If you’re interested in creating a DBA name for your West Virginia business, then use our step-by-step guide. While we don’t currently offer DBA registration services in West Virginia, we can help you with starting a business. Get started below.
If you own a West Virginia 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, 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 a DBA name is, the rules for choosing, registering, and maintaining one in the Mountain State, and how we can help make the process easier.
A West Virginia DBA name is just an alternative name for your business — an alias. A trade name does not change the type of business entity (e.g., sole proprietorship versus corporation). Therefore, registering your DBA name won’t impact tax filing or reporting requirements for your business.
Also, beware that a DBA name isn’t protected by copyright or trademark legislation. If you want to secure exclusive rights to the name’s use in West Virginia, you will have to further complete the “Application for Trademark or Service Mark.” If you want protection at the federal level, you will have to file paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Any business entity in West Virginia can file a trade name. However, this makes the most sense for these entities:
Whatever type of West Virginia business entity you establish, if you intend to do business under a name other than the legally registered name, you must register a DBA name. According to West Virginia law, individuals, sole proprietorships, general partnerships, corporations, associations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and LLCs may not conduct business in the state under an assumed name unless that name is registered with the Secretary of State (in the form of a trade name).
Here are some other reasons to register a DBA name in West Virginia:
A West Virginia DBA name has clear advantages. Now, read on to learn how to choose and register the perfect DBA name for your West Virginia business.
You can file a West Virginia DBA name by mail or online via the WV One Stop Business Portal. West Virginia requires different types of business entities to complete different forms for their trade name registration. Make sure to complete the paperwork for your business entity type.
If you are an individual or have a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you must complete Form TN-1. There is no filing fee for filing a West Virginia DBA name for these types of business entities. Here is the basic information you will have to provide:
If you have a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, voluntary association, or business trust, you must complete Form NR-3. There is a $25 filing fee for filing a West Virginia DBA name for these types of business entities. Here is the basic information you will have to provide:
Whether you are filing Form TN-1 or NR-3, you have the same submission options.
For standard processing (five to 10 business days), you can submit the form via email (CorpFilings@wvsos.gov), fax, or walk-in delivery.
For expedited service, you can submit the form via email (email@example.com), fax, or walk-in delivery. Note the expedited service fees: $25 for a 24-hour turnaround, $250 for a two-hour turnaround, or $500 for a one-hour turnaround.
Whether you are filing standard or expedited, if you are submitting via fax or walk-in, you must do so via one of the business service centers listed on the forms. There are three offices (Charleston, Clarksburg, and Martinsburg). The address, phone, fax, and opening hours for each office are listed on the forms.
West Virginia trade names fall into three categories. A name may be:
As you brainstorm DBA names, try to think of something short and easy to remember. Your business alias should also reflect what types of goods or services you offer. Finally, try to find a trade name that has a fitting domain name available. So, if your business is “Bob’s Beds,” you might want to secure a similar domain to solidify your brand presence.
Practical matters aside, West Virginia has laws governing DBA names. Your name must meet these requirements:
So, how can you be sure your dream DBA name is available? The process for determining availability depends on the type of business entity you have:
1124 Smith Street
Charleston, WV 25301
A West Virginia DBA name does not expire. You don’t need to renew it as you do in some other states. However, if you want to discontinue using a trade name, you must file a trade name withdrawal. You can file via the One Stop Business Portal. Alternatively, you can download the paperwork and submit it via email, fax, or walk-in delivery to the contact information listed on the form.
Here are the relevant forms, depending on your type of business entity:
Our team of experts is here for you and your business every step of the way. If your business is still in the formation phase, 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 are subject to change over time. Check the Secretary of State’s website for the most current fee schedule regarding DBA registration and renewal. The state also offers expedited services.
Standard processing times are five to 10 business days. Expedited processing times are available for an added fee (one-, two, or 24-hour turnaround).
If you want to do business under a name other than the one you’ve legally registered when founding your business, you need to file a trade name. Failing to do so can result in fines and/or jail time.
West Virginia trade names are supposed to be “distinguishable” by at least a one-word difference from other actively registered trade names in the state. However, a trade name doesn’t give you exclusivity in the way that a trademark or copyright would.
Yes, you can register multiple West Virginia trade names. You might want to do this for branding and marketing reasons. For example, say you provide dry cleaning and laundry services. Part of your business comes from private clients, and another part of your business comes from corporate clients (e.g., catering companies or hotels). You might establish two brands (including two websites under two different domains and DBA names) to target each audience.
In West Virginia, a DBA name is referred to as a “trade name.” In other states, it may be referred to as an “assumed name” or “fictitious name.” These terms all refer to the same concept — an alias for a business.
A sole proprietorship is automatically referred to by the owner’s name. If you want to do business or even market your business under a name other than your own name, you are legally required to register a trade name.
No. A DBA name is just an alias. It’s not a business entity. Thus, it doesn’t change your tax status.
West Virginia Business Resources
Registering a DBA name is just one of many steps needed to successfully grow your West Virginia business. Are you feeling overwhelmed? ZenBusiness can simplify the process. Our business formation and compliance professionals can take on the administrative burden — so you can focus on your West Virginia small business.
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