DBA licenses are necessary for all businesses which don't operate under the name of an individual, even if it is only a small work at home business. You will need a DBA, or "Does Business As," license for tax return preparation purposes, among other things. A DBA license is basically a legal declaration of the name which you are doing business under. For example, if someone wants to run a business and name it "PaperWorks," a DBA license will cause that business to be legally recognized as "PaperWorks" instead of being filed under that person's name. It is then possible to write and cash checks in the business' name, have a company bank account and perform other important tasks. If you are founding your own business, you can follow these steps to obtain and properly file your DBA license.
Step 1: Check Your Company Name
Although company names aren't protected by copyright, you may still encounter problems getting a DBA license if your name of choice is already taken (especially if a business by the same name operates locally). You can also cut down on competition and confusion by having a unique company name. Your county clerk's office will be able to tell you if your ideal name is currently in use, as well as clarify any restrictions that may result if that is the case. Different states and counties may have differing policies when it comes to choosing your business' name and declaring it with a DBA license, so refer to your county clerk's office if you have specific questions.
Step 2: Fill Out Your DBA Form
You can pick up a hard copy of a DBA application from your county clerk's office, or search for an online form (which will allow you to apply for your DBA from home). You will need to be able to provide basic information about your business. The application is fairly short and can usually be completed in less than 15 minutes. If you fill out your form at a clerk's office, they will be able to get the form approved for you; if you choose the online method, you will be given instructions once your application is submitted.
Step 3: Follow State Guidelines
Some states require an announcement to be published in local newspapers for a certain period of time after a DBA license is filed. This raises awareness of the new business within the community. If this applies to your state, you will need to have a copy of the newspapers in which your DBA declaration was printed in order to finish filing your form. You can actually ask the newspaper company to finish the filing process for you, once you've been sufficiently published (for a small fee). If no public declaration is required for your state, you can skip the newspapers and visit the county clerk's office to file your approved DBA license.
DBA licenses are vital to any business which doesn't carry the name of its sole proprietor. Following these 3 steps will help you obtain your license and carry on with your business.