How to file a DBA in Minnesota

DBA is an abbreviated term that stands for ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is any registered name that a company or individual uses to do business under a name that is not their legal name.

The legal name of a company is different depending on the business structure. For a limited liability company (LLC), it defaults to the name of the company. And for sole proprietors and general partnerships, the legal name is the name of the individual(s) that own the company.

DBA’s are also referred to as fictitious names, trade names, or assumed names. A DBA name is most commonly called an assumed name in Minnesota.

A DBA only changes the name of your business and nothing else

For example, if you open a business, the legal name will be your name (e.g., Mike Roberts). Mike Roberts wants to open a bike shop. He doesn’t want the name of the business to be Mike Roberts. So, he files a DBA to change the name of his shop to Mike’s Bikes. Mike’s Bikes then is now the name of the business. Nothing else about Mike’s Bikes changes.

Registering a DBA means that Mike Roberts has the freedom to operate under the assumed business name.

DBA vs assumed business name

  • In Minnesota, a DBA is most commonly referred to as an assumed business name.
  • An assumed name, or DBA, is how businesses operate using a name that is the company’s legal name.
  • The only difference between a DBA name and a business name is that a DBA is just an alias. It has to be associated with a legal business entity.
  • A DBA and an assumed name are the same things.

Who needs a DBA?

Minnesota requires that all sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, LPs, and LLPs register a DBA name if they conduct business using any name other than the full legal name.

  • New businesses. In Minnesota, new businesses are required to register a DBA if they use any name other than the legal name of the person or company. Also, it is a recommended business practice that all new companies register a DBA.
  • Sole proprietors. Minnesota requires that all sole proprietorships and partnerships file a DBA with the Secretary of State if they want to operate under any name that is not the owners’ own name.
  • LLCs. All LLCs must register a DBA when purchasing and operating a new business that uses any name other than the LLC’s name. Without a DBA, every company that an LLC operates would do so under the same name as their LLC.
  • Corporations. A DBA gives corporations the ability to operate businesses in various industries and any type of business. In Minnesota, a corporation that intends to run the business using a trade name that isn’t the company’s name must register a DBA.
  • Franchises. Most franchises utilize DBAs. For example, if you purchase a Jason’s Deli franchise. Jason’s Deli is an LLC, and a new franchise would be listed as “6214 Business LLC”. To change the franchise from its numerical listing to simply Jason’s Deli, you must file a DBA in Minnesota.

DBA registration allows business owners and startups the creative freedom to name their businesses. Registering a DBA gives entrepreneurs the benefit of avoiding the expensive and complicated process of forming a separate LLC just to use a different name.

Why do you need a DBA?

  • Filing a DBA is an easy and cost-effective way for sole proprietors to use an assumed business name without the complication of forming an LLC or corporation. A DBA keeps things simple for small business owners. Filing a  DBA only changes the name of a business. However, a DBA accomplishes other things, too.
  • A DBA benefits LLCs and incorporations. A DBA allows an LLC to own and operate various companies in different lines of business. For example, Jack’s Fabric LLC opens a sewing supply store. Jack’s Fabric LLC registers a DBA name in Minnesota to open a sewing supply store named Fabric Station. The shop can now operate using an assumed name.
  • A DBA protects the privacy of business owners. A DBA gives business owners the freedom to use an assumed business name on public-facing material rather than using their personal name.
  • A DBA simplifies business banking. A DBA helps protect the business owner and their personal assets and credit scores. Most financial institutions require that new businesses file a DBA before opening a business bank account using the new name. However, a DBA does not offer legal protection or liability protection by itself.
  • A DBA makes branding and marketing easier in Minnesota. The business name you decide on is the first thing your audience notices. Your assumed business name is your brand name. For example, clients would not know that Mike Roberts opened a bike shop without a DBA. Instead, his Minnesota DBA allows him to operate using Mike’s Bikes legally.

How to set up a DBA in Minnesota

Step 1 – Minnesota assumed name search

Minnesota requires that all DBA names be unique and meet the state requirements.

You will need to visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website and search for the availability of the DBA name you wish to use.

Step 2 – File your Minnesota DBA

You file your Minnesota DBA with the Secretary of State.

You can file your Minnesota DBA online using the Secretary of State’s website or by mail by completing the Certificate of Assumed Name form.

The form includes essential sections including:

  • The assumed name you wish to use.
  • The address of the location you primarily conduct business.
  • Contact information for all owners of the company.

Filing address:
Minnesota Secretary of State – Business Services
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103

Minnesota Secretary of State: 877-551-6767

Step 3 – Pay Minnesota filing fees

The filing fee for a DBA in Minnesota is $50 if you file online. The DBA cost is $30 if you file by mail.

If you file in person, the filing fee is $30, but you can pay an additional $20 for expedited services.

You will need to renew your Minnesota assumed name every year by December 31.

You will renew your Minnesota DBA online or by completing the Assumed Name Annual Renewal.

If you renew your assumed name on time every year, there are no processing fees.

However, you can reinstate an expired Minnesota DBA by filing the current year’s renewal. The cost for retroactively reinstating your DBA is online is $45, and the in-person filing cost is $25.

Minnesota does offer expedited renewal for those that file in-person an additional $20.

Step 4 – Publish legal notice of your Minnesota DBA

Before publishing legal notice, you will file your Certificate of Assumed Name form and submit your payments.

Once the form is filed, you must publish your Certificate of Assumed name in the legal notices section of an approved local newspaper for two consecutive issues.

The publication will give you additional instructions—the qualified newsp[aer will then return an affidavit for publication and the ad you took out. You will need to keep the hard copies.

Minnesota DBA name restrictions

In Minnesota, an assumed business name can’t contain any of the following:

  • Business suffixes such as LLC, Incorporated, Inc, etc., unless that is the actual business structure.
  • Any words or phrases related to financial institutions such as a bank, bank, credit union, etc.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Minnesota

Minnesota DBA tax considerations

  • In Minnesota, a DBA only changes the name of a business. It has no effect on the status of a business entity for tax purposes.
  • Also, you do not have to have a separate employer identification number. A DBA is not a legal entity.
  • The IRS does not require that you have a separate tax ID number, either.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Minnesota?

The DBA cost in Minnesota is $50 if you file online, or $30 by mail and in-person.

Minnesota does offer expedited services if you file in-person for an additional $20.

You will have additional costs when publishing the notice of your Minnesota DBA, which is dependent on your local publication’s price for ads.

You will renew your Minnesota assumed business name annually by December 31. There is no cost for renewal if done on time.

Minnesota does allow you to reinstate your DBA retroactively. The cost is $45 for in-person expedited service. The cost is $25 if submitted online or by mail.

Professional DBA filing services

  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is an affordable solution for entrepreneurs, such as affordable LLC formations, and incorporations. ZenBusiness does offer a stand-alone registered agent service for $99 a year.
  • Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings is a quality DBA service. They assign a registered agent to every client, making them a customer favorite. Swyft Filings offers a DBA obtainment package that costs $99 plus state fees.
  • LegalZoom: LegalZoom does it all. The purpose of its design is to be a “one-stop-shop” for small businesses and their legal needs.
  • MyCompanyWorks: MyCompanyWorks doesn’t have the experience that other professional DBA obtainment services have. However, they’ve served thousands of businesses successfully. MyCompanyWorks offers one DBA filing package for $99 plus state fees. You can add a couple of extras for additional fees.
  • CorpNet: Corpnet’s biggest draw is that they have the best customers. It is hard to find a bad review about their DBA obtainment services.
  • MyCorporation: MyCorporation has served over a million businesses over the last 20+ years. Their customer reviews reflect their longevity and success. The cost of MyCorportation DBA services is $99 plus State Fees. The expedited rush service is an additional $100.
  • BizFilings: BizFilings offers entrepreneurs and small businesses services, such as LLC filing and incorporation services.  The starting price of $99 plus state fees for BizFilings DBA obtainment services is pretty standard. However, it doesn’t include a namecheck in states that require them. Alabama does.

FAQs

If filed by mail, it takes Minnesota 4-7 days to process a DBA. If you choose to register your DBA online, the Minnesota Secretary of State processes the DBA registration the same day.

Minnesota does offer expedited same-day services if you file in-person for an additional $20.

You make changes to your Minnesota DBA online using the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website or by completing the Amendment of Assumed Name and submitting it by mail.

The processing fee for amendments to your Minnesota DBA is $30 if filed by mail $50 if filed online. Minnesota offers in-person expedited services for $50.

Minnesota Secretary of State – Business Services

Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building

60 Empire Drive, Suite 100

St Paul, MN 55103

You can cancel or withdraw your Minnesota DBA online using the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website or by completing the Cancellation of Assumed Name and submitting the form by mail.

Minnesota does not charge a processing fee for withdrawing or canceling your DBA.

There is no limit on how many DBAs you can have in Minnesota. You can register as many as you can pay for and keep up with.

You must register each fictitious business name with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

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