Are you a Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas DBA?
In Texas, a DBA is also referred to as an Assumed Name. The process for registering an assumed name in this state is a little more complicated than most. First, you will want to run a taxable entity search to see if your desired name is already in use.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
You will then need to fill out the Assumed Name Certificate, which requires the following information concerning your business: P.O. Box 13697 Austin, Texas 78711-3697
Once you finish filling out this form, you will need to include a check for $25 made payable to the “Secretary of State.” Then, you can mail the form and the check to the following address:
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, Texas 78711-3697Additionally, you will need to file your DBA with the local county clerk’s office for the county in which your principal business address is located. You will need to request the necessary forms from the county clerk. You can find a list of county clerk’s offices here.
How Long Does a Texas DBA Last?
When filing your DBA paperwork, you will be asked to set a duration for the DBA, with a maximum of 10 years. Your DBA will have an effective lifespan that varies depending on the dates that you put down on the form. However, all Texas DBAs have a maximum lifespan of 10 years. If you would like to continue using your assumed name beyond the ten-year point, you should file a renewal certificate with the Secretary of State’s office (and the local county clerk’s office) no more than 6 months prior to the DBA’s expiration date.
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, and it may be worth the cost in Texas. In most states, you will either need to file with the state or your local county. However, in Texas, LLCs (and many other business types) must do both. This require additional paperwork, and county requirements may differ from state-level requirements. So, 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 Texas 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 Texas; 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 Texas require publication of a DBA name?
A: No, Texas does not require publication of a DBA name in a newspaper. However, your local county might, so it is best to check with your county clerk’s office before filing any DBA paperwork.