Sometimes, a business will want to conduct business matters under a secondary name, or a trade name. This is known as a DBA of “doing business as.” It is also referred to as an assumed name or a fictitious name. While a DBA is not a type of business structure nor is it a way to provide any sort of personal liability protection, there can be several key benefits to filing a DBA. The process is actually fairly simple, but it is important to get it right.
How Do I Get a DBA in Texas?
Filing a DBA in Texas is done either at the county level or with the Texas Secretary of State. Where you file will depend on the structure of your business. For sole proprietorships as well as general partnerships, the Texas DBA needs to be filed with the County Clerk in the country where the primary business is located. Texas LLCs, Corporations, and LLPs, on the other hand, must file Assumed Name Certificate with the Texas Secretary of State.
Regardless of where the DBA needs to be filed, the business entity will need to first start with a Texas assumed name search. Before registering your DBA, it is first a good idea to verify that the name you want to use is unique. While there is nothing preventing other entities from using the same registered name, the registered name will act as a public record and put others on notice that you are using it. To verify whether a name is unique or is already in use, you can access the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to search for the DBA name you want to use.
Once you have verified that the DBA name is not in use, you will also want to make sure that the DBA complies with the Texas naming requirements for business entities. Any DBA should avoid using language that would cause confusion between the business and a government agency or somehow imply that the business is set up for unlawful purposes. You may not use the words “lotto” or “lottery” in your business name nor can you use words that may imply that the business was established in order to benefit combat veterans or their families. Words implicating a professional business involving doctors, lawyers, or other individuals which require a license are also restricted from use or require additional paperwork to be approved and appropriate for use.
For businesses filing with the county clerk, you can contact your local county clerk for directions on how to file your DBA according to the specific directions of that county. For businesses filing a Texas Assumed Name Certificate with the Texas Secretary of State, the state assumed name certificate form will require that the new DBA name be stated in full and specific information be provided concerning your business. This form must be completed and filed in duplicate.
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