The acronym DBA is an abbreviated term ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is a registered business name that an individual or company operates under that is not the full legal name.
The legal name of a business is different depending on its business entity. For LLCs, the legal name defaults to the company name. And, for sole proprietors, it is the owner’s own name.
A DBA is often referred to by other terms, including a fictitious name, assumed name, or trade name. In New Hampshire, a DBA is most commonly called a trade name.
For example, if you’re the sole proprietor of a business, its legal name defaults to your personal name. (e.g., Chris Robinson). Chris Robinson wants to open a year-round Christmas shop. He doesn’t want the business to carry his legal name. So, Chris Robinson registers his DBA name in New Hampshire as Chris’ Christmasland, and it has now become the business name. A DBA doesn’t change the business in any other way.
The DBA allows Chris Robinson to operate a business under using this trade name in New Hampshire. Without a DBA, his business name would be Chris Robinson.
DBA vs business trade name
- A business trade 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 business trade name is that a DBA is only an alias.
- A DBA must be associated with a legal business entity.
- A DBA and a business trade name are the same things.
Who needs a DBA?
New Hampshire requires all sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, LPs, and LLPs to register a DBA name if they plan to conduct business using any name other than the business’s legal name.
A DBA benefits a business in different ways. The benefits are dependent on your business structure and personal preferences.
- New businesses. New Hampshire mandates that new businesses acquire a DBA before operating using a different name. DBA registration is a recommended business practice for new businesses.
- Sole proprietors. Without a DBA, the business name for a sole proprietor defaults to their personal legal name. It is because they share the same legal entity with their business.
- LLCS. All LLCs in New Hampshire must register a DBA name when operating a new business outside of their primary LLC. Without a DBA, every company that an LLC owns and operates would share the LLC name in New Hampshire.
- Corporations. A DBA allows corporations the freedom to operate businesses in various industries and any type of business. In New Hampshire, a corporation that intends to run a company using a trade name that isn’t the corporation’s name must register a DBA.
- Franchises. Franchises utilize DBAs to operate under a name that isn’t the company name. For example, if you purchase a 7-Eleven franchise, it is formed as an LLC and listed as 4528 7-Eleven LLC. To shorten the name from its numerical listing to just 7-Eleven, you must file a DBA in New Hampshire.
A DBA benefits small business owners and startups the most because it allows them the creative freedom to name their business. A DBA will enable entrepreneurs to change their company name without the hassle and expensive process of forming a separate LLC or incorporation.
Why do you need a DBA?
- A DBA helps keep things simple for small business owners and startups. Registering a DBA only changes the name of a business. Filing a DBA in New Hampshire is a cost-effective and straightforward way for sole proprietors to use a trade name without the complication of forming a separate LLC.
- Your LLC or corporation will benefit from a New Hampshire DBA. In New Hampshire, all limited liability companies must file a DBA if they use a business name that isn’t the company’s full legal name. Without a DBA, an LLC must form separate LLCs for every line of business it buys. For example, Tim’s Wood LLC wants to open a building supply shop. The LLC must file a DBA to change the name to Sturdy Forever. The business would remain owned and operated by Tim’s Wood LLC.
- A DBA protects the privacy of sole proprietorships and general partnerships. In New Hampshire, sole proprietors and co-partnerships must use their personal names on public-facing material unless they file a DBA.
- A DBA simplifies business banking. Most financial institutions require companies to file a DBA before opening a business bank account. It is safest to open a bank account for a new business because it separates your business banking account from your personal business account. It is recommended to protect personal assets and credit scores. A DBA by itself offers no legal protection or liability protection.
- A DBA works as your brand name in New Hampshire. Your brand name, or company name, is what lets your audience know what you are offering. You want your customers to understand what you represent at one glance. For example, had Chris Robinson not filed a DBA in New Hampshire, no one would know he opened a year-round Christmas shop.
How to set up a DBA in New Hampshire
Step 1 – New Hampshire trade name search
New Hampshire DBA names must be unique and meet the state requirements.
You will first visit the New Hampshire Business Name Lookup website to check the availability of a business trade name.
Step 2 – File the DBA in New Hampshire with the Department of State
The Application for Registration of Trade Name form includes important sections including:
- The trade name you wish to use.
- A brief description of your business.
- The business start date.
State House Annex
3rd Floor, Rm 317
25 Capitol St, Concord, NH
NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St, Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301-4989
New Hampshire Department of State’s Corporation Division: 603-271-3246
Step 3 – Pay New Hampshire DBA filing fees
The DBA cost in New Hamshire is $50.
Your New Hampshire DBA expires after five years. You will need to renew your trade name at least six months before it expires.
The New Hampshire Secretary of State will send you a notice of renewal form. You can also renew online using the NH QuickStart website.
The cost of a DBA renewal is $50.
New Hampshire DBA business name restrictions
New Hampshire has DBA registration name restrictions.
A trade name can’t include the following:
- 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.,
- Any words that imply or insinuate a business are organized for non-permitted purposes.
- Farmers’ Market
- Any name of a political party without prior approval.
Forms needed to file a DBA in New Hampshire
New Hampshire DBA tax considerations
- In New Hampshire, filing a DBA only changes the name of your business.
- A DBA has no effect on the status of a business entity for tax purposes.
- You do not have a separate employer identification number because 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 New Hampshire?
The DBA cost in New Hampshire is $50. New Hampshire does not offer any expedited services.
Your New Hampshire trade name expires after five years. You will need to renew your DBA name at least six months before it expires. The cost of renewal is $50.
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.
New Hampshire requires registering a new DBA name to make changes other than member ownership.
You can make these changes to your New Hampshire DBA using the NH QuickStart website.
You can withdraw your New Hampshire DBA by filing the Certificate of Discontinuance of Use of Trade Name.
The processing fee for canceling your New Hampshire trade name is $10.
You can also file online using the NH QuickStart website.
You can register as many New Hampshire DBA names as you can afford and keep up with.
You must register each fictitious business name with the New Hampshire Department of State.