How to file a DBA in Oklahoma

The term DBA is an abbreviated acronym that stands for ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is any registered name that a company or individual uses to operate that is not its legal name.

The legal name of a company is varies depending on its business structure. For a limited liability company (LLC) and corporations, the legal name defaults to the company’s name. And for sole proprietors and general partnerships, the legal name is the name of the individual(s) personal name.

Sometimes a DBA is also referred to as a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name. In Oklahoma, it is most commonly called a trade name.

For example, if you open a business, the legal name will be your personal name (e.g., Bonnie Roberts). Bonnie Roberts wants to open a store that sells hats. She doesn’t want her new business name to be her personal name. So, Bonnie Roberts files a DBA in Oklahoma to change her business name to Bonnie’s Bonnets. Bonnie’s Bonnets is now the name of the hat store.

A DBA only gives Bonnie the freedom to operate her business using a trade name. The DBA changes nothing else about the company.

DBA vs business trade name

  • In Oklahoma, a DBA is most commonly referred to as a trade name.
  • A business trade name, or DBA, is how companies do business using a name that is the company’s 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?

In Oklahoma, sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations do not have to file a DBA. However, filing a DBA in Oklahoma still benefits you before using a new name.

  • New businesses. Oklahoma does not require new businesses to file a DBA when using a different name. However, it is still the best way to operate a business under a name that is not the legal name.
  • Sole proprietors. A business and its owner are the same legal entity. It means the two share a name unless you file a DBA. An Oklahoma DBA does prevent others from using the same trade name for sole proprietors.
  • LLCs. Limited liability companies (LLCs) regularly expand and operate businesses with different names. Oklahoma does not require any business to obtain a DBA to use a trade name.
  • Corporations. Corporations regularly own and operate different types of business in various industries. Oklahoma doesn’t require a corporation to file a DBA to do business using a different name from the corporation’s legal name. However, securing a DBA name in the state reduces customer confusion and is best business practice.
  • Franchises. Most franchisees use DBAs. For example, if you buy a Planet Fitness franchise. Planet Fitness is an LLC. A new franchise would be listed as “1284 Business LLC”. To change the name from its numeral listing to Planet Fitness, you must register a DBA name.

A DBA allows small business owners and startups the creative freedom to name their businesses. A DBA gives small businesses the capability to name their business without the complex and hefty cost of forming a separate LLC.

Why do you need a DBA?

  • A DBA keeps things simple for small businesses and startups. A DBA just changes the name of a company. However, a DBA benefits small businesses in other ways, too. It is a straightforward and cost-effective way for sole proprietors to use a business trade name without having to form a separate LLC or incorporation.
  • Your LLC or corporation benefits from a DBA. Also, a limited liability company would have to form a separate LLC for each business operating using a different name without a DBA. For example, Tim’s Print LLC wants to open a paper store called Prints and the Paper. Tim’s Print LLC must file a DBA to change the name, but it remains owned and operated by the LLC. Nothing else about Prints and the Paper changes.
  • A DBA addresses privacy concerns for small business owners. A DBA gives sole proprietors and general partnerships the ability to operate using a trade name on public-facing material rather than their own names.
  • A DBA makes business banking more straightforward. Most banks require all businesses to file a DBA before opening a business bank account. While Oklahoma does not force sole proprietors to file a DBA, having separate business and personal bank accounts is still the safest way for new business owners to protect personal assets and credit scores. However, a DBA does not offer legal protection or liability protection.
  • A DBA is a simple way to make branding easier. Your brand name is what makes an impact on your audience. The business name you operate under is what lets your customers know what you’re offering. For example, had Bonnie Roberts not filed a DBA, no one would know she opened a hat store.

How to set up a DBA in Oklahoma

Step 1 – Oklahoma trade name search

A trade name in Oklahoma must be unique and meet the state requirements.

While Oklahoma does not require a DBA by law, it is still the best plan of action for any business using a trade name. Also, DBA registration will give you exclusive rights to use the trade name within Oklahoma.

You will visit the Oklahoma Business Name Search website and search for DBA name availability.

Step 2 – File your Oklahoma DBA with Secretary of State

You will file your Oklahoma DBA online using the Secretary of State’s website or by completing the Trade Name Report form and submitting it by mail.

The Trade Name Report form includes important sections including:

  • The trade name you are registering.
  • A full description of your business.
  • The type of business entity. (sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, etc.)

Mailing address:
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 NW 13th St., Suite 210
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Oklahoma Secretary of State phone number: 405-522-2520

Step 3 – Pay Oklahoma DBA filing fees

The DBA cost in Oklahoma is $25. Oklahoma DBAs do not expire and do not require renewal.

Oklahoma DBA name restrictions

In Oklahoma, a trade name can’t contain any of the following:

  • All business entity suffixes, including LLC, Corp, LLP, etc.
  • Any words or phrases related to financial institutions such as a bank, bank, credit union, etc.
  • Any words easily confused with governmental agencies, such as FBI, Treasury, Secretary of State.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Oklahoma

Oklahoma DBA tax considerations

  • In Oklahoma, 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.
  • The IRS does not require that you have a separate tax ID number.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Oklahoma?

The processing fee for an Oklahoma DBA is $25. An Oklahoma DBA does not expire and does not require renewal.

Oklahoma does not offer any expedited services.

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

It takes Oklahoma 1-2 business days to process a DBA filed online.

The DBA processing time is 7-10 business days if submitted by mail.

Oklahoma does not offer any expedited services.

You cannot amend your actual trade name in Oklahoma.

You can make other changes by completing the Amended Trade Name Report. You can file it online or by submitting the form by mail.

The Oklahoma process fee for making changes to your DBA is $25.

Oklahoma Secretary of State

421 NW 13th St., Suite 210

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

You can cancel your Oklahoma DBA by completing the Withdrawal of Trade Name Report form. You can file it online or by submitting the form by mail.

Oklahoma Secretary of State

421 NW 13th St., Suite 210

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

You can register as many Oklahoma DBA names as you can pay for and track.

You must register each trade name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.

A DBA and a trademark are two different things.

A DBA allows businesses to use a fictitious business name that is not their legal name.

A trademark is a type of intellectual property registration that protects a business’ brand.

A sole proprietor does not have to register a trade name in Oklahoma. However, a trademark does protect your brand name in Oklahoma and on a national level.

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