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A DBA, which means "doing business as," is simply a fictitious name registration. It’s a way for a company to operate under a name other than its registered name. However, it does not provide the same legal protections as having a separate business entity, such as a Corporation or LLC.
Every day, people inquire about setting up a DBA for their Delaware LLC or Delaware corporation. Business owners often choose to operate under multiple, different names for a number of different ventures. For example, ABC Company, Inc. may find the need to set up multiple, different DBAs using the names XYZ Landscaping, Inc. and 123 Construction, Inc.
While both XYZ Landscaping, Inc. and 123 Construction, Inc. are still legally recognized as ABC Company, Inc., the fictitious names can better convey the services and products the company offers its potential customers.
In my experience, the current trend has business owners leaning toward incorporating a Delaware LLC or corporation with the actual name under which they plan to operate. Since the company name is often linked to a website, trademark, patent, logo or some other type of branding, setting up the DBA is kind of unnecessary.
However, it is not uncommon for people to set up a DBA as a fictitious name for a corporation or LLC formed in Delaware. The question then becomes, where do I setup the DBA?
Traditionally, in Delaware, the DBA registration is completed in the county in which the company predominantly operates and does business. Next you might be wondering if you need to file for your DBA in Delaware. Again, it depends where your company physically operates and transacts business. If the company is actually located and conducting business in the state of Delaware, then the answer is typically yes.
You can fill out the necessary forms online to set up your DBA in Delaware. Depending on where in Delaware the company is headquartered, the DBA registration can be filed with the New Castle, Kent or Sussex County Prothonotary's Office. Usually, you’ll need to provide this information:
If your company does not operate in Delaware—if it operates in any other state—the same rules, in general, apply for DBAs. The DBA is still handled at the county level. If your Delaware LLC or corporation is operating in another jurisdiction, you may need to register for Foreign Qualification before filing for the DBA.
We’re happy to answer any questions you have about setting up a DBA for your Delaware LLC or corporation. Give us a call today at 1-800-345-2677. We’re ready to help you.
Image Credit: Geralt
THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG ARTICLE IS NOT A LAWYER AND HARVARD BUSINESS SERVICES, INC. IS NOT A LAW FIRM. THE ARTICLE ABOVE IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS SHORT ARTICLE IS STRICTLY TO MENTION SOME ASPECTS OF DELAWARE’S CORPORATION LAWS AND/OR LAWS RELATING TO OTHER FORMS OF ENTITIES WHICH YOU MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A LAWYER BEFORE FORMULATING A STRATEGY WHICH WILL BE SUITABLE FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.