Mississippi DBA

Get a DBA Name for Your Mississippi Business Today

If you’re an entrepreneur in Mississippi, 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.

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A “doing business as” or DBA name allows businesses to operate under a different name other than the name listed on their formation paperwork. DBA names are typically used when you want to use multiple names for one business, or if you are a sole proprietor wanting to be recognized as something other than your legal name.

Read on to find out why it’s highly recommended that you register your DBA name even though it’s optional in the state of Mississippi, and how we can help make the process easier.

What is a Mississippi “doing business as” (DBA) name?

To put it simply, a DBA name is an alias for a business. It does not form another business entity, nor does it affect how a business is taxed. But it allows business owners to create and register an assumed name for their businesses. A DBA name also does not replace the name of the business; instead, it acts as an additional name for it.

In Mississippi, a DBA name is referred to as a “fictitious name.” Unlike other states, Mississippi does not legally require businesses to register their DBA names. So, why should you voluntarily register your DBA name? Here are some reasons outlined in the Mississippi Fictitious Business Name Registration Act:

  • A DBA registration can serve as a notice to other businesses that the name is already in use. Generally, business owners want to avoid using a similar name for their business because it’s not good branding practice and can confuse customers.
  • A DBA registration allows owners to open a business bank account under the DBA name. It also complies with banks’ lending guidelines. Some banks require businesses to show their DBA name registration before applying for a loan to prevent fraudulent activities. 

Why would a business use a fictitious name? There are two categories of businesses that primarily use DBA names:

  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships: For sole proprietorships and partnerships, the name of the business is the legal name of the owners or partners. They use DBA names to have some privacy since it can replace the use of their legal names.
  • Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs): DBA names enable corporations and LLCs to drop the entity designation, such as “Corp.” and LLC,” and establish a shorter, catchier version of their business names. 

Benefits of having a DBA

Other benefits and advantages of registering a DBA name include: 

  • It gives businesses the ability to choose a name that resonates with customers: Business owners use a DBA name to promote branding. For example, Harry Smith and Ryan Murphy are two friends who want to start a moving business together. If they use their legal names as their business name, customers will have a difficult time understanding what they do or offer. But if they use a DBA name and advertise as “Moving Men,” customers will know what they offer right away and if their services are needed.
  • It protects the privacy of business owners: This benefits sole proprietors and partnerships specifically because, without a DBA name, their business name is their actual names. A DBA name allows them to use a different business name.
  • Helps owners open a business bank account: All businesses need to achieve a separation between the owners and business for legal and tax purposes. This is easier to accomplish for formal business structures, such as corporations and LLCs, but not so much for sole proprietors and partnerships. The best way to do this is to have an account exclusively for the use of the business. A DBA name will allow sole proprietors and partnerships to open a business bank account under a business name.
  • It’s an affordable and easy way to grow your business: A DBA name is an affordable and easy way for corporations and LLCs to launch new product lines with dedicated and specific branding. If a hair salon owner operating an LLC starts a hair care product line but wants a name that is more appropriate than “Wendy’s Hair Salon,” assigning a DBA name for the product line will be easier than forming a separate LLC. 

How do I choose a Mississippi DBA name?

Choose a Mississippi fictitious name that represents your business and how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s also advisable to keep it simple and easy to remember. If you need to explain your name to customers, it is not serving you well.

Even though the state of Mississippi will not refuse the registration of a fictitious name similar to another already in use, it is in your best interest as a business owner to make sure your brand stands out. You don’t want to share a name with a business with a bad reputation or share a name with a business offering the same products or services. Both scenarios will not help you establish your brand and grow your business.

Mississippi DBA name requirements

You should also be aware of Mississippi naming requirements, such as:

  • Your DBA name should not include any business entity designation or a suffix, such as “LLC,” “Corporation,” “Ltd,” “Professional Corporation,” etc., unless your business is an LLC, a corporation, partnership, etc.
  • Your DBA name should not contain any terms given to financial institutions, such as “Bank,” “Savings,” “Business Trust,” “Credit Union,” or other similar words.
  • Your DBA name should not contain words not permitted to be used in any business name without governmental consent unless you can provide written evidence of the consent.

The Secretary of State may allow registration of a DBA name that includes a prohibited term if, in the Secretary of State’s sole discretion, the term is not misleading.

Before you register your preferred DBA name, search Mississippi’s online business database to check if it’s already in use. The state does not offer exclusive rights to own or use a DBA name. Also, a fictitious name registration does not override trademarks, service marks, or other name rights previously acquired by other business owners with the same name.

So, having learned all that, if you want exclusive rights to your name, your next stop should be the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Use the database to confirm that no other company has trademarked the name you want to use.

How do I register a Mississippi DBA name?

The state of Mississippi requires all business documents to be filed through its online filing system. Below is a breakdown of the steps you will encounter online. 

  1. You will need to set up an account on Mississippi’s online portal. Click on “Register” and fill in your information. You will need an email address to receive correspondence regarding your filings. It will also be used as your username on your account. Once your account is created, you will receive a temporary password that you can reset. 
  2. To file business documents, log in with your username and password. On the “Business Filings” page, select “Register a Fictitious Business Name.” The system will take you to the document page. Fill out the required fields marked with asterisks.
  3. You’ll need the following information: the DBA name to be registered, the name(s) and address(es) of the owner(s), every location where your business will be operating, your NAICS code, and your Mississippi business identification number (for corporations and LLCs). A NAICS code is a six-digit number that describes business types. You can easily request this code on the document while filling it out. Choose the code that most closely matches your business activity. The NAICS code lets the public and other businesses know what products or services you offer. The system will also check the information as you input it. If there are errors, it will mark them for you to correct. 
  4. After filling out the form and making sure everything is correct, you can pay the filing fee of $25 and submit electronically. All major credit cards are accepted for payments. You can also pay through eChecks or an ACH account. If you are not ready to file your document, the system will save it, and you can finish at a later date.
  5. After your payment is processed, you will receive a confirmation email. If your application can be auto-approved, the email you’ll receive will contain a link to the filed document with a copy of the payment invoice. If your application needs to be reviewed by the office of the Secretary of State, you will receive an email when a decision is made. 

How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Mississippi?

The state of Mississippi does not have publication requirements for DBA name registration, which means you can start using your fictitious name as soon as you receive approval. But to be able to continue using your DBA name, you still need to adhere to requirements, such as:

  • Renewal of a Fictitious Name Registration: Your DBA name expires on the 31st of December on the fifth anniversary of the registration. If you want to continue using the DBA name for your business, you can renew your registration beginning from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of the expiration year. The renewal fee is $25, and you can easily file online. 
  • Fictitious Business Name Amendment: You are required to file an amendment within 30 days of any changes in your business that could impact your DBA name registration. The filing fee for each amendment is $25. You can submit an amendment by logging into your Mississippi business account. The form you’ll need to fill out will be under “File an Amendment on an Existing Business.”
  • Withdrawal of Fictitious Business Name: You can withdraw your DBA name registration at any time for a filing fee of $25.

How we can help

Our team of experts is here for you no matter what you may need for your small business. If your Mississippi business is still in the formation phase, our LLC Formation Services or Corporation Formation Services can help you get started.

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.

Mississippi DBA FAQs

  1. How much does it cost to register a Mississippi DBA name?

    Fees are subject to change over time. Check the Secretary of State’s website for the most current fee schedule regarding DBA registration and renewal.

    Costs may also vary at the county level for those needing to file for a sole proprietorship or partnership but tend to be minimal.

  2. What is the processing time to register a Mississippi DBA?

    Processing times can vary depending on whether you file at the state or county level and whether you file online or by mail. In general, filing online will always be faster than filing by mail.

  3. Do I need a DBA name for my Mississippi business?

    DBA names are not strictly required but can be extremely useful. If you are a sole proprietor or partnership, you cannot legally conduct business under a name other than your personal name(s) without a DBA name. Filing a DBA name lets you name your business separate from yourself.

    For LLCs, corporations, and other business types, DBA names allow you to operate portions of your business under different names or to drop your designator or shorten your business’s legal name in a way that makes it catchier or more memorable.

  4. If I register a DBA name in Mississippi, can another business use the same name?

    As a general rule, DBA names are not exclusive. This means another business may use the same name if they so choose. If you would like to keep your business name unique and prevent others from using it, you should seek trademark or copyright protection.

  5. Can a business in Mississippi have multiple DBA names?

    There is no limit to the number of DBA names that a business may file. Some businesses just want a single alternative name, while others might find it useful to have dozens of names to separate different portions of their business.

    For example, if your business is a statewide Alzheimer’s association, you may want to brand the branches of it by region, such as “The Alzheimer’s Association of Springfield,” and so on.

  6. Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Mississippi?

    Yes, a DBA name is just another word for a fictitious name when it comes to Iowa businesses. However, it’s important to note that Iowa makes a distinction between “trade name” as a DBA name for a sole proprietorship or partnership and usually reserves a “fictitious name” for registered business types.

  7. Do I need a DBA name in Mississippi if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?

    If you plan on doing business only under your exact, legal, personal name, you do not need a DBA name as a sole proprietor. However, if you want to conduct business under any variation of your legal name or another name, or want to add any words to your name in your business title, you will need to register a DBA name with your local county.

  8. Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Mississippi?

    A DBA name has no effect on how your business is taxed at the state, local, or federal level. It is simply just an alternative name for your business. All of the laws regarding the taxing and other legalities of your business will be associated with your business type. A DBA name is not a business type, but simply a label. As an analogy, consider that changing a person’s name does not change the laws that apply to them. The same is true of DBA names and businesses.

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