A DBA is also known as a fictitious name or an assumed name is not a business structure but rather the name you use to operate your business other than its legal name. A business legal name is a name that’s been registered with the county or state government.
The purpose of a DBAis to let the public know that a business entity is doing business under a different name, other than their legal name. There are no limits to the number of DBAs a business can use, as long as the assumed business name is legally registered.
However, getting a DBA differs from state to state since each state has a unique regulation. And we have to admit that it is not an easy process in any state. That said, we offer you a guide that gives enough information to help you get a DBA in Texas with a lot of ease.
Conduct A Texas Business Name Search
Getting a DBA in Texas should start from a name search to ensure you register a unique DBA name. Although multiple businesses can legally use the same assumed name, you probably want an original name that no one else is using. Choose a different name if the one you want is already in use to avoid trademark infringement and consumer confusion issues down the line.
To find an original business name in Texas you should run a trademark search to be sure that the name is not trademarked.
How To Choose The Right Name For Your DBA In Texas
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.
Most importantly, a Texas DBA name must comply withstate assumed name lawsand naming rules. For example, the name:
- Can’t imply government affiliation
- Can’t be grossly offensive
- Should not include restricted words.
- Can’t imply a business purpose it can’t legally fulfill
- Must be distinguishable from other entity names on file
The following restricted words or wording cannot be used as a DBA name unless you receive approval from the proper authority:
- Olympic, Olympiad, Citius Altius Fortius, or any words related to the Olympics. To use these words, it has to be approved by the United States Olympic Committee.
- Bank, Bank, and Trust, Trust, Trust Company unless approved by the Banking Commissioner.
- College, University, School of Medicine, Medical School, Health Science Center, School of Law, Law Center, and Law School. To use any of these words, it will have to be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
- Veteran, Legion, Foreign, Spanish, Disabled, War, and World War unless approved by the applicable veteran’s associations.
A Texas DBA name doesn’t have to be unique from any other DBA name registered at the county or state level. This will only be a concern when the name is trademarked. To find out what name is already in use, you can do aTexas business searchhere.
You also need to consider how your DBA name will work as a domain name for your company’s website. A quickdomain name searchallows you to see what’s available.
Register Your DBA
Filing a Texas DBA name is done with theTexas Secretary of Stateor County Clerk’s office and is valid for 10 years, after which time they can be renewed. Where you file your Assumed Name Certificate depends on the type of business you own.
The following entity types must file DBA certificate with the county clerk rather than the Texas Secretary of State:
- Sole proprietorship
- General partnerships
- Joint venture
- Real Estate Investment trust
The business entities that must sign with the Texas Secretary of State includes:
- Texas LLC ( limited liability company)
- LLP (Limited liability partnership)
- LP (Limited partnership)
- Foreign filing entities
- Professional associations
Filing The Assumed Name Certificate Form
Filing can be done electronically via the state’s online business services portal,SOSDirect. Once you sign in to your account, you will access the Assumed Name Certificate form. The form can be completed and submitted online or downloaded and submitted via email or Fax or submit a printed copy in-person. Whichever way, you will have to submit a $25 filing fee along with the form.
That said, here are the simple steps involved in registering a Texas DBA.
- The first step is to open theAssumed Name Certificateapplication once you access it.
- Enter the DBA name under which you plan to do business – use our guides above to choose the appropriate name.
- Enter the legal name of your entity.
- Select which type of entity you are filing – must be among the ones that can be filed with the secretary of state.
- Enter the file number from the Secretary of State if you have one (if not, you can skip this process).
- Enter the state, country, or jurisdiction where the entity was legally formed. It is not that your entity must just be formed in Texas for you to get a DBA name in Texas.
- 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 outform 807to 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. Here is the Secretary of State’scounty clerks list. You can use this to find more information about the county where you need to register an assumed name.
The filing fee for registering a DBA or Fictitious name in Texas varies from county to county but averages around $15 per DBA for sole proprietors and partnerships and $25 for Corporations and limited liability companies.
That said, registering a DBA is simple and affordable and is a great way for a business to expand into other brands, products or services, or divisions without having to create a new legal entity.
How Do I Manage Ongoing DBA Name Compliance In Texas 2023?
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 anAbandonment of Assumed Name Certificateand file it for $10.
Then, you need to submit a new Assumed Name Certificate with a $25 fee. The process of application is similar to the one we outlined above.
How To File For A Harris County Assumed Name
Registering a DBA varies from county to county. That is why we have decided to narrow our guide to Harris. Harris County is located in Texas. It is a large county that includes all of the city of Houston and a number of other neighboring communities.
Registering a DBA name in Harris county begins with an assumed name search. You can search Harris’ assumedname database to find out if the name you want to use is available for naming.
Once this is completed, it’s time to move on to the paperwork. Harris county offers various forms to choose from depending on the members of your business. These include:
- 1-3 Owners:Form 02-07 A
- 4-13 Owners:Form 02-07 B
- 14 or More Owners:Form 02-07 C
The forms can be filled and submitted online, downloaded and sent via email, or simply walk into the county clerk’s office and complete the form in person. Via email, you can send it to:
Harris County Clerk
P.O. Box 1525
Houston, TX 77251-1525
Harris County has10 locationsin county clerk offices where you can walk in and complete the form with the deputy county clerk. Normal business hours are Monday thru Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Payment and Fees
The costs to file for your assumed name certificate are:
- $15.00 fee for the first owner, $.50 for each additional owner if your form is already notarized.
- $15.00 fee for the first owner, $.50 for each additional owner + $1 witnessing fee for each owner if your form has not been notarized.
For those who are planning to register a DBA name with the county clerk but are not in Harris, please research and find out how your county operates.
While getting a DBA is mandatory to a Texas business that wants to operate with a name other than its legal name, the process involved in getting it isn’t so easy. It involves some paperwork that you have to know how to go about before you venture into the process. Thankfully, we offer you a guide that will surely make the whole process easier. With our guide, filing for a DBA in Texas can now be a matter of minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I change a DBA in Texas?
To make a change to your Texas DBA, you must complete the process of registering your DBA with the secretary of state again. However, the new DBA must be filed within 60 days of changes.
Do I need a DBA name for my Texas business entity?
You only need a DBA name for your Texas business if you plan to operate your business with a name other than your legal name, an entity legal name, or a partner legal name. That said, DBA will allow you to operate multiple businesses which are great for business expansion.
What is the processing time to register a DBA?
It will take around 5-7 business days regular time to register a DBA in Texas. However, the state offers expedited filing at $25 per document that will reduce the waiting time to 1-2 business days. It is likely that the in-person application will be processed faster followed by online then email.
If I register a DBA in Texas, can another business use the same name?
Registering a DBA in Texas doesn’t give you a right over the name. Though another person can’t use it within your jurisdiction, anyone else in another state or county can use it. To prevent another person from using the same name nationwide, you will have to trademark it.
How much does it cost to get a DBA in Texas?
The filing fee for registering an assumed name in Texas varies from county to county. But on average, it is around $15 per DBA for sole proprietors and partnerships and $25 for Corporations and LLCs.
Can I do a business in Texas without a DBA?
Once you have filed your business as a corporation or an LLC, you have already registered it and therefore, don’t need a DBA. However, if you want to operate such businesses with a name other than your business legal name, you must get a DBA.
How do I search for a DBA availability name in Texas?
Go to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website. Enter the name or keywords you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. You will then get a list of all the business names bearing the keyword you have entered. If there are no search names, then you can use the name.
Do I need an EIN for a DBA?
DBAs are just your business nicknames, and therefore, you can’t have a separate employer identification number (EIN) for a DBA. Not all businesses need an EIN. Whether you’re required to get one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) depends on how your business is organized and what kind of taxes it pays.
What are the steps in getting a DBA 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.How much does it cost to open a DBA in Texas? ›
How Much Does a Texas DBA Cost? The filing fee for an assumed name certificate with the secretary of state of Texas is $25. You may pay this fee by personal check, money order or a LegalEase debit card. You may also pay online using a credit card but may be subject to a 2.7 percent fee for paying with credit card.How long does it take to file a DBA in Texas? ›
The office normally processes non-expedited documents within 5-7 business days. Expedited service is available for an additional $25 per document and expedited documents are generally processed by close of business the first business day following the date of receipt.Do You Need LLC for DBA Texas? ›
Texas requires that all corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), or out of state companies that regularly transact business in Texas under a name different from their legal name, must file a DBA with the Texas Secretary of State.Is getting a DBA Easy? ›
Filing a DBA name isn't hard — you just need to work within your state or county's requirements to go about it the right way. It's usually best to get this all done before you operate under your intended “doing business as” name; somewhere between 30 and 60 days before you open your doors.What are the benefits of having a DBA in Texas? ›
- Increased Flexibility. ...
- Privacy Protection. ...
- Targeted Branding. ...
- Easy Legal Compliance. ...
- Fewer Tax Benefits. ...
- Fewer Liability Protections. ...
- No Exclusive Rights to the Business Name. ...
Paying estimated quarterly deposit is important for DBA businesses. The profits of your DBA will pay two taxes: income tax and 15.3% self-employment tax. Unlike normal wages, taxes are not automatically withheld from your pay.Do you need a registered agent for a DBA in Texas? ›
The Texas Business Organizations Code (“BOC”) requires every domestic or foreign filing entity to maintain a registered agent and office in Texas. The BOC also permits the filing of an appointment of agent for service of process by an unincorporated nonprofit association.Can I sell my DBA in Texas? ›
A DBA remains valid for 10 years. If the owner sells the business or wants to give the DBA to another entity, Texas law states the owner must file a new assumed name certificate within 60 days. The owner cannot amend a certificate.How do I get a DBA certificate? ›
To do business under a DBA, you must complete and file the appropriate DBA forms and pay a filing fee — after which point you receive a DBA certificate. Depending on the state, you may need to file with a local or county clerk's office, with a state agency, or both.
Is DBA or LLC better? ›
Generally, a DBA is less costly to maintain, but an LLC offers better benefits and protection. Expanding and selling a business, as well as generating funding, is also easier with an LLC. Also, a business owner does not receive personal liability protection from a DBA.Can I put multiple businesses under one LLC? ›
The answer is yes--it is possible and permissible to operate multiple businesses under one LLC. Many entrepreneurs who opt to do this use what is called a "Fictitious Name Statement" or a "DBA" (also known as a "Doing Business As") to operate an additional business under a different name.Can I convert my DBA to an LLC in Texas? ›
Updated November 17, 2020: To transfer DBA to LLC Texas will require an authorized party to file a new assumed name certificate with the state of Texas and local offices within 60 days of the transfer. This will update the business ownership information to the new party.Can I open a business bank account with a DBA? ›
Your DBA will be assigned a federal tax ID number that permits you to open a business bank account under your DBA. Filing a DBA as a sole proprietorship or simple partnership makes it possible for you to open bank accounts and receive payments in the DBA name of your business.What are the disadvantages of a DBA? ›
- It is neither a business structure nor a legal entity. ...
- It does not necessarily give you exclusive rights to the DBA name. ...
- A DBA does not protect your personal assets, so in the event of a lawsuit against your business, your personal bank accounts, car, or home could be at risk.
Do you have to register DBAs through the IRS? While you don't have to register DBAs with the IRS, owners must report DBAs on IRS tax forms. Can I Get an EIN Without a DBA? Yes, LLCs operating under the owner's name are eligible for an EIN.Is it worth becoming a DBA? ›
A DBA is an ideal choice for those who already hold an MBA, although it's not strictly necessary to earn an MBA before pursuing a DBA. The DBA degree is also a good choice for professionals who intend to stay in the corporate world rather than transitioning to academia.Can you build business credit with a DBA? ›
But few new business owners realize that choosing to use a DBA instead of a corporate registration will also mean their new company's credit will be linked to their personal credit.Is a DBA worth doing? ›
DBA training may help you develop deeper knowledge than an MBA program will while opening doors to more ambitious careers in industry or academia. While MBA degrees are designed to meet the needs of 20th-century businesses, DBAs can help meet the needs of organizations today—and well into the future.How much should a DBA set aside for taxes? ›
To cover your federal taxes, saving 30% of your business income is a solid rule of thumb. According to John Hewitt, founder of Liberty Tax Service, the total amount you should set aside to cover both federal and state taxes should be 30-40% of what you earn.
Can I use myself as a registered agent? ›
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? You can act as your own Registered Agent for a corporation or LLC as long as you have a physical street address in the state where your corporation or LLC is formed. The actual corporation or LLC being formed, however, cannot name itself as its own Registered Agent.Can I use myself as a registered agent in Texas? ›
Although an officer, owner, or employee may serve as an entity's registered agent, an entity may not serve as its own registered agent. An entity may contract for the provision of registered agent services from another business entity, such as a service company.How many DBAs can an LLC have in Texas? ›
There is no statutory limit on the number of DBAs an individual or company may have, either at the state or county level. A filing is good for 10 years and fees are nominal. There are 254 counties in Texas, many of which still accept assumed name filings, although some have ceased doing so.Can I use a PO Box for my DBA in Texas? ›
An entity's registered office must be a physical address in Texas where the registered agent can be personally served with process during business hours. It cannot solely be the address of a mailbox service or telephone answering service.Can you trademark your DBA? ›
Can You Trademark a DBA? If you want to use a DBA for a particular product or service, you can trademark your DBA, giving it the same legal protections provided to trademarked companies and brands. By having a trademark for your DBA, you gain all the benefits and protections of having a registered trademark.Can you switch from DBA to LLC? ›
You may have to cancel your sole proprietorship's trade name or Doing Business As (DBA) before you can form an LLC. You may or may not be able to keep your same name depending on state naming laws. Like any LLC, you must select a registered agent, file articles of organization, and draft an operating agreement.How much is a DBA online in Texas? ›
Obtaining an Assumed Name or DBA
If you want to establish a DBA in Texas (assumed name), you must file a form with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $25.
The state of Texas permits a sole proprietorship to lawfully operate its business operations under the owner's legal name without registering a DBA.Is it worth getting a DBA? ›
A DBA is an ideal choice for those who already hold an MBA, although it's not strictly necessary to earn an MBA before pursuing a DBA. The DBA degree is also a good choice for professionals who intend to stay in the corporate world rather than transitioning to academia.How much does a LLC cost in Texas? ›
How much does it cost to form an LLC in Texas? The Texas Secretary of State charges a $300 filing fee, plus an additional state-mandated 2.7% convenience fee to file an LLC Certificate of Formation.
What is the proper way to write your legal name for DBA? ›
The proper way to write your Legal name for DBA is to write your “doing business as” name exactly the way you register it at the Secretary of State. For example, if John H. Doe is a sole proprietor and he wants to open a barber shop under the name “Precision Barber Shop”, he can register the name with his State.Can I use any name for my DBA? ›
A sole proprietor can choose any name for a DBA and take the steps required by state law to operate under that name. Partnerships can also create a DBA, usually done as a part of the partnership agreement.