The "DBA" Basics

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What exactly is a DBA?

The term “DBA” is simply an abbreviation for Doing Business As.  A DBA is technically nothing more than a document filed with a county or state government agency that informs the general public two important things: 1) the exact name of the business, and (2) the identity of the business’s owners.  At the county level, it’s referred to as a DBA, but at the state level, it’s referred to as an Assumed Name Certificate.

When is a DBA needed?

There are a number of times when a business is required to file a DBA or an Assumed Name Certificate.   For example, if you are a sole proprietor (or partnership) and don’t want to operate under your personal name, you’ll have to file a DBA in each county where you do business.   By the same token, if you have formed a business entity (i.e., a corporation or an LLC) but you want to do business using a different name, you’ll have to file an Assumed Name Certificate with the Texas Secretary of State.

How do you do it?

Filing the DBA or the Assumed Name Certificate is pretty easy.  The county clerk’s office provides a simple DBA form that the business owner completes files with the county clerk’s office.  Registering you’re Assumed Name Certificate with the State is just as easy.  The form (Form 503) can be downloaded at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/ and mailed to the State Office.

Where can I get more information?

Dallas County: http://www.dallascounty.org/department/countyclerk/countyclerk.php

Texas Secretary of State: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/

A final Note on Liability Protection:

It’s important to note that “registering” a DBA is not the same as forming an LLC or a Corporation.  The DBA provides absolutely no liability protection for the business.  On the contrary, the DBA registration is intended to protect the public from the business, rather than protecting the business from the public.  You should seek the advice of a qualified attorney to help ensure that you and your business have adequate liability protections.

 

Jeronimo Valdez is an experienced business trial lawyer and Founder & Managing Partner of Valdez│Washington LLP, where he represents clients throughout the country in a broad range of matters including life-altering personal injury, complex contract disputes, non-compete litigation, complex business torts, and other business-related problems. He has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict, recently winning a week-long jury trial in a business dispute resulting in a unanimous defense verdict for his client and a multi-million dollar award for his side. As a result of his many successes, he has been selected by Texas Monthly Magazine as a Texas Super Lawyer “Rising Star,” which is a designation reserved for the top up-and-coming Texas attorneys who are 40 or younger (less than 2.5% of Texas Lawyers are selected). He was also selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the top 40 lawyers in Texas.  Additionally, Jeronimo has served as General Counsel of an international company and currently serves as outside general counsel to leading businesses and local chambers of commerce and was awarded the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber’s prestigious 2010 Quality & Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award.

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