A “doing business as” or DBA name (also called an assumed name, fictitious business name, or trade name) is not a business structure and does not affect how your business will be taxed. Instead, a DBA name allows a business to operate under another name that’s different from your business’s legal name. If you’re a sole proprietor, it can also allow you to open a business bank account and transact in another name that’s not your own.
Missouri requires that “anyone doing business under a name other than their true name to file a fictitious name registration with the Secretary of State’s office.” Read on to learn more about DBA names, how your business can benefit from having one, and how we can help make the process easy.
A DBA name, or a “fictitious name” as it’s called in the state of Missouri, authorizes businesses to operate with a different name under a single legal entity. This is because a DBA name does not create a business structure. So, a sole proprietor can continue being a sole proprietor but will also have the ability to use a business name, while an LLC owner can have three product lines under three separate DBA names.
There are two categories of businesses that tend to use DBA names:
Here are some benefits that all business structures can take advantage of by using a DBA name:
Keep reading to find out how to register your Missouri DBA name. In the sections below, you’ll also learn when to submit corrections and how to maintain your fictitious name.
A Missouri DBA name is a way for you to create brand recognition. So, it’s important that you spend time coming up with one that represents and defines your business. Think of a name that reflects your products and services. If you’re an LLC or corporation owner looking to start a separate product category for your business, make sure the DBA name communicates that, as well.
While brainstorming for a fictitious name for your business, you should also consider the following requirements set out by the state of Missouri:
The state of Missouri, like most states, does not offer name protection for DBA names. This means multiple businesses can operate under the same name. However, there’s still a way for you to stand out and make sure you’re the only one operating under your preferred brand name.
You can start by checking Missouri’s business entity database to see if other local businesses are already using your desired DBA name. But a trademark overrides a DBA registration. So, it’s also important for you to verify from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that no other company has trademarked the name you want to use.
Fictitious name registration is a fairly easy process. Follow the step-by-step guide below to get a DBA name for your Missouri business today.
The state of Missouri does not have a publication requirement for DBA name registration. So, once you receive confirmation of your DBA name application, you can start using it as a business name immediately.
However, there are compliance requirements that you still need to adhere to, such as:
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.
Missouri Business Resources
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.
A DBA name registration can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person in the state of Missouri. If you submit online, you’ll be able to download a receipt and acknowledgment of filing as soon as the payment process is completed.
The Secretary of State’s office gives the assurance that applications submitted by mail will be processed and returned in the order they are received. However, you also need to allow time for the mailing process. If you are filing your documents in-person, applications in proper form may be processed and confirmed while you wait.
That’s why you must do your due diligence and follow the naming requirements, search the business entity database for similar DBA names, and make sure that you’ve filled out the form correctly.
A DBA name registration is not required if you don’t plan to conduct business under a different name other than your legal name. If you’d like to use a name that is more representative of your business, such as “Dylan’s Wood Carvings” as opposed to “Dylan Murphy,” then you’d need to file a DBA name.
The state of Missouri legally requires business owners to register a DBA name. Adopting a name other than your business name and representing your business under such a name is considered a misdemeanor under the state law. It can also lead to charges by the local prosecuting attorney.
Yes, unfortunately, the Fictitious Name Act does not offer any name protection. So, there may be multiple businesses operating under the same name. It’s also worth noting that a DBA name registration does not override a trademark.
A trademark is “any word, symbol, device, or a combination used, or intended to be used,” to separate and characterize the goods and services of a business from other businesses. A trademark is the best way to establish your name and create brand recognition.
Yes, your Missouri business can have multiple DBA names. Sometimes, business owners create DBA names to specify and distinguish a new product line. A fictitious name may also be registered for a new division in the business.
For example, if a freelance photographer wants separate branding for the wedding and sports divisions of their business, a DBA name dedicated to each area will be a good solution.
Yes, in the state of Missouri, a DBA name is also called a “fictitious name.” DBAs can also be referred to as “assumed names” or “trade names” in other states.
No, if you plan to use your own name to conduct business as a sole proprietor, you don’t need to register a DBA name.
No, a DBA name will not affect how your business is taxed in Missouri or any other state because it does not create a separate business entity. So, even if you file for a DBA name, your business will still be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, an LLC, or a corporation.
A DBA name only authorizes you to operate under a different name than your own name if you are a sole proprietor or partnership. If you’re an LLC or a corporation, a DBA name allows you to conduct business under a shorter version of your business name. You can also file DBA names for new product lines or if you want to expand your operations.
Are you overwhelmed by all the preparations for starting your own business? Do you need assistance in business formation in Missouri? Contact ZenBusiness today to learn how we can speed up the process. Our experts can take the stress out of running and growing your Missouri small business.
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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