The business term DBA means ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is any registered name that a business or personal uses to operate under that is not their legal name.
The legal name of a company is different depending on the structure. For a limited liability company (LLC), it defaults to its name. And for sole proprietors, the legal name is the individual owner’s personal name.
A DBA can also be referred to as a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name. A DBA name is most commonly called a fictitious name in Mississippi.
For example, if you open a business, the legal name will be your own name (e.g., Tara Johnson). Tara Johnson wants to open a hair accessory shop. She doesn’t want the name of her business to be Tara Johnson. So, she registers a DBA to change her business name to Tara’s Hair Supply. Tara’s Hair Supply is now the name of the business.
Nothing else about Tara’s Hari Supply changes but the name and the DBA allow Tara Johnson the freedom to operate under the DBA name.
DBA vs fictitious business name
- In Mississippi, a DBA is most commonly referred to as a fictitious name.
- A fictitious name, or DBA, is how businesses operate using a name that is the business’ legal name.
- The only difference between a DBA name and a fictitious business name is that a DBA is just an alias. It has to be associated with a legal business entity.
- A DBA and a fictitious business name are the same things.
Who needs a DBA?
Mississippi law does not require that you register a DBA to do business using a name that is not your business’ legal name.
However, it is still optimal to file a DBA in Mississippi for a variety of reasons. The benefits are dependent on the business structure and personal preferences of the owners.
- New businesses. Mississippi does not require that new businesses file a DBA. But, it is still the best way to operate a business using a name that is not the legal name. When a new business registers a fictitious name in Mississippi, it doesn’t prevent others from registering that same DBA name. However, it does act as a private record and public notice that you’re using the fictitious name.
- Sole proprietors. A business and its owner(s)are the same entity. It means that they share a name unless you register a DBA name.
- LLCs. Mississippi does not require that LLCs obtain a DBA. However, without a DBA, every new business an LLC purchases and runs would do so under its company name. Also, registering a fictitious business name in Mississippi allows an LLC to expand outside its legal name.
- Corporations. Corporations own and operate different types of businesses in a variety of industries. A DBA allows an incorporated company to expand using fictitious names for those expansions in most states.
- Franchises. Most franchisees use DBAs. For example, if you invest in a Captain D’s franchise. Captain D’s is an LLC. It means a new franchise would be listed as “368 Business LLC”. To change the franchise from its numerical listing to just Captain D’s, you will need to file a DBA to alert Mississippi that you’re ‘doing business as’ the franchise.
DBAs give small business owners and startups the creative freedom to name their businesses. A DBA also helps entrepreneurs avoid the complicated and expensive process of forming a separate LLC to use a different name for their company.
Why do you need a DBA?
- A DBA keeps things simple for small businesses and startups. A DBA only changes the name of your business. However, a DBA accomplishes more than that. Filing a DBA is an economical and straightforward way for sole proprietors to use a fictitious name without the complication of forming a separate LLC or incorporation.
- LLCs and corporations benefit from a DBA. Without a DBA, your LLC has to form separate LLCs for every business it purchases. For example, David’s Produce LLC wants to open a shop specializing in root vegetables named Rooting for You. The LLC must file a DBA to change the name of the shop. DBA registration only changes the name of the business. Rooting for You remains owned and operated by David’s Produce LLC.
- A DBA protects the privacy of small business owners and general partnerships. A DBA allows business owner(s) the ability to use a fictitious business name on public-facing material. In the absence of a DBA, sole proprietors and partners would have to use their personal legal names on signs and flyers.
- A DBA simplifies business banking and makes doing business safer for the owner(s). A best business practice is to open a bank account for a new business separate from a personal business account. It is recommended because it protects your personal assets and credit scores. In Mississippi, most financial institutions require new businesses to file a DBA before opening a separate business bank account using a fictitious name even though the state law does not require it.
- A DBA makes branding and marketing more accessible. Your brand name is what alerts your audience to what you’re offering. DBA registration allows you to use that brand name. For example, if Tara Johnson had not filed a DBA, no one would know she sold hair accessories.
How to set up a DBA in Mississippi
Step 1 – Mississippi fictitious name search
While Mississippi does not require DBAs, you still want to choose a unique fictitious name that best represents you and your business.
Registering a DBA name in Mississippi does not prevent others from using the same name. However, it does let others know that the name is in use.
You will visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Business Name Search to check the availability of the DBA name you wish to use.
Step 2 – File your Mississippi DBA with the Secretary of State
You will file your Mississippi DBA online using the Secretary of State website.
The fictitious name application will ask for important information, including:
- Your business ID and name.
- Your contact information, including personal name and address.
- The fictitious name you are using or wanting to use.
Mississippi Secretary of State Phone Number: 601-359-1633
Step 4 – Pay Mississippi filing fees
The DBA cost in Mississippi is $25.
You will renew your Mississippi DBA by December 31st of the year of the name’s 5th anniversary. You will renew your DBA online using the Secretary of State website.
The cost of DBA renewal in Mississippi is $25.
Mississippi DBA name restrictions
In Mississippi, a fictitious business name can’t contain any of the following:
- Words that insinuate or imply that your company is organized for unlawful purposes.
- Business entity suffixes, including LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
- Any words related to banking institutions such as bank, trust, savings & loan, etc.
Forms needed to file a DBA in Mississippi
Mississippi DBA tax considerations
- In Mississippi, 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 separate legal entity.
- Federally, the IRS does not require that you have a separate tax ID number.
How much does a DBA filing cost in Mississippi?
The price for filing a DBA in Mississippi is $25. You can only file a Mississippi DBA online using the Mississippi Secretary of State website.
The cost of renewal is $25. You will renew your Mississippi DBA by December 31st of the year of the name’s 5-year anniversary.
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.
The Mississippi Secretary of State takes 1-2 business days to process a DBA registration. You can only file a fictitious name in Mississippi online.
Mississippi allows you to amend your DBA. You must complete the Fictitious Business Name Amendment form and submit it online.
The processing fee for changes to your Mississippi DBA is $25.
You can withdraw or cancel your Mississippi DBA online by completing and submitting the Fictitious Business Name Withdrawal form online.
The cost to withdraw or cancel your Mississippi DBA is $25.
There is no limit on how many DBAs you can register in Mississippi. You can register as many new names as you can pay for and keep up with.
- A DBA and a trademark are two different things.
- A DBA allows you to use a fictitious business name that is not the legal name of your business.
- A trademark is a type of intellectual property registration that protects your business’ brand.
- A sole proprietor does not have to register a fictitious name in Mississippi. However, a trademark does protect your brand name both on a state level and on a national scale.