Requirements for a DBA License


One of the important requirements if you are interested in running your own business is acquiring a DBA license.  DBA is short for "doing business as" and is required when you register your assumed, or trade, name for your home business.  The only reason you would not be required to file for a DBA license is if you are using your actual and legal name as your business name. 

1 - Name

The first thing you are required to do is decide what your business name will be.  This is something that should be carefully considered, as this is the first impression you will make with potential consumers (and what you will be known as). 

You will need to do a search for the name you choose on the internet business name registry to make sure you are not infringing on someone else's copyright.  Search online, search locally and search like businesses.  You may potentially be able to use the same name as another business, as long as it is not in the same trade. 

2 - Tax Filing

For tax purposes and to register for your business and DBA licenses, you will be required to decide what type of entity you will be filing your business as.  You could decide on sole proprietor, LLC (Limited Liability Company), Corporation or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) depending on whatever works best for your situation.  Research the options carefully as changes will require additional filing and fees, and could cause tax confusion.

3 - Tax Identification Number

The next requirement for a business license and a DBA license is to apply for a tax identification number (TIN).  This informs the Internal Revenue Service that you have started a business, and they can give you the necessary information about business tax and employment tax for your local area.  This is a must, even for internet and at-home businesses.

4 - Business Bank Account

Although you are not required to open a business bank account, it is highly recommended.  You absolutely do not want to mix your personal money with your business money. Separate accounts will help minimize future problems with record keeping and tax related issues.

Be prepared when opening a business bank account; you will be required to have a DBA business license. 

5 - Other Information

The guidelines and requirements for attaining a DBA license listed here are listed in general terms and may vary greatly from state to state.  You will need to research your individual state requirements to find out what applies to your business and what does not. 

For instance, in Oregon, if you register your business as an LLC or Corporation, a separate DBA license filing is not even required.  The state of New Mexico does not require a separate registration at all.  The state of Wyoming does require businesses to file for a 'trade name' license, or DBA. 

You also want to verify whether any filing is to be done at the state, county or city level. 

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