The business term DBA is an acronym for ‘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. The legal name defaults to the company name for a limited liability company (LLC). And for sole proprietors, the legal name is the individual owner’s own name.
A DBA can also be referred to as a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed business name. A DBA name is most commonly called an assumed business name in Oregon.
For example, if you open a business, the legal name will be your personal name (e.g., Trisha Jones). Trisha Jones wants to open a small book store. She doesn’t want her business name to default to Trisha Jones. So, she registers a DBA in Oregon to change her business name to Trisha’s Hard Covers. Trisha’s Hard Covers is now the name of the business.
The DBA changes nothing else about Trisha’s Hard Covers. It just allows Trisha Jones the freedom to operate under the assumed business name in Oregon.
DBA vs assumed business name
- In Oregon, a DBA is most commonly referred to as an assumed business name.
- An assumed business name, or DBA, is how businesses operate using a name that is the business’ legal name.
- The only difference between a DBA name and an assumed business name is that a DBA is just an alias.
- A DBA must be associated with a legal business entity.
- A DBA and an assumed business name are the same things.
Who needs a DBA?
Oregon mandates that you register a DBA to do business using a name that is not your business’s legal name.
However, a DBA does a bit more than that. The benefits are dependent on the business structure and personal preferences of the owners.
- New businesses. In Oregon, new businesses must register a DBA if they wish to use any name other than the legal name of the person or company.
- Sole proprietors. A business and its owner(s)are the same entity. It means that they share a name unless you file a DBA in Oregon.
- LLCs. Oregon law states that LLCs must register a DBA when owning and operating a new business that uses any new name other than the LLC’s name. Without a DBA, every company that an LLC operates would do so under the same name as the LLC.
- Corporations. A DBA allows corporations to operate businesses in various industries and any type of business. In Oregon, a corporation that intends to run a business using an assumed business name that isn’t the company’s name must register a DBA.
- Franchises. Regularly, franchisees utilize DBAs. For example, if you invest in an IHOP franchise. IHOP is an LLC. It means a new franchise would be listed as “6451 Business LLC”. To change the franchise from its numerical listing to IHOP, you will need to file a DBA to alert Oregon that you’re ‘doing business as’ the franchise.
A DBA allows small business owners and startups the creative freedom to name their businesses. Also, a DBA helps entrepreneurs avoid the costly and complex 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. A DBA is the most straightforward and cost-effective way for a sole proprietorship to operate under an assumed business name without forming a separate LLC or corporation.
- LLCs and corporations benefit from a DBA. Oregon requires that LLCs and corporations file for separate DBA names for every business they wish to operate using a name other than the company’s name. For example, Jack’s Metal LLC wants to open a roofing company named Keep It Covered. The LLC must file a DBA in Oregon to change the name. Keep It Covered remains owned by Jack’s Metal LLC.
- A DBA addresses the privacy concerns of small business owners and general partnerships. A DBA allows business owner(s) the ability to use an assumed business name on public-facing material. Without a DBA, sole proprietors and partners would have to use their personal legal names on signage and business cards.
- Business banking is made more accessible with a DBA. Financial professionals recommend that all new businesses and startups open a separate business bank account from their personal one. It protects personal assets and credit scores. Also, most banking institutions require new owners to register a DBA name before opening a bank account in the company name. A DBA does not offer any legal protection or liability protection on its own.
- A DBA makes branding and marketing more accessible in Oregon. Your brand name is what tells your audience what you’re offering. DBA registration allows you to use that brand name legally in Oregon. For example, if Trisha Jones had not filed a DBA, no one would know she opened a book store.
How to set up a DBA in Oregon
Step 1 – Oregon assumed business name search
All assumed business names must be unique in Oregon and meet the DBA name requirements.
You will search the Oregon Secretary of State’s Business Name Search website for DBA name availability.
Step 2 – File Oregon DBA with the Secretary of State
You can file your Oregon DBA online or by mail.
To file online, you will use the Oregon Secretary of State website to file your DBA.
If you file by mail, you will complete the Assumed Business Name New Registration form and submit it to the Oregon Secretary of State.
The Assumed Business Name New Registration form includes essential sections:
- A full description of the business.
- The name of the authorized business representative.
- Contact information of the owners.
- All counties where you want to register your DBA name.
Oregon Secretary of State
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
Oregon Corporation Division: 503-986-2200
Step 3 – Pay Oregon DBA filing fees
The DBA cost in Oregon is $50. The filing fees are the same if you file online or by mail.
An Oregon DBA requires renewal every two years. You will renew your Oregon DBA online and submit the $50 filing fee.
Oregon DBA name restrictions
In Oregon, an assumed business name can’t contain any of 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.
- Oregon has a list of special characters you cannot use in a DBA name, such as @, +,-, etc.
- You can find a complete list of Oregon naming restrictions by reading the statute.
Forms needed to file a DBA in Oregon
Oregon DBA tax considerations
- In Oregon, 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 Oregon?
The Oregon DBA filing fee is $50. Oregon does not offer any expedited services.
You will renew your Oregon DBA every two years. The cost for 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.
It takes Oregon 5-7 business days to process a DBA. The Oregon Secretary of State will begin processing your DBA when they receive it.
It means that if you file online, it is faster than if you file by mail.
You will complete the Assumed Business Name Amendment form and submit it by mail to the Oregon Secretary of State.
The processing cost to change the assumed business name is $50.
Oregon does not charge for any other amendments, such as address or owner contact info.
Oregon Secretary of State
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327
You can withdraw your assumed name by completing the Assumed Business Name Cancellation form and submitting it by mail to the Oregon Secretary of State.
The processing fee for canceling your Oregon DBA is $50.
There is no limit on how many DBAs you can register in Oregon; You can register as many new names as you can pay for and keep tabs on.
You must follow the same DBA registration process for each fictitious business name you plan to use.