DBA is a shortened acronym that stands for ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is a registered name that a company or individual uses to do business under that is not their legal name.
The legal name of a company is different depending on the business structure. For a limited liability company (LLC), the legal name defaults to the company’s name. And for sole proprietors, the legal name is the individual’s personal name.
A DBA is sometimes called a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name. In South Dakota, they keep it simple by referring to a DBA name as a business name.
For example, if you open a business, the legal name will be your own name (e.g., Amanda Jones). Amanda Jones wants to open a candy shop. She doesn’t want the business’s name to be her name, Amanda Jones. So, she files a DBA in South Dakota to change the name of her company to Mandy’s Candies. Mandy’s Candies is now the name of the business.
The DBA changes absolutely nothing else about the business. The DBA only allows Amanda Jones the freedom to use a business name that best describes what she offers.
DBA vs business name
- A business name, or DBA, is how businesses operate using a name that is the business’ legal name in South Dakota.
- The only difference between a DBA name and a business name is that a DBA is only an alias.
- A DBA must be associated with a legal business entity.
- A DBA and a business name are the same things in South Dakota.
Who needs a DBA?
South Dakota 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 company’s legal name.
A DBA benefits a business in various ways. The benefits depend on a business structure and the owners’ personal preferences.
- New businesses. South Dakota requires new businesses to acquire a DBA before operating using a different name. DBA registration is a recommended business practice for all new companies.
- Sole proprietors. Without a DBA, the business name for a sole proprietorship defaults to the owner’s full legal name. It is because they share the same legal entity with their business.
- LLCs. All LLCs in South Dakota must register a DBA name when operating a new business outside of their primary LLC. Without a South Dakota DBA, every company that an LLC owns and operates would share the LLC name.
- Corporations. A DBA allows incorporations the freedom to operate companies in various industries and many types of business. In South Dakota, a corporation that intends to run a company using a company name that isn’t the corporation’s name must register a DBA.
- Franchises. Franchisees utilize DBAs. For example, if you buy a Little Caesars franchise. Little Caesars is an LLC. The new franchise would be listed as “5751 Business LLC”. To change the franchise from the numerical listing to simply Little Caesars, you will need to file a DBA to alert South Dakota that you now are ‘doing business as’ the franchise.
A DBA allows a small business owner or startup the creative freedom to choose their business name. A DBA also gives entrepreneurs the benefit of avoiding the costly and time-consuming process of forming and registering an LLC just to use a new name.
Why do you need a DBA?
- A DBA helps keep things simple for small business owners and startups. A DBA only changes the name of a business. However, a DBA accomplishes more than that. Filing a DBA is a straightforward and cost-effective way for sole proprietors to use a business name without the complication of forming a seperate LLC or corporation.
- LLCs and corporations benefit from DBAs. A limited liability company (LLC) would have to form separate LLCs for each business it purchases without a DBA. For example, Vick’s Rubber LLC wants to open a tire shop named Tough as Tires. The LLC would file a DBA in South Dakota to change the name. Tough as Tires would remain owned and operated by Vick’s Rubber.
- A DBA protects the privacy of sole proprietorships and general partnerships. In South Dakota, sole proprietors and co-partnerships must use their full personal names on public-facing material unless they file a DBA.
- A DBA simplifies business banking. Most financial institutions and banks 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 keeps branding affordable and straightforward. Your brand name is what alerts your audience that you exist and leaves the first impression. The company name listed on signage and business cards tells potential customers what you offer. For example, had Amanda Jones not filed a DBA, her customers would now know she opened a candy shop.
How to set up a DBA in South Dakota
Step 1 – South Dakota DBA – business name search
In South Dakota, a DBA, or business name, is how you let other companies in the state know you’re using a particular business name. However, registering a business trade name in South Dakota does not prevent others from using the same one.
You will want to choose a unique business name. You will visit the South Dakota Secretary of State’s DBA – Business Name search website and check for DBA name availability.
Step 2 – File the South Dakota DBA with the Secretary of State
You can only file your DBA online using the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
The business name registration form includes essential sections:
- The South Dakota Secretary of State requires businesses to have a Secretary of State ID number. It must be listed on the DBA name registration form.
- The contact information of all owners.
Step 3 – Pay South Dakota filing fees
The DBA cost in South Dakota is $10. It expires every five years and requires renewal. The DBA renewal fee is $10.
You renew your South Dakota DBA online using the Secretary of State website.
South Dakota DBA name restrictions
In South Dakota, a trade name can’t contain any of the following:
- Business suffixes (LLC, Corp, Incorporated, etc.) unless it is your business’ actual structure.
- Any words that imply or insinuate a business are organized for non-permitted or unlawful purposes.
Forms needed to file a DBA in South Dakota
South Dakota DBA tax considerations
- In South Dakota, 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 South Dakota?
The South Dakota DBA filing fee is $10. South Dakota does offer expedited services for an additional $50 processing fee.
It expires every five years and requires renewal. The cost of renewal is $10.
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 1-2 business days to process a business name registration in South Dakota.
You can opt for same-day expedited services for an additional $50 processing fee.
You cannot change your business name unless you register a new DBA in South Dakota.
You can change other information such as contact information and listed owners by completing the DBA – Business Name Amendment form online.
The processing fee for making changes or amendments to your South Dakota DBA is $10.
You can cancel your South Dakota DBA by online completing the DBA – Business Name Cancellation form.
The processing fee for canceling or withdrawing your South Dakota DBA is $10.
You can only file your DBA documents online in South Dakota.
If you have questions, call the Secretary of State’s office.
South Dakota Secretary of State phone number: (605) 773-4845
South Dakota Secretary of State address:
500 East Capitol Avenue Ste 204
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
215 E. Prospect Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
You can register as many South Dakota DBA names as you can afford and keep up with.
You must register each fictitious business name with the South Dakota Secretary of State.