If you’re an entrepreneur in Connecticut, 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. Follow the steps below if you’re interested in creating a DBA name for your Connecticut business.
DBA names are primarily used to enhance brand personality and marketing efforts. If you feel that your personal name or business name needs a makeover, a DBA name may be the right decision.
Each state has its own regulations regarding DBA names, and Connecticut is no exception. Although we don’t currently support DBA registration within the state, use this guide to learn more about what a DBA name is, choosing the right one, registering it, maintaining it, and why and when it makes good sense to have one.
Connecticut follows its own regulations when it comes to trade name registration. Each city has its own rules, and while the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) can be used for name changes and amendments, the trade name registration form must be accessed from the specific city’s Town Clerk.
After confirming your trade name through the Connecticut Business Registry Search, follow these steps to get your Connecticut trade name registered:
Connecticut is quite unique in that no trade name renewals are required for sole proprietorships. Because each city stipulates its own requirements, forms and costs may differ. For example, Stamford charges $10 for each “Certificate of Registration of Trade Name” on which DBA name amendments must be made. Likewise, the same form is used to cancel a name.
Corporations and LLCs registered with the Connecticut Secretary of State must make name changes through this office. Name change approvals should then be mailed to the Department of Revenue Services, Registration Unit, 450 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, CT 06103.
All the documentation proving that the name has been changed at the Secretary of State’s office should be provided to the IRS.
Should the IRS request a change of the EIN when the name change is done, a new tax number will also need to be obtained to coincide with this change. Existing EIN and tax numbers will then need to be closed via the DRS by completing the relevant form when making the DBA name change.
Business owners can use a DBA name instead of operating under their personal or registered business name. A DBA name presents opportunities that are not necessarily available when using the “true name” of the business, such as improved branding.
The “true name” refers to the legal name of the business. A DBA name is also commonly referred to as an “assumed name” or a “fictitious business name.” Connecticut’s technical term for a DBA name is a “trade name.”
Two main business categories will usually opt for a DBA name. These include:
DBA names have excellent benefits for small business owners, but you need to be aware that they do not provide legal assurance. This means that a DBA name is used for identity purposes but does not separate personal and business assets for sole proprietorships and partnerships. LLCs and corporations will also not be absolved of any legal responsibilities by using a DBA name.
Connecticut business owners can freely use DBA names to promote business interests. Filing a DBA name is required in this state if you choose to use a trade name. You still have the option to continue business operations under your legal or “true name” if you choose not to use a DBA name, though.
As informal as regulations are, and with there being no obligation to use a DBA name, its use still holds clear advantages for business owners. For instance, it is advisable to file a DBA name if you want to open a business bank account under a different name than what is registered. Also, a DBA name can sound more professional than using a personal name when conducting business.
Distinctive business names are memorable. Memorable names are marketable. Select a trade name for your business that embodies easy recognition, as branding gets your business noticed.
Choosing a DBA name means doing a search to establish that you will not be sharing the same or similar name to another business. Your business should stand out among competitors, so you do not want customers to confuse your business with another. This is a quick way to lose or confuse your target audience before you have a chance to demonstrate the worth of your business.
Of course, DBA names are not required to be unique in Connecticut, but it is worth the effort to choose and register a unique name upfront, even if someone else decides they like it in the future.
Go to the Connecticut Business Registry Search to see whether your DBA name is available. Due to pressures caused by recent shutdowns, the Secretary of State requests that only this C.O.N.C.O.R.D. search system be used.
As with most other states, the use of certain words in the DBA name are not allowed. For example, Stamford states on its website that “Certain words related to banks, trusts, and savings are prohibited from use.” Unless the business is a registered financial institution, such names are regarded as misleading to the public.
We Can Help!
While we don’t currently support DBA registration in Connecticut, 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.
If you still feel that you need help, our experts in business formation also provide a myriad of other services so that you can focus on your core business.
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.
Connecticut Business Resources
Connecticut DBA name filing costs depend on the city where you file the application. All Connecticut DBA names must be filed with the respective Town Clerk where your business operates. Check if online form submissions are possible, as each city provides its own forms, and fees may differ. DBA name renewal and trade name changes will have to be done in the same way.
Each city handles its own filing, so it is difficult to identify clear processing guidelines. Stamford processes its forms in seven to 10 business days, which provides an indication of how long other cities may take.
For sole proprietors and partnerships, expedited registration via overnight courier with a self-addressed envelope is requested. On receipt of the DBA name forms, a confirmation will be returned to the sender the following day, according to Stamford. After completing the process of filing in Stamford, you should receive confirmation that your trade name has been approved within seven to 10 days via normal mail. If not, follow up with the local Town Clerk, where the trade name registration form was filed.
Expedited filing with the Secretary of State will take place in accordance with their instructions for registered companies. An email must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org containing the word “Expedited” in the subject line. Completion of DBA name registration will take place by 4 p.m. on the following workday. Applications under review may take a little longer than one workday.
As with many other states, a sole proprietor in Connecticut is not legally required to use a DBA name. They can operate a business using their legal name. However, they will miss out on the advantages of operating under a DBA name, which can improve marketing, enhance privacy, and be beneficial when opening a bank account. Failure to file a DBA name may attract penalties if the sole proprietor uses a trade name, though.
Unlike sole proprietorships, corporations and LLCs must file a DBA name with the Secretary of State if they choose to use one.
Trade names or DBA names are not required to be unique across Connecticut. Conduct a search in your town to find out if the name has been taken by another business. Some cities do have online databases to aid in the search process. For example, Norwalk and Stamford have such digital records. Unfortunately, many towns only keep manual records, which will make the process of name-checking more laborious. Two such towns are Fairfield and Bridgeport.
The name search facility on C.O.N.C.O.R.D. does offer an alternative to checking name availability. One way to overcome the lack of originality of the trade name is to replace it with a federal trademark, obtainable via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Multiple DBA name use in Connecticut is common. Businesses tend to use several additional names for marketing and branding reasons. This level of flexibility encourages the use of many names to drive business growth.
DBA names are referred to as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” and “trade names.” Essentially, these all mean the same thing. Connecticut has elected to use the term “trade name” for administrative purposes.
Connecticut does not require sole proprietors to file a DBA name unless they are conducting business under any name other than their legal name. Sole proprietors can choose a DBA name that is more reflective of the nature of their business if this suits their goals.
Sole proprietors should be aware that if they do decide on a DBA name, the law does not treat the business identity as separate from the owner. Connecticut does not allow personal name use as a DBA name since these are already legally registered.
As discussed, the DBA name is optional but encompasses many benefits for the business owner. Among these benefits are improved business branding for marketing and advertising purposes. Also, a DBA name offers another level of privacy in keeping personal names and business names distinct. This strategy is particularly useful when opening a business bank account.
The filing of a DBA name does not establish a separate legal entity. What it does is establish a separate business identity.
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.
Start an LLC in Your State