What is a DBA or Doing Business As?
The 'doing business as' registration is that is done to help your customers to identify who is really running this business. And if a persons wants to lookup the owners of the business, this is one of the ways that it can be done. So, essentially it is associating the business name with the true owners of the business.
Do all businesses need to file a DBA, or doing business as?
No, not all businesses need to file for a DBA, and it just depends on which business name you are using for your business. If you are using your personal name for the business, like "John Doe", if your name is "John Doe" then you typically don't need to file a DBA. Let's think about the work "Fictitious", which means fake or false. So, essentially it means that if you are using a false name, other than the actual name then you would need to file for a DBA. This rule also applies to corporation names and DBA. Typically if you are operating your business as the same name as your corporation name, then you wouldn't need to file for the DBA. So, if you are a sole proprietor and operating under a business license, you most likely will need to file a DBA.
Do domain names need to be registered as a DBA?
Generally, speaking a DBA would need to be filed for a domain name if that website is being used as a customer facing domain that interacts with customers, and this domain is different than your corporate name or personal name.
Why don't Corporations and LLCs need to file for a DBA?
The personal name or Corporation name has already been registered at the state level. So, because of this prior registration, the thought is that if anyone is trying to search for the corporation or LLC, they will be able to locate the company at the state level. The one exception to this rule is when you are planning to operate the business as a different name than what the corporation or LLC name, then you would need to register for a DBA. So just to be safe, make sure that you register a DBA if you are operating as a different name than the LLC or Corp name.
How do you register a fictitious business name?
DBAs and fictitious business names are registered and issued at the county level in most areas. So, you will typically go to your local county business office and register your DBA. It typically isn't too hard to file. In some states, the registration process can be done online, while in others counties and states the filing must be done in person as the local office. In the State of New York, you can file for a DBA online, using this website.