What is an Assumed or Fictitious Name?

An assumed name, sometimes called a fictitious name, or DBA that stands for “Doing business as”  is a feature of some state corporation laws that allows a corporation to operate under more than one name.

This can be quite convenient to sole proprietorships  because they can use an assumed name instead of the last name of the business owner. However, a DBA or fictitious name does not provide any liability protection to the business owner.

Corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies are required to conduct activities under their true legal name. If a corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability company conducts activities under a name other than its true legal name, it is required to obtain authorization to use an assumed name.

Individuals and unincorporated entities that regularly conduct business using an assumed name (often referred to as a “d.b.a.”) must file an assumed name certificate with the county clerk in each county in which business premises are maintained. If corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships (entities created by filing with the secretary of state) do business with a name that is different than the name set forth in the organizational documents, they must file assumed name certificates in the county or counties where the registered office and the principal office are located, and must also file with the secretary of state.

ActiveFilings.com provides DBA filings in more than 1,400 jurisdictions.