No matter which structure you select, you might also determine that your venture will benefit from using a “doing business as” (DBA) name. Also called an assumed name, fictitious business name, or trade name, 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. Although not a legal entity, many business owners find that it’s a useful marketing tool for certain endeavors.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about establishing a DBA name in New Hampshire. This guide will assist business owners as they determine whether adopting a DBA name makes sense for them. We’ll walk you through the process of registering a DBA name, the benefits that come with it, how to maintain it, and how we can help make the process easier.
A DBA name isn’t a requirement of doing business, but many entrepreneurs and business owners find that it benefits their companies. Although it doesn’t create a separate legal entity from your existing business, it allows you to establish a strong identity for specific product lines or separate but related initiatives.
There are several scenarios where a DBA name makes sense. For instance, maybe you’re operating as a sole proprietor, and you want to distance your professional reputation from your personal name. Or, if you run a corporate company, perhaps you’re launching a new product that deserves its own branding and marketing.
Each state regulates DBA names in its own way. New Hampshire has established its own legal requirements, restrictions, and processes for registering and maintaining these names. To set up your DBA name, you’ll register it through the New Hampshire Secretary of State. It is legally required to register a DBA name if you plan to do business with it in the state of New Hampshire.
As a reminder, you’re not creating a new legal entity with a DBA name. Therefore, you won’t be taxed separately under the name. You also won’t have any liability protection by using it. It’s simply another name for yourself or your company to conduct business and more about marketing and identity than anything else.
Also, DBA names are sometimes referred to differently, depending on the state. So, don’t be confused if you see it referenced as a “fictitious name,” “assumed name,” or “trade name.” In New Hampshire, “trade names” are the equivalent of DBA names. When you register a pseudonym for your company, it will be referred to as a trade name throughout the process.
When seeking a trade name, the types of businesses fall into two categories:
Depending on your business’s needs, there are numerous benefits of registering a trade name in New Hampshire. These benefits include:
If you think a trade name makes sense for your New Hampshire company, keep reading. We’ll provide a detailed overview of how to register your trade name in the state.
As you choose a trade name in New Hampshire, you’ll want to keep your marketing goals in mind. Since your name is a crucial branding tool, you’ll want to select a DBA name that makes an impact on customers. You’ll want to select a name distinctive from other businesses on the market. You’ll also want this name to be a good representation of what your company does.
When selecting your trade name, consider state regulations. In New Hampshire, your proposed trade name must be distinguishable from other business names, including other trade names. You can access the state’s database of businesses to see if your preferred name is available. This database also includes registered trade names.
New Hampshire also provides naming guidelines for business owners. It’s important to remember that corporate designations, such as “Foundation,” “Corporation” or “Benefit Corporation,” “Professional Corporation,” “Limited Liability Company (LLC),” “Professional LLC,” “Limited Liability Partnership (LLP),” and “Limited Partnership” may not be included in trade names.
To register your New Hampshire DBA name, you must file your trade name through the Secretary of State’s office. The state requires that you fill out an “Application for Registration of Trade Name.”
Here are the steps to take when registering your New Hampshire trade name:
After your New Hampshire DBA name is approved, it’s valid for five years. At that point, you’ll need to re-register the name if you intend to continue using it. To do so, you’ll need to file the “Trade Name Renewal” form, which has a $50 fee. You can file online or obtain a paper copy of this form by contacting the state’s Corporation Division.
You’ll be notified by the state of your pending expiration at least six months before the date. To renew your trade name, you’ll need to do so within 30 days of expiration. If you don’t fill out the renewal application by this time, your registration will be discontinued.
You can also make changes to your trade name, including business address, email address, or phone number, by filling out the “Trade Name Information Change” form. There is no cost to file this form to update information about your business. You can file this form online or request a physical copy from the state’s Corporation Division.
To add new members to your trade name, fill out the “Trade Name Addition in Partnership” Form. To remove members from your trade name, file the “Trade Name Withdrawal in Partnership” form. Both forms require a $10 filing fee. You can file online or download a physical copy through the Secretary of State’s Trade Name Forms and Laws page. You can mail your paper copy or submit it in person. These forms must be signed by all members, including the new or withdrawing members.
If you decide to terminate your trade name before the five-year expiration date, you must file the
“Trade Name Discontinuance” form, which has a $10 filing fee. You can find this form on the Trade Name Forms and Laws page or file it online. This form may be filed online or submitted by mail or in person. All members involved with your business must sign this form before its submission.
Our team of experts is here for you every step of the way. If your New Hampshire business is still in the formation stage, 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.
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.
After you apply to register your trade name, if the state approves it, you’ll receive notice of this decision within 30 days. If you haven’t received anything after 30 days, contact the Secretary of State’s Corporation Division. Your check might be cashed before you receive notification of your name being accepted or not. This only indicates that your application has been received, not that it has been approved or filed.
Legally, there is no requirement that your New Hampshire business uses a trade name. If you elect to do business under a name other than your own in New Hampshire, though, you must file to register your trade name.
Although not required, adopting a trade name is an acceptable business practice that could be advantageous to your company. As a sole proprietor, it creates a more professional image for your work by establishing an identity separate from your personal name. For corporations and LLCs, a trade name allows you to streamline your legal name. Dropping formal corporate signifiers, such as “LLC” or “Inc.,” builds a strong brand that has more of an impact on your customers.
Yes, registering your trade name in New Hampshire grants you exclusive rights to the name. By having it on record, the name will be unavailable to other businesses for the five years your registration of the name is active.
Yes, New Hampshire businesses can have multiple DBA names. In fact, there isn’t a limit to the number of trade names your company adopts. You just need to decide what is best for your business and branding needs. You might consider having a different trade name for each division of your company, or you might consider adopting DBA names for various products to create stronger brands.
As an example, perhaps you own a bookstore that buys used books to resell. Then, one day, someone offers you a selection of used vinyl records along with the books they’re unloading. You figure you should give it a try and create a small record section in your bookstore.
This section grows so much that you eventually decide to create a separate shop — with a completely different name. In this case, you’d create a DBA name for the new record shop rather than an entirely new legal business. Both the record shop and bookstore would fall under the same legal business, but you’d brand the record store as its own entity. And you’d approach marketing and branding for each business differently.
DBA names might be known by other names, including “fictitious name.” In New Hampshire, though, the formal name for a DBA name is “trade name.”
As a sole proprietor, if you do business by any name other than your own legal name in New Hampshire, you are required to register it as a trade name. For instance, if you offer consulting services using your name, say, Mary Rogers, no trade name registration is required. If you decide to offer these same services as “Mary Rogers Consulting,” you would need to register a trade name.
No, adopting a DBA name in New Hampshire won’t affect how your business is taxed. Registering a trade name doesn’t create a new legal entity, which means it isn’t taxed separately. Instead, it’s registered to your legal business and taxed as part of that.
New Hampshire Business Resources
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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