How to file a DBA in New York

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The legal name of a business is different depending on its structure. For LLCs, it is the name of the company. And, for sole proprietors, the legal name defaults to their individual personal name.

A DBA name is any name a business registers that is not its legal name. It stands for ‘doing business as, and can also be referred to as fictitious names, trade names, or assumed names. It is most commonly referred to as an assumed business name in New York.

A DBA changes nothing else about your business except the name.

For example, when you open a business, it defaults to your legal name (e.g., Bella Davis). Bella Davis is opening a hair salon and doesn’t want the name of her business to be Bella Davis. So, she files a DBA to change the business name to Bella’s Beauties. Bella’s Beauties then becomes the business name. Nothing else about the business structure changes. The DBA permits Bella Davis to operate using an assumed business name. Without the DBA, the business’s name would be her own name, Bella Davis.

DBA vs assumed business name

In New York, a DBA is most often referred to as an assumed business name. It is how businesses operate under a name that isn’t their legal name. It means that a DBA and a business name are the same things.

New York state law requires all sole proprietors to register a DBA name. It applies to businesses in any industry. The same applies to partnerships, LLCs, corporations, franchises, and non-profits.

If you don’t plan on changing the name from your legal name, a DBA is not required.

Who needs a DBA?

In New York State, the law requires all sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations to file a DBA if they wish to operate and sign legal documents under a name that is not their legal name.

However, it is a good idea to have a DBA for various other reasons. It depends on the needs of the owner and state and local requirements.

  • New businesses. New York State requires you to register an assumed business name or a DBA. to operate under a name that is not your legal name. All DBA names in New York must be unique.
  • Sole proprietors. A sole proprietor shares the name with their business if they do not file a DBA because a sole proprietor and their business are the same entity.
  • LLCs. New York requires DBAs for LLCs. For LLCs, registering an assumed business name allows an LLC to expand and operate businesses that don’t carry their legal company name. Without a DBA, every new business an LLC purchases and manages would have to do so using the legal name of the company.
  • Corporations. Frequently, corporations buy and operate businesses in different industries. A corporation must register a DBA name if they do business under any name that is not the corporation name.
  • Franchises. Regularly, franchises use DBAs.  For example, if you purchase an Olive Garden franchise. Olive Garden is an LLC, so the new franchise would be listed as “876 Business LLC”. You must file a DBA to change the franchise from its numerical listing to simply Olive Garden. It lets New York know that you’re ‘doing business as’ the franchise you’ve bought into.

DBA’s allow small businesses creative freedom when naming their company. Also, it helps avoid the expensive and complicated process of forming an LLC or corporation only to change the business’s name.

Why do you need a DBA?

  • Keep things simple with a DBA for small businesses. DBAs only change the name of a business. But, they accomplish more than that. A DBA is an easy and cost-effective way for sole proprietors to use an assumed business as the company’s name without having to form an LLC.
  • DBAs benefit limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. LLCs have to file separate DBAs for every business they purchase if they don’t want it to default to the LLC’s company name. For instance, Sam’s Fruit Juice LLC wants to open a snowcone stand named Sam’s Ice and Stuff; they must file a DBA to change the name. However, they remain owned by Sam’s Fruit Juice LLC. New York requires corporations and LLCs to file for an assumed business name.
  • DBAs address privacy concerns. Without registering a DBA, a sole proprietor or partnership would have to use their personal and legal name on public-facing material.
  • DBAs make business banking easier. It is recommended that all new businesses open a separate business bank account from their personal bank account. It is because it protects personal assets and credit scores in the case of business failure. Most banks require new business owners to file a DBA before opening a bank account in that business name.
  • DBAs make branding and marketing easier. Branding and marketing are part of every business structure because it is how to draw in new customers and clients. The business name listed on signs and flyers tells your audience what you’re selling. For instance, if Bella Davis hadn’t filed a DBA, no one would know she owned and operated a hair salon.

How to set up a DBA in New York for a sole proprietorship or general partnership

Step 1 -New York assumed name search

New York State requires all sole proprietorships and general partnerships to register a unique assumed business name. It must meet the state’s requirements.

The first step is to visit the New York Department of State’s business name database. You need to make sure that the name is not already in use. New York requires all assumed business names to be unique and not already in use.

Step 2 – Filing a DBA in New York with the County Clerk

In New York, sole proprietors and partnerships must file a business certificate with the county clerk in which they plan on doing business to operate using a DBA name.

You can find your local county clerk’s office using the New York State Association of Counties database.

Example – New York County

The assumed business name records in New York County are in the basement located at 60 Centre Street, Manhattan.

There are two business certificates. One for partnerships (X-74) and one for sole proprietorships (X-201). The county clerk doesn’t provide Business Certificate forms. It is advised that business owners purchase the form in the lobby of the courthouse in Manhattan or at a legal stationery store.

Step 3 – Pay New York filing fees

You must include the $100 New York filing fee with your DBA application. It is an additional $10 for a certified copy.

Your county clerk only accepts cash and credit cards. They do not accept personal or business checks.

Office address:

60 Centre St.

Room 161

New York City, New York 10007

If you wish to make changes to your business certificate, you must visit your county clerk’s office and complete an amendment form. The filing fee for an amendment to your DBA is $121.

How to file a New York business DBA for an LLC or corporation

LLCs and corporations file their Certificate of Assumed Name with the New York Department of State. It applies to the following business entities:

  • For-profit Corporations
  • Non-profit Corporations
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • All Foreign Filing Entities

Step 1 – New York business entity search

A DBA name must be unique and meet New York state requirements.

An LLC or corporation can check the New York Department of State’s assumed business name database.

Step 2 – Filing a certificate of the assumed name New York

If your business is incorporated, you must file a DBA with the NYS Department of State.

You will need to download and print a copy of the assumed name form. You will need to list your new DBA name and information about your business on the DBA form.

Step 3 – Pay New York filing fees

A DBA for an LLC or corporation in New York carries additional fees.

  • $25 for the Certificate of Assumed Name
  • $10 for the Certified Copy of Certificate of Assumed Name

Expedited services pricing for LLCs and corporations

  • $150 2-hour processing
  • $75 same-day processing
  • $25 processing within 24 hours

Office address:

New York State Department of State
Division of Corporations
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231

Mailing address:

New York State Department of State
Division of Corporations
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231

Fax: 

(518) 474-1418 – You will have to include the Credit Card/Debit Card Authorization and a written request for a certified copy of the certificate of assumed name.

New York DBA name restrictions

New York has DBA name restrictions. An assumed business name cannot include:

  • Any words that confuse the business with a governmental agency (FBI, Treasury, Justice Department).
  • Specific words such as bank, attorney, and university are restricted. If you wish to use the restricted words, you must fill out additional paperwork and have a licensed individual be a part of your business.

Forms needed to file a DBA in New York

New York DBA tax considerations

A DBA only changes the name of a business. So, there are no tax implications when you file a DBA in New York.

How much does a DBA filing cost in New York?

For sole proprietors, the filing fee for a DBA in New York is $100. Certified copies of the business certificate are an additional $10 each.

Sole proprietors file a DBA with the county clerk they plan on doing business with. DBA filings are good for ten years in New York and must be renewed for the same $100 filing fee.

An LLC or corporation files a DBA with the New York Department of State, and the filing fees are different.

  • $25 for the Certificate of Assumed Name
  • $10 for the Certified Copy of Certificate of Assumed Name

Expedited services for LLCs and corporations

  • $150 2-hour processing
  • $75 same-day processing
  • $25 processing within 24 hours

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

A DBA name is not a business entity; thus, you don’t need a separate EIN.

The processing time for a DBA in Texas is between 4 to 6 weeks. LLCs and corporations have access to expedited services.

A DBA is good for ten years from the registration date in New York. Every ten years, you will need to renew the business certificate for sole proprietors or certificate of assumed name for LLCs.

You can withdraw or cancel your DBA in New York by completing and filing the Certificate of Discontinuance of Assumed Name form. It costs $25.

You can make changes to your DBA in New York by completing and filing the Certificate of Amendment of Certificate of Assumed Name form. The filing fee is $25.

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