Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a growing corporation, using a “doing business as” (DBA) name provides many advantages. It’s important for business owners to understand what a Texas DBA name is and how to choose the best one.
Review our guide below to learn more about DBA names, including how to easily obtain and maintain a DBA name for your Texas business today.
What is a Texas “doing business as” (DBA) name?
When you own and operate a Texas business, the legal name under which you can do business depends on your company’s structure. It’s usually the owner’s surname or a name that’s been registered with the county or state government. Texas businesses are usually created and operated as one of the following business structures:
- General partnership
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- Limited liability partnership (LLP)
- Limited partnership (LP)
- Sole proprietorship
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:
- Compliance: Registering a DBA name ensures that your business complies with Texas laws for legal business operations.
- Expansion: If you’re a corporation that’s looking to easily expand its business, using a DBA name is a great option. You won’t have to go through the hassle and paperwork of creating an entirely new corporation just to offer more products or services under a different name.
- Privacy: A DBA name is a simple solution if you don’t want to use your personal surname for the business name. An assumed name keeps you or your partner’s name out of the public’s eye. You can also use a DBA name for banking and other business transactions.
- Simplicity: Sole proprietors and partnerships may also have surnames that are difficult to pronounce. An LLC or corporation might want to drop designations like “LLC” or “Corp.” from their name. Using a DBA name alleviates issues like these.
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. Learn more below about how to obtain and maintain a DBA name in Texas.
How do I choose a Texas DBA 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:
- Can’t imply government affiliation
- Can’t be grossly offensive
- Can’t imply a business purpose it can’t legally fulfill
- Must be distinguishable from other entity names on file
- Can include Roman or Arabic numerals
- Can include the symbols ! “ $ % ’ ( ) * ? # = @  / + & and –
The following restricted words or wording are off-limits unless you receive approval from the proper authority:
- “Olympic,” “Olympiad,” “Citius Altius Fortius,” or any words related to the Olympics (United States Olympic Committee)
- “Bank,” “Bank and Trust,” “Trust,” “Trust Company” (Banking Commissioner)
- “College,” “University,” “School of Medicine,” “Medical School,” “Health Science Center,” “School of Law,” “Law Center,” “Law School,” (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)
- “Veteran,” “Legion,” “Foreign,” “Spanish,” “Disabled,” “War,” “World War” (applicable veterans associations)
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.
How do I register a Texas DBA name?
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 $25 filing fee.
To register a Texas DBA name with the Secretary of State on paper, follow these steps:
- Open the Assumed Name Certificate application.
- Enter the assumed name under which you plan to do business.
- Enter the legal name of your entity.
- Select which type of entity is filing.
- Enter the file number from the Secretary of State if you have one.
- Enter the state, country, or jurisdiction where the entity was legally formed.
- Enter the entity’s principal office address.
- Select the period of duration for the use of the assumed name, up to 10 years.
- Enter the county or counties where you’ll do business under the assumed name.
- Print, sign, and date the application.
To mail the application, send it with a $25 check or money order 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 $25 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
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.
How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Texas?
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 $25 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 $10. Then, you need to submit a new Assumed Name Certificate with a $25 fee.
More Texas DBA FAQs
How much does it cost to register a Texas DBA name?
The basic cost to register a DBA name in Texas with the Secretary of State is $25. Additional fees may include postage or a credit card convenience fee.
What is the processing time to register a Texas DBA?
The regular processing time to register a DBA name in Texas is five to seven business days. Expedited services are available for an additional $25 per document. However, online filings are typically processed faster than mailed filings.
Do I need a DBA name for my Texas business?
You only need a DBA name for your Texas business if you plan to operate under a name that is different from your legal surname, a partner’s legal surname, or an entity’s legal name.
If I register a DBA name in Texas, can another business use the same 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 register a federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Can a business in Texas have multiple DBA names?
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 partnership uses a DBA name for their coffee shop and files for another DBA name to operate a smoothie shop with a different name.
Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Texas?
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.
Do I need a DBA name in Texas if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?
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 surname, you will need to apply to use a DBA name.
Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Texas?
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.