Although DBA name registration processes differ across states, having one can enhance business dealings throughout the country. Indiana business operations can only be boosted by this strategy, which is supportive of growth.
Read through our inclusive guidelines to see what it will take to get a DBA name for your Indiana business. Indiana entrepreneurs, small and large, can reap multiple benefits from registering a new business name for their startup or existing operations.
What is an Indiana “doing business as” (DBA) name?
Indiana uses the term “assumed business name” to refer to the use of an alias. Indiana requires the official filing of DBA names for businesses, as do most states. The reason behind the official filing requirement is that the public has a right to know the name of the entity they are dealing with.
Whether the entity using the DBA name is a sole proprietor, C corporation, or any other formal business structure, the DBA name does not influence the payment of taxes. It is not a business structure; it is a business identity.
Two primary business structures that commonly make use of DBA names are:
- Partnerships and sole proprietorships frequently opt for an alias in place of using their personal names. Sole proprietors and partnerships must complete a Certificate of Assumed Business Name and file it in the county where they conduct their business. Business owners must identify the appropriate County Recorder office in which to file their application in Indiana. Forms vary across counties, so you will need to make inquiries to access the correct form to complete your application.
- C corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) also derive business benefits from aliases, prompting many to file for DBA names to boost growth. Simply condensing legally registered names by the omission of the legal identifier improves the recognizability of the name. Registered companies are also required to file their DBA names in Indiana but must file the Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State.
Both business types derive advantages from using aliases. Some of these benefits encompass:
- Credible business name: Choosing an assumed business name is more likely to be easily recognizable by customers than the use of an individual or official business entity name.
- Trade with confidence: Trading locally and across state lines is boosted by the credibility of having an acceptable business name that describes the nature of the operations.
- Financial benefits: Financial institutions will typically require a DBA name when business owners want to open a separate bank account.
- Privacy: The use of a DBA name is particularly useful for sole proprietors and partnerships that want to keep their personal names private.
- Marketing: Business owners opt to use DBA names when additional product lines need to be kept separate.
Indiana business owners have a diversity of motivations for electing to use an assumed business name. Coming up with a suitable DBA name and initiation of filing can be quite a chore, however.
Our guide contains comprehensive details for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of trading under a name that fully expresses their business aspirations. Industry tips on how to select the ideal business name for commerce in Indiana, registration of the new alias, and ongoing compliance advice follow.
How do I choose an Indiana DBA name?
Best business practices recommend that names are short, memorable, easy to search online, and reflect the nature of the business. Good business names are also uncomplicated and easy to spell.
Generally, DBA names are not exclusive but can be used in a variety of forms across Indiana. Any name you select can be altered to embody your business’s character. For example, an existing name might be “Lord’s Photographer, LLC.” If your surname is “Lord,” and you specialize in photography, you could conduct a search for “Lord’s Portrait Photography.”
Aim at picking a name that is distinctive and makes your business stand out among the competition. Note that even if you choose a name today, someone in another city in Indiana might duplicate your name tomorrow.
Conduct an online search to see whether your desired business name is available before following the filing process below.
How do I register an Indiana DBA name?
DBA filing in Indiana state differs for sole proprietors and partnerships compared to legally registered companies, as noted earlier.
- Sole proprietors and partnerships should access a list of their counties or go directly to the County Recorder where the business is located to obtain a Certificate of Assumed Business Name to register their DBA name.
- Some counties offer online filing services. For example, Marion County’s form is obtainable online. Conduct a search to determine whether your county also provides forms online.
- Complete the form as indicated, and it will be notarized at the County Recorder’s office. Fees differ by county but are typically between $10 and $35.
- If the County Recorder does not have a form, one can be obtained from the State Information Center (1-800-457-8283) for sole proprietors and partnerships.
- All corporations must access their Certificate of Assumed Business Name from the Indiana Secretary of State. Applicants can register with INBiz to complete the application unless a registered agent is appointed to act on their behalf. Alternatively, a form is accessible from the Secretary of State’s office, Business Srvs. Div., 317-232-6576. Fees for filing range between $10 and $30, depending on the corporation type.
- Typical information to include on these forms is full names, physical addresses, telephone numbers, and business details that include EINs for corporations.
- Once the forms have been completed and submitted, a notarized copy of the application can be requested.
- Pay the fees associated with the application and for certified copies, where applicable.
- No newspaper publication of the DBA name is required in Indiana.
While these steps may appear simple in theory, they can be time-consuming in practice. ZenBusiness helps prospective DBA name applicants with the filing process.
How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Indiana?
You do not need to file any newspaper notices to the effect that you are trading under an assumed business name once your DBA name has been registered. Indiana also doesn’t require you to renew your DBA name once approved. However, businesses may find that they need to make changes to the Certificate of Assumed Business Name.
Changes can be made by completing the same form that was used for registration of your DBA name. Also, the same process will need to be followed up with the County Recorder’s office, where the name was first registered. Amendment costs will vary by county but range between $10 and $35. Withdrawal of the DBA name can be made by completing the Cancellation of Assumed Business Name, for which there is no charge.
How much does it cost to register a DBA name in Indiana?
Name filing for sole proprietorships and partnerships differs from corporation filings in Indiana. Sole proprietors and partnerships must file their DBA name applications at the County Recorder’s office. Check where you should register your Certificate of Assumed Business Name by looking for the appropriate County Recorder’s office.
At times, you may be able to file the relevant form online. Costs for county registration of the DBA name vary between but are typically between $10 and $35 for the filing fee for applications, amendments, and name withdrawals. No DBA name renewals are required in Indiana.
What is the processing time to register a DBA name in Indiana?
Applicants can expect to wait for DBA name approval for up to 10 days when filed at the County Recorder’s office. When notification of name approval has not been received within this time frame, you should follow up via telephone or mail for a status update.
Corporations registered on INBiz should be able to access status updates online, for which processing times are much shorter. Typically, when all the required documentation has been provided, the waiting period should not extend beyond one to two working days.
Do I need a DBA name for my Indiana business?
Legally, you do not need a DBA name in Indiana. However, it may be easier to drop the identifier from the business name if you own an LLC or another registered business structure.
Sole proprietors are also able to leverage multiple benefits by using a DBA name. An assumed business name allows promotional opportunities aimed at expansion. Banking is easier, and privacy is maintained because the owners don’t have to use their personal names.
Note that you can run into legal obstacles if you are doing business under a name that has not been officially filed. Indiana takes a strict approach to misleading the public if business owners are not upfront about their business identity.
If I register a DBA name in Indiana, can another business use the same name?
Indiana DBA names are not exclusive. However, while a level of duplication is possible, this is discouraged. Where the name “MacIntosh Plumbing” exists, this can be altered to reflect “MacIntosh Plumbers,” for example. On the other hand, federal trademarks are exclusive.
Business owners can consult the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to determine the availability of guaranteed name exclusivity.
Can a business in Indiana have multiple DBA names?
Indiana allows businesses to file as many DBA names as aligns with their requirements. For example, a small catering company may want to grow from specializing in events to delivering snacks to offices throughout its business area. If the original name is “Events Catering,” this name does not match their concept for providing snacks to hungry office workers.
An assumed business name like “Snack Time” might be more appropriate. If the same company is even more ambitious, it can begin preparing frozen dinners and call this line of business “Big Momma’s Frozen Dinners.” The use of DBA names for expansion is only limited by your resources.
Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Indiana?
Essentially, a DBA name identifies a business under a separate name to the legal name or entity of the owners. A DBA name and a “fictitious name” are practically synonymous along with others like “assumed name” and “trade name,” but Indiana prefers to use the term “assumed business name.”
Do I need a DBA name in Indiana if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?
Sole proprietors are not compelled to use an assumed business name. However, one issue is that if your business name is the same as your personal name, you are not legally allowed to trade under a different name.
The exception to this regulation is that you file for a DBA name. Only if you register a DBA name will you be able to operate under a name that is separate from your legally registered birth name. Further, by avoiding the use of a DBA name, you forego many of the business opportunities inherent in its use.
Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Indiana?
A DBA name in Indiana or anywhere across the country does not affect how you are taxed. The DBA name provides an alternative identity for a startup or an existing business. Filing for a new name is simply a convenient strategy to enhance your business persona.