clients and vendors.
  • Simplify your name: As noted, business entities, such as corporations and LLCs, are legally required to include signifiers in their formal names when they first form their business in Arizona. A DBA name allows you to drop those signifiers and trim your name, which can resonate more with customers.
  • Introduce a new product or service: If you’re about to launch a new product or service that’s related to your company but would benefit from its own brand identity, you may want to consider adopting a trade name. This will allow you to market all of your offerings separately while still under the same ownership.
  • Lay claim to your name: Registering a trade name doesn’t grant you exclusive rights to the use of this name. But once it’s on record, this might deter other companies from using it. This could prevent a marketing headache for you down the road.

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.

How do I register an Arizona DBA name?

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:

Step 1: Choose a name.

Choose a name that best reflects the nature of your company and determine whether it’s distinguishable from the names of other entities registered in the state. Be sure to do your research to ensure your name is truly distinct, as this could hold up your application.

Step 2: Search the forms a associated with the Online Trade Name/Trademark Program.

Go to the section of the Secretary of State website that includes all the forms associated with the Online Trade Name/Trademark Program. This is where you’ll find the Trade Name Registration Application.

Step 3: Check for trade name availability.

When applying online, you’ll be prompted to enter your desired trade name to check for availability.

Step 4: Add information of your business.

After this step, the online form requires some information, including your trade name and the date of application, entity type and name, a brief description of your business, and contact information.

Step 5: Include your filling fee.

Include your filing fee. It costs $10 to file your application. For expedited service, include an additional $25. You may pay by check or money order, which should be made payable to the Secretary of State. You may use a credit card or debit card.

Step 6: Wait for approval.

Finish the application and wait for approval before ordering business cards or other materials with your DBA name printed on them. In Arizona, trade names are carefully reviewed before approval is given. If your filing is rejected, you’ll receive a detailed explanation of why. Use these details to tweak and resubmit your application.

How do I choose an Arizona DBA 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.

How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Arizona?

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.

We can help!

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.

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.

Arizona DBA FAQs

  • 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.

  • 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.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information 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.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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