Get a DBA Name for Your South Dakota Business Today

If you’re an entrepreneur in South Dakota, 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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If you own a South Dakota business and would like to use a different name than your legal business name, you will need to register a “doing business as” or DBA name with the state. 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.

Want to learn more? This guide will cover the basics of what a DBA name is, the rules for choosing, registering, and maintaining one in the Mount Rushmore State, and how we can help make the process easier.

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

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a DBA name allows businesses to operate under a different identity from their own or their registered business name. It’s important to note that a DBA name is referred to as a fictitious name in South Dakota. This alias comes with several benefits, which can help your business in the long run. 

By registering a DBA name, you are better able to represent and communicate what your company does to potential customers. However, it does not replace the official business name. Rather, the DBA name allows you to conduct business under a unique name while also maintaining your registered information. Therefore, since you are not creating a separate business entity, registering a DBA name does not affect your business taxes. 

There are two main types of businesses that benefit from registering a DBA name:

  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships: Sole proprietorships and partnerships are required to conduct business under the legal name of the business owner. However, registering a DBA name gives businesses in this position the opportunity to craft a better name for their business. For example, if John Smith has a sole proprietorship, he would legally be required to conduct business under “John Smith.” If he registered a DBA name, he could use another name, like “Smith’s Apples,” to conduct business. 
  • Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs): Corporations and LLCs wishing to conduct business under an alternative name to their official business name will need to register a DBA name. If one of these businesses wants to release a new line of products or services, they could register a DBA name to call the line or service. For example, if a makeup corporation wanted to release a new line of lipsticks, they could register a DBA name for that line. Alternatively, some organizations may wish to remove entity designations from their name. For example, an LLC could remove the “LLC” portion of its name by registering a DBA name. 

Benefits of using a DBA name in South Dakota

Other benefits of using a DBA name include:

  • Credibility: Registering a DBA name empowers your company to clearly communicate the focus of your business. You can market your brand’s image by choosing a name that represents what your business does. 
  • Compliance: As mentioned, businesses can register a DBA name to introduce a new line of products or services. However, without registering the DBA name, any contracts may not hold up in court. For this reason, it’s important to register a DBA name to ensure that your business name can be used in legally binding documents. 
  • Banking: Registering a DBA name allows your business to create a separate business bank account. Often, banks will ask for a DBA name while considering allowing you to open a business bank account. By registering a DBA name, you are solidifying that you have a legitimate business. 
  • Flexible: In terms of a business name, registering a DBA name allows for brand flexibility. Since it will enable your business to go by an alternative name, you can be flexible with your brand image when advertising new services or products with the registered DBA name.

How do I choose a South Dakota DBA name?

Ultimately, every business should choose a DBA name that accurately describes their business to prospective clients. Registering a DBA name is a great opportunity to choose a business name that is more memorable for people. This is particularly important for businesses looking to expand their online presence with a website.

While South Dakota doesn’t require DBA names to be unique when registered, this will be to your advantage. Ultimately, a unique DBA name can help you build and establish a distinct business from any competitors. For this reason, it’s important to use South Dakota’s DBA Name Information Search tool. This lookup tool will allow you to see if a business in South Dakota is using your desired DBA name.

How do I register a South Dakota DBA name?

In South Dakota, the registration process for a DBA name is quite simple. It is important to note that you will need your Secretary of State Business ID if you have an existing corporation, partnership, association, cooperative, or LLC. Below is the process for registering a DBA name, otherwise known as a fictitious name, in South Dakota. 

  1. Go to the section of the Secretary of State’s website where you can register a DBA name. 
  2. Click “Register a DBA Name” to begin the process.
  3. Fill in the desired DBA name. 
  4. Enter the principal address, which is the main office of the business. Additionally, you will be asked to add the phone number, fax, and email of your business. If you need to add more than one email address, separate the addresses with a semicolon.
  5. Enter your business’s mailing address. If your business address and mailing address are the same, check “Use this address as the Mailing Address also” in the “Principal Address” section. 
  6. Provide the names of your business’s owners. All DBA name filings require at least one business owner. You will need to include the owner’s name, address, or Secretary of State Business ID if your business owner has an existing business entity. 
  7. Add the Submitter’s information. 
  8. Confirm that the information provided is correct.
  9. Provide the digital signature of the business owners.
  10. Pay the $10 filing fee to complete the registration. The Secretary of State accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express credit or debit cards.

Although you can complete the DBA registration online, South Dakota also offers a paper delivery option. To deliver your registration papers, you will need to submit the paper and filing fee to a county Register of Deed’s Office. You can find a list of these offices here.

How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in South Dakota?

Once you have registered your DBA name, you will need to renew your registration in five years. The registration period begins six months before the expiration date until the expiration date. You will be able to renew your registration online or deliver it to a county Register of Deed’s Office. It costs $10 to renew your DBA name.

Additionally, it’s important to note that you will need to amend the DBA name if there are any changes to your business. An amendment also costs $10. For instance, if there is a change in ownership, you will need to change the name of the business owner for your DBA name. Amendments can be completed online or delivered to a county Register of Deed’s Office. 

Lastly, if you need to cancel your DBA name, you can do so online. Alternatively, you can deliver your paperwork to any county Register of Deed’s Office. Both options are free and can be completed with a few pieces of information.

How we can help

Our team of experts is here for you no matter your business needs. If your South Dakota business is still in the formation phase, our LLC Formation Services or Corporation Formation Services can help you get started.

If you need additional help growing or running your South Dakota business, ZenBusiness is here to help. Our team is dedicated to offering low-cost solutions to completing business documents, so you can forget the stress and work on growing your business.

South Dakota DBA FAQs

  • 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.

  • Registering your business’s DBA name can be completed quickly online. If you prefer to turn in your paperwork in person, this could delay the processing time.

  • Although you are not required to register a DBA name in South Dakota, registering a DBA name allows you to choose a better name for your business. However, if you plan to conduct business under a name other than your official business name, you will need to register for one.

    Regardless of your business structure, registering a DBA name gives you the power to choose a name that fully represents your organization. For example, if you are a sole proprietor, a DBA name allows you to use a business name other than your legal name. On the other hand, a corporation can drop the entity designation from their business’s name.

  • Even though DBA names are not exclusive, choosing a unique name sets your company apart. When choosing a DBA name, it’s also important to ensure that you are not infringing on any trademarks.

    South Dakota does not handle U.S. trademarks, so you will need to search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to ensure that you do not violate any federal trademarks.

  • You can register multiple DBA names in South Dakota. In fact, you can register as many DBA names as you are using for your business. For instance, if a professional writer offers several writing services, they can create distinct writing packages.

  • Yes. In South Dakota, a DBA name and a fictitious name are the same.

  • If you are a sole proprietorship, you can only conduct business under your legal name. By registering a DBA name, you can use another name to conduct business.

  • Since a DBA name does not establish a new business entity, you can rest assured that you will not be taxed differently at the local, state, or federal level.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information 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.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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