Are you an Illinois business owner who wants to be able to operate your company under an assumed name? If so, consider acquiring a doing business as (DBA) name.
How do you obtain a DBA name for your Illinois company, and how are you allowed to use your new name? In this guide, we’ll walk through every detail of the DBA acquisition process in this state.
What is an Illinois DBA?
For sole proprietorships and general partnerships, a DBA enables you to use a name other than the owner’s personal name. For limited liability companies and corporations, DBAs allow you to use multiple names to officially refer to your business activities.
There are many different reasons for Illinois companies to acquire ‘doing business as’ names.
- For sole proprietorships and partnerships, they can make your company sound more professional than simply using your own name. You can also open a bank account using your DBA, which can not only help you keep your business and personal assets separate, but customers often have a higher comfort level writing out a check to a business name rather than to an individual’s personal name.
- For corporations and LLCs, DBAs are frequently used to give the company the option of using different names for separate product lines. Another common usage of a DBA is to distinguish satellite businesses from your main company. Restaurant owners love to do this, as for example it can help a fine-dining establishment open a fast-casual spin-off restaurant without affecting customers’ perceptions of the original location. Whether you want to create this separation for marketing or accounting purposes (or both), a doing business as name gives companies options that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
In short, a DBA in Illinois allows businesses to communicate their image and express themselves in different ways without having to actually form a new business to do so.
How Do I File an Illinois DBA?
In Illinois, the process for getting a DBA, which is also referred to as an “assumed name,” is a relatively quick and easy process. First, you will need to make sure that no other business is using your desired DBA name. To do this, conduct a name search using the Secretary of State’s business name directory.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
Next, you will need to file the Certificate of Assumed Name form online at this link. The following information is required to adopt an assumed name:
You will also need to pay a $150 processing fee with a credit card. However, some counties require you to file all paperwork with the county clerk located in the same county as your primary place of business. In this case, you will need to contact your local county clerk for more information on forms and fees, and may need to get your paperwork notarized. Additionally, whether you file online or in person, you will need to publish an official notice of your DBA in a local newspaper no more than 15 days after filing.
How Long Does an Illinois DBA Last?
All Illinois DBAs have an effective lifespan of five years from the date they are filed. DBAs must be renewed prior to the expiry date. Each time you file a renewal, the state of Illinois will renew your DBA for an additional five-years.
Should I Hire a Professional DBA Filing Service?
If you’d rather not fill out the paperwork and register for a DBA yourself, there are plenty of reputable companies offering a service. For a fee, these services will assemble the relevant paperwork and submit it to your state, and all you have to do is supply them with some basic information.
Hiring a DBA service can save you some time, but it may or may not be worth it, depending on the rules in your county. If your country requires notarization in addition to filing paperwork with your local county clerk, then it may be worth hiring a DBA service. However, most businesses are able to file online with the Secretary of State, making a DBA service unnecessary. That said, if you’re just too busy to handle any more tasks, most service providers (Ex: LegalZoom) charge a fair rate for this service.
The doing business as name, or DBA for short, is one of the most simple business filings for Illinois entrepreneurs. The process to acquire one is quite straightforward, and you can begin using your new assumed name as soon as the state completes your filing.
We hope this article answered your questions about how to file an Illinois; DBA!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does a DBA provide any legal protections?
A: No, registering a DBA does not legally protect you or your business. If you’re seeking personal asset protection, you might want to look into forming a corporation or a limited liability company rather than just acquiring a DBA name.
Q: Does a DBA need a registered agent?
A: A registered agent is not a legal requirement for sole proprietorships or general partnerships that acquire DBA names. However, limited liability companies and corporations do require a registered agent whether they have a DBA or not.
Q: Can someone else register a business using the same name as my DBA?
A: Filing a DBA does not give your business exclusive rights to your assumed name. If someone wants to use the same name, and they form an LLC or corporation with it, they are legally allowed to take your name for themselves.
Q: Does the state of Illinois require publication of a DBA name?
A: Yes, you will need to publish an official notice of your DBA within 15 days of filing the paperwork. The newspaper must be from the county in which your business is located, and the publication will need to run once a week for three consecutive weeks. Proof of publication must also be filed with the county clerk within 50 days of filing your DBA.