Establishing a DBA name doesn’t create a new legal entity. Still, many business owners recognize that it’s a powerful marketing tool.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about setting up a DBA name in Oregon. Our guide should serve as a resource for owners considering a DBA name and help you make this important decision for your business. We’ll also walk you through the process of creating, registering, and maintaining a DBA name.
What is an Oregon “doing business as” (DBA) name?
It’s important to stress that there is no requirement to establish a DBA name. It’s simply an option available to new and established companies, one that owners and entrepreneurs might find beneficial for marketing purposes. You should note, though, that once you start doing business under anything other than your legal name, you are required to adopt a DBA name.
Also, registering and using a DBA name doesn’t establish a new legal entity. So, you won’t be taxed separately under this name, nor do any liability protections come with it. A DBA name is a branding tool. It allows companies to create strong identities for specific products, services, or initiatives — identities that stand separately from your formal business in the public eye.
There are various scenarios where you might consider a DBA name. As a sole proprietor, setting up a DBA name lets you create distance between your professional and personal name and world. Corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs) with multiple offerings might consider a DBA name when launching a new product to build a strong brand around it.
Every state regulates DBA names differently, with its own legal requirements, restrictions, and processes for registering and maintaining them. In Oregon, you’ll register your DBA name through the Secretary of State.
DBA names are also often referred to as other names in different states. Don’t be confused if you see them called “fictitious names” or “trade names.” In Oregon, DBA names are legally called “assumed business names.” So, when you register your company’s alias through the state, it will be called an assumed business name throughout the process.
There are typically two categories your business will fall under when you register an assumed business name in Oregon:
- Sole proprietorships and partnerships: These companies might use DBA names to separate their business from their personal name.
- Corporations and LLCs: When these types of businesses form, they’re legally required to include entity designators (or an abbreviation of them), such as “Corporation,” “Company,” “Limited,” or “Incorporated,” in their names. A DBA name lets them drop these designators and simplify their business names, which is useful for branding.
Various benefits come with registering an assumed business name in Oregon. It all comes down to your business needs. These benefits include:
- Introduce a new product or service. When launching a new product line, service, or initiative, you might want to create a separate identity and branding for this endeavor. A DBA name lets you promote this endeavor under its own name. Although it’s marketed separately, it’s still part of your business, though.
- Look more professional. As a sole proprietor or partnership, using a DBA name for your business separates your work from your personal life. This creates a more professional appearance for your business.
- Simplify your name. Use a DBA name to drop the entity designator you’re required to include when you start a business in Oregon. These formal names can be stuffy and more difficult to brand.
- Create separate business operations. If you register a DBA name in Oregon, this allows you to conduct business under that name. This means you can open bank accounts or legally sign documents using that name rather than the formal name you registered.
- Establish your identity. In Oregon, you don’t get exclusive rights to the DBA name you select. However, it’s still a step toward claiming the name and your identity. By registering it, you could deter other businesses from also using it.
How do I choose an Oregon DBA name?
Since your Oregon DBA name is used as a marketing tool, it’s important that you select the right name. Keep your branding goals in mind and select an assumed business name that reflects what your product is or what your company does. You’ll also want a name that is distinctive from other companies on the market.
You should also be aware of state regulations regarding business names. In Oregon, your proposed DBA name needs to be distinguishable from other businesses on record with the state, including assumed business names. It’s advisable that you search the state’s Corporation Division database to check if your preferred name is available before attempting to register a name.
How do I register an Oregon DBA name?
When registering your Oregon DBA name for the first time, you will file through the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. You’ll be required to fill out an “Assumed Business Name New Registration” form.
Here are the steps to take when registering your Oregon assumed business name:
- Determine the DBA name you want to use and check it against other businesses and assumed business names registered in the state. Remember to choose a unique name, one that is distinguishable from others on record. If your name is too similar, your application could be rejected or delayed.
- Go to the section of the Secretary of State website that says, “Assumed Business Name Registration (DBA) Forms.” There, you’ll find the “Assumed Business Name New Registration” form.
- Choose if you will file your registration online, by mail, or in person. This will determine how you fill out the form.
- If you decide to apply online, you’ll need to create an account on the Oregon Business Registry. Then, select “Business Name Registration,” and under the “Business/Organization Type” drop-down list, choose “Assumed Business Name.”
- After this step, the online and paper forms require the same information. First, you’ll need to input your chosen DBA name and a description of the business. You’ll also need to include the name of the owners and addresses of everyone involved, the business address, and contact information. You’re also required to check off each county where you’ll do business in Oregon.
- Remember to sign your form. An authorized representative of your business should sign your registration form before submitting it.
- Include your filing fee. The cost to apply to register an assumed business name is $50. Checks may be submitted in person or mailed. They should be made payable to the Corporation Division. If you’re filing online, you may use your debit or credit card.
- Submit your application. If you’re filing online, the website will direct you to submit your application. If you’re filing by mail, though, you can send your application to:
Public Service Building
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310.
You can also file in person at the same address.
- Wait for the approval. Because your name could be rejected, it’s important to wait before purchasing business cards or other printed materials that feature your DBA name.
How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Oregon?
After your Oregon DBA name is approved, it’s valid for two years. That’s when you’ll need to re-register the name if you choose to keep using it. You can renew your registration online or contact the state’s Corporation Division on how to obtain a physical copy of the form. The renewal fee is $50. This renewal form must be submitted within 30 days of the second anniversary of the date the state registered the assumed business name.
If you need to make changes to your assumed name, you’ll fill out the “Assumed Business Name Amendment” form. Changes could include anything from the name of your business to the contact information and names of those involved. There’s a $50 fee to file this form if the change involves your business name. All other amendments, including contact information or adding new members, have no cost.
Should you decide to terminate your assumed business name before the two-year expiration date, you must file an “Assumed Business Name Cancellation” form. There is a $50 fee to file this form.
Oregon DBA FAQs
How much does it cost to register an Oregon DBA name?
In Oregon, it costs $50 to register your DBA name. You’ll file an “Assumed Business Name New Registration” form. After that, it costs $50 to update your business name if you make any changes to it. There is no cost to make minor changes, though.
Once approved, your assumed business name is active in Oregon for two years. To renew it every two years, you must pay a $50 renewal fee.
Other business costs come with registering a DBA name, though. You’ll likely want to create and maintain a website associated with the name and choose to print business cards and other marketing materials.
What is the processing time to register an Oregon DBA?
If you file your DBA name registration form by mail, the state’s Corporation Division estimates that it takes five to seven business days to process once it’s received. It’s must faster to apply online and typically will be processed within one to five business hours.
Do I need a DBA name for my Oregon business?
There is no legal requirement that you adopt a DBA name for your Oregon business. An assumed business name is only a requirement if you do business under a name other than your own or one that you have filed with the state.
Still, although it isn’t required, an assumed business name is permissible for doing business, and you might even find there are benefits with using a DBA name. For instance, if you’re a sole proprietor, an assumed business name might seem more professional to your clients than using your personal name. Corporations and LLCs can also simplify their names by taking on DBA names and dropping the entity designators.
Ultimately, it comes down to branding and whether you think your business needs a DBA name for marketing purposes.
If I register a DBA name in Oregon, can another business use the same name?
When you register your assumed business name in Oregon, you aren’t granted exclusive rights to the name. If you’re looking to protect your name from others, you should use it when you first register and form your legal business. Even without exclusive rights to your name, other businesses likely won’t want to adopt a name already used by someone else.
You should also consider trademarking your name, whether at the state or federal level. Trademark law takes precedence over DBA name laws.
Can a business in Oregon have multiple DBA names?
Yes, a business in Oregon can elect to take on multiple DBA names, and there is no limit on the number. It comes down to your company’s business and branding needs. If you have multiple product lines or services that deserve their own strong identity, you might consider using several assumed business names.
For instance, you might own a used clothing shop. Then, maybe you purchased some used clothing that’s of higher quality than your customers usually buy. So, you decide to take these more valuable items and start a new upscale clothing rental business targeting special events like proms and weddings. In this case, it makes sense to use separate DBA names for each business, so they can have their own identity as you promote them.
Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Oregon?
DBA names are often called by other names, including “fictitious name.” In Oregon, though, the formal name for a DBA name is “assumed business name.”
Do I need a DBA name in Oregon if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?
In Oregon, if you’re a sole proprietor and doing business under anything other than your legal name, you’re required to register an assumed business name with the state. For instance, if you’re an artist selling paintings and creating murals for a fee but are doing so under your legal name, no DBA name is needed. But if you start working under another name, like “John Smith Designs,” you’ll need to register it as an assumed business name.
Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Oregon?
No, adopting a DBA name in Oregon won’t affect your taxation. When registering your assumed business name, you aren’t creating a new legal entity. This means it isn’t taxed separately from your formal business.
Are you forming a new business in Oregon? Let ZenBusiness guide you through the process. Our team of business formation experts can take you step by step through registering, forming, and maintaining your business. We’re here to streamline the administrative work so that you can focus on growing your business.