If you own a Texas 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. In Texas, this is called an assumed name, and other terms for DBAs also include fictitious business names and trade names. These names are typically used when you want to use multiple names for one business, or if you are a sole proprietor or partnership wanting to be recognized as something other than your legal name.
Want to learn more? This guide will cover the basics of what an assumed or DBA name is, the rules for choosing, registering, and maintaining one in the Lone Star State, and how we can help make the process easier.
Texas businesses are usually created and operated as one of the following business structures:
If you want to operate your business under any name other than its legal name, you must create and file a DBA name. In Texas, a DBA name is known as an “assumed name.” Where you file your Assumed Name Certificate depends on the type of business you own.
For example, sole proprietorships and general partnerships file with the county clerk where their business is located. If they don’t have a main place of business, they must file in all counties where they conduct business under their assumed name. Corporations, LLCs, LLPs, and LPs must register their assumed names with the Texas Secretary of State.
The advantages of using a DBA name also vary depending on the type of business you own. Here are some benefits that you may experience from using an assumed name:
It’s important to note that a DBA name is not a business entity type, like a corporation. It’s simply a new name that you can do business under once it’s registered with the Secretary of State or the proper county or counties. Therefore, it does not change anything about your taxes or legal status. Learn more below about how to obtain and maintain a DBA name in Texas.
Corporations, LLCs, LPs, and LLPs must register a Texas DBA name with the Secretary of State. You can do so electronically via the state’s online business services portal, SOSDirect. Sign in to your account to access the Assumed Name Certificate. Complete the form online and pay the required filing fee.
To register a Texas DBA name with the Secretary of State on paper, follow these steps:
To mail the application, send it with a check or money order for the required fee to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
To fax the application, send it to (512) 463-5709. Credit card information must be included if you’re filing by fax. Fill out Form 807 to pay the filing fee, plus a 2.7% convenience fee. American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover are all accepted.
To register the application in person, deliver it to the:
James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
Payment can be made in person using a personal check, money order, LegalEase debit card, or credit card.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships must register DBA names at the county level in Texas. Search the Secretary of State’s county clerks list to find more information for each county where you need to register an assumed name.
Choosing the best Texas DBA name for your business depends on several factors. It’s important to come up with a name that sets you apart from the competition. The name should be memorable, easy to market, and relate to the goods or services your business offers. A Texas DBA name must also comply with state assumed name laws and naming rules. For example, the name:
The following restricted words or wording are off-limits unless you receive approval from the proper authority:
An entity is allowed to register more than one assumed name, which you may want to do as your business grows. In addition, a Texas DBA name doesn’t have to be unique from any other DBA name registered at the county or state level. You may want to do a Texas business search to see what’s already in use because you don’t want to be confused with another similarly named business.
You also need to consider how your DBA name will work as a domain name for your company’s website. A quick domain name search allows you to see what’s available. When you’re ready, ZenBusiness can help you register a domain name.
In Texas, you decide the term of use for your DBA name when you register it with the Secretary of State. You can detail specific dates on your assumed name certificate application or accept the standard 10-year term. If you want to continue to use your DBA name, you must register it again by filling out a new Assumed Name Certificate and paying the required fee before the previous term expires.
The Secretary of State’s office doesn’t allow you to make any changes to your assumed name certificate after it has been filed, even if it’s to correct a mistake or change an address. If you need to change or cancel your DBA name application, you must complete an Abandonment of Assumed Name Certificate and file it for a small fee. Then, you need to submit a new Assumed Name Certificate with the normal required fee.
If you’re ready to form a Texas LLC or corporation, we can make getting a DBA name simple.
Disclaimer: 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.
Texas Business Resources
The cost to register a DBA name may change, so check with the Texas Secretary of State for the latest fee schedule. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships must register DBA names at the county level, so check with your county clerk for the fee amount.
The regular processing time to register a DBA name in Texas is five to seven business days. Expedited services are available for an additional fee per document. However, online filings are typically processed faster than mailed filings.
You only need a DBA name for your Texas business if you plan to operate under a name that is different from your business’s legal name.
Yes, another business can use the same DBA name unless you further protect it with a trademark. You can apply for a Texas state trademark through the Secretary of State’s office and/or register a federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Yes, your Texas business can have more than one DBA name. Businesses usually take on more than one assumed name when they want to differentiate their goods and services from each other. For example, the owners of a coffee shop may want to expand into other drink opportunities. The business uses a DBA name for their coffee shop and files for another DBA name to operate a smoothie shop with a different name.
In Texas, the phrases “DBA name,” “fictitious name,” and “assumed name” are all interchangeable. It’s important to note that this isn’t true for every state, though.
No, if you use your own name for a sole proprietorship, you don’t need a DBA name in Texas. However, if you plan to operate under a name that’s anything different from your legal name, you will need to apply to use a DBA name.
Since filing a DBA name doesn’t establish a new business entity, it doesn’t affect how your business is taxed in Texas. No matter how many DBA names your company holds, how your business is taxed depends on your business structure.
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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