“Doing business as” (DBA) names are an excellent alternative to using legal personal names or business names. They afford levels of flexibility for business owners that are not otherwise possible. New York business owners can file for DBA names, or “assumed names” as they are known in the state, to enhance brand personality or augment business operations in other areas.
Businesses that conduct business under a name that is not their legal name in New York need a Certificate of Assumed Name. This certificate is also called the “doing business as (DBA) certificate.” Businesses must file the certificate with the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) or local county clerk.
Read on to learn about New York DBA names, including how to choose, register, and maintain one, as well as how we can help make the process easier.
DBA names are referred to as many things, such as “fictitious name,” “trade name,” or “assumed name.” New York officially uses the term “assumed name.”
Even though a DBA name is not an officially recognized legal entity, if you trade under a name other than your legal one, you must register it. The exception is general partnerships, which must file for an assumed name even if they plan to operate under their legal names. Also, a DBA name does not impact taxation. It is simply an alias under which your business can trade.
Often, two distinct business groups seek DBA names. These are:
Some of the advantages of trading under an assumed name in New York include but are not limited to:
Select a name that reflects what your small business is or its brand personality. Also, look at choosing a DBA name that is easy to spell, memorable, and gives consumers a good sense of your overall branding.
Try to find a name that is unique to your county, if not the entire state of New York. In this way, you will have an advantage, as you will stand out among your competitors. However, it’s important to note that the state does not require the uniqueness of DBA names.
To ensure that your DBA name is available, you can conduct a name search using the Department of State Division of Corporations, State Records, and UCC Database. It is also a good idea to check for any state or federal trademarks. Trademark law will supersede DBA name law, so it is important that you don’t infringe on someone else’s trademark. You can conduct a federal search using the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database.
Be aware that several legal business designations are not allowed, such as “Corporation,” “Limited,” and “Limited Liability Company.” Entity designators and their abbreviations can be misleading to those you do business with, and the state does not allow these name additions. Further restrictions on name choices are also available to guide your DBA name choice.
When choosing a name, remember that you will probably want a domain name that is the same or as near to the same as the DBA name as possible. ZenBusiness helps customers by offering Domain Name Registration services, ensuring that your domain name is unique and establishes your online presence.
A legally registered company that wants to trade under a different name must file a certificate with the New York State Department of State that complies with Section 130 of the General Business Law. Legally recognized businesses include corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs.
New York offers clear instructions on how to apply for and register a DBA name. Continue reading for step-by-step instructions on filing a “Certificate of Assumed Name,” depending on your business structure.
For all legally registered businesses that wish to obtain a DBA, complete the following steps:
New York State Department of State
Division of Corporations
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
General partnerships, sole proprietorships, limited liability partnerships, and other entities should file their Certificate of Assumed Name with the county clerk’s office in each county where they operate.
The date on the receipt issued by the New York State Department of State is proof that the certificate has been registered. Once your DBA name has been registered, the date on the receipt is the same date you can begin trading. Check your receipt to ensure all details are correct.
You do not need to renew your DBA name to remain compliant with state laws, but you may want to make other changes at some point. Specifically, a “Certificate of Amendment of Certificate of Assumed Name” may need to be completed and filed for $25. County fees will also apply to corporations.
Or you may want to file a “Certificate of Discontinuance of Assumed Name” for $25 with the Secretary of State should your business circumstances alter. Altered circumstances can include the sale or transfer of the company. Many reasons exist for amendments or the discontinued use of a DBA name. When changes take place, the DBA name must be officially maintained.
Our team of experts is here to help you with every leg of the journey of running your business. If your New York small 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 to register a DBA name with the New York State Department of State are quite costly for corporations. Total fees rise to $1,950 when the corporation does business in multiple counties. However, there is no county fee for LLCs or limited partnerships. Requests for certified copies are $10 each, and additional county trading fees are $100 each. Additional charges are levied if you want the registration to be done quickly. Costs for expedited registration range from $25 for 24-hour service, $75 for same-day registration, and $150 for two-hour processing.
This also doesn’t include fees for county registration if you are a general partnership, sole proprietorship, or limited liability partnership.
The New York State Department of State will send your DBA name receipt and certified copy via first-class mail. These documents are posted separately if a certified copy of the DBA name form is requested. You can request overnight delivery of documents but must provide a prepaid shipping label to the Department for this purpose.
Do not mark the Department as the sender on the shipping label, as it will be discarded. Use your name and address as both the shipper and the sender. You can expect certified copies to be delivered in seven working days (weekends are not regarded as working days). Other than a reference to the time it takes to send certified copies and receipts to recipients, the Department does not indicate how long DBA name approval takes.
DBA names are not a requirement in New York, but they offer many benefits, whether you are a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or have a registered corporation. However, if you do not intend to do business under your legal name, you will need to register an assumed name with the state.
DBA names in New York are not exclusive to their owners. Anyone can use the same name as someone else when registering a Certificate of Assumed Name. Neither can the DBA name be used to override a trademark. If you want a unique name that no one else can use, choose to register a trademark with the USPTO. You can search for available names here. Taking this route will ensure that your brand name is protected moving forward.
Business owners can choose to have as many DBA names as they want. Typically, business owners will select DBA names to differentiate business operations for recognizability and other benefits. For example, a business owner specializing in web development may want a separate business persona for web design. In this case, they will distinguish these two operations by using separate DBA names. The one specialty may be called “Supreme Web Development,” while the design section may be named “Superior Web Design,” for example.
People use different names to describe “doing business as.” These names include “fictitious name,” “trade name,” and “assumed name.” The official term used by the New York State Department of State is “assumed name.”
If you are a sole proprietor, you must register a Certificate of Assumed Name unless you want to continue trading under your legal name. New York does not allow you to conduct business under a name other than your own unless you register this certificate.
A DBA name does not give you specific legal rights. A DBA name is simply another persona under which to operate your business. Having a DBA name also doesn’t change how you are taxed at the local, state, or federal level.
New York Business Resources
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