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How do you get a DBA certification?

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A business can obtain a doing business as certification, also called a DBA or fictitious name statement, by submitting an application to the government agency that handles business name registrations in the state or locality where the business operates. A DBA allows a company to do business using a name other than the official name that appears on its formation paperwork.

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The procedure for registering a DBA differs by state. In most states, the county clerk's office in the area where the company wants to do business handles DBA applications. In some states, the business registrar in the state government handles the applications. A handful of states allow businesses to use fictitious names without registering them.

Typically, a business must fill out an application, identifying its official business name and the name it wants to use instead. The DBA must be a name that is not already in use by another entity in the area. Some states require businesses to publish notice of a pending DBA application in a local paper for a number of weeks before the DBA goes into effect. Most states charge a fee for processing a DBA, and businesses must periodically renew their applications by paying a new fee.

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