Are you a Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 a Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 a Minnesota DBA?
In Minnesota, the process for getting a DBA is pretty straightforward, but it requires a few more steps than some other states. The first step is to run a business name availability search with the Minnesota Secretary of State, which you can do using the convenient tool on their website.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
You’ll then need to fill out the Certificate of Assumed Name, which includes some important information about your company, including: Minnesota Secretary of State Business Services Retirement Systems of Minnesota
Building 60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103
Once you finish filling out this form, you’ll need to include a check for $30 ($50 for online filing) made payable to “MN Secretary of State.” Then, you can either file the paperwork online via the Secretary of State’s website, or mail the form and check to the Secretary of State’s office, which is located at:
Minnesota Secretary of State Business Services Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building 60 Empire Drive, Suite 100 St Paul, MN 55103In addition to the basic filing forms, you will also need to publish notice of your DBA name in a local newspaper. The Minnesota Secretary of State provides the following information regarding DBA publications: “After filing, the Certificate of Assumed Name must be published for two consecutive issues in the legal notices section of a qualified legal newspaper in the county where the principal place of business is located. Contact a legal newspaper in the county where the principal place of business is located for further instructions on publication. After publication, the newspaper will return an affidavit of publication and the newspaper ad which should be retained by the assumed name holder with the Certificate of Assumed Name. Failure to publish may render the Certificate of Assumed Name invalid.”
How Long Does a Minnesota DBA Last?
Any DBA name registration must be renewed annually in the state of Minnesota, beginning in the calendar year following the year that it was filed. Thankfully, you can file an annual renewal online. For more information about DBA renewals, consult this step-by-step guide. Each time you file a renewal, the state of Minnesota will renew your DBA for another one-year period.
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.
While hiring a DBA service can save you some time, there are probably better ways to use your budget. In other states, the process can be more complicated, but the requirements for obtaining a Minnesota DBA are relatively simple. The most complicated step will be finding a qualified newspaper to publish your DBA. Nonetheless, by the time you finish giving your info to the DBA service, you could probably just file for it yourself. 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 Minnesota 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 a Minnesota; 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 Minnesota require publication of a DBA name?
A: Yes, Minnesota requires publication of DBAs in at least two consecutive issues of a local newspaper.