How to Get a DBA Name in Alabama 2024: A Complete Guide

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How to Get a DBA Name in Alabama

If you want to use a different name other than the legal name for your business in Alabama, you must file a DBA (Doing Business As) name. The public, specifically your potential customers, will recognize your business by its registered legal name. Using a trade name or DBA in marketing and sales can help your Alabama LLC reach a wider audience.

Alabama, also known as The Yellowhammer State, has specific regulations for filing a DBA name. However, these regulations can vary depending on your business structure. At LLCBase, we understand that forming a business can be an overwhelming experience, so we are here to help you every step of the way. This article will provide the essential steps to obtain a DBA Name in Alabama.

What is a DBA

A DBA, which stands for “Doing Business As,” is a name under which a business operates that differs from its legal name. It is also known as a trade, assumed, or fictitious name. A DBA allows business owners, such as sole proprietors, general partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations, to conduct business under a separate name without creating a new legal entity.

Registering a DBA is important for several reasons, including legal compliance, branding, and customer recognition. The process for obtaining a DBA varies by jurisdiction and may require filing with a state or county government office. Researching local regulations and following the steps to register your DBA name properly is essential.

Understanding DBA Names in Alabama

You must choose a name when you form an LLC or any business structure. Every company has a legal name. For example, a partnership or sole proprietorship might operate under the legal name of the company’s owner or owners. The name specified in the Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Formation can be used by any business entity, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and others.

There are situations when you may decide not to use your company’s registered legal name in Alabama for various reasons. Your company’s legal name might not be relevant to your business or no longer accurately describe it. Alternatively, you might want a new name without changing your incorporation or registration documents.

If you plan to start your business in Alabama under a name other than your personal name or an existing corporate name, you must file a DBA name with Alabama state, regardless of the type of business entity you have incorporated as (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC).

There are no restrictions on how many DBA names you can use for your business. However, each DBA name must be filed with the state where you conduct business. This is necessary because the general public has a legal right to know whether a specific individual or company is operating under a name other than their legal name.

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How to Obtain a DBA Name in Alabama

Want to obtain a DBA name in Alabama? Simply follow these easy-peasy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to securing that perfect “doing business as” name in no time!

Step 1: Check Name Availability

Before filing a DBA in Alabama, ensuring that no other business is already using your chosen name is crucial. To confirm name availability in Alabama, search the Alabama Secretary of State Business Entity Search database provided by the Alabama Secretary of State. This step is important to avoid potential legal issues and confusion for customers.

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Step 2: Choose a DBA Name

In Alabama, fictitious names cannot be identical or too similar. A DBA should avoid deceiving the public by appearing confusingly similar to any other business name. When choosing a DBA name, ensure it follows the guidelines and restrictions the Alabama government sets. These guidelines may include avoiding certain words or phrases, such as those related to banking, insurance, or professional designations, without proper authorization.

Step 3: Register the Alabama DBA Name

Once you have determined that the name is available for registration, complete the required forms provided by your county or the Alabama Secretary of State. You must register your DBA name in the county where you intend to conduct business. In most Alabama counties, specific information is required, such as the company’s name, organization type, and description of the products or services to be provided under the Fictitious Name. Carefully complete the necessary forms and ensure all information is accurate and complete.

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Step 4: Submit the Application

To file the Alabama DBA Name, you must apply to the Alabama Secretary of State or the appropriate county office. In Alabama, you can file the DBA name using various methods, such as (three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing.). The cost of filing the Fictitious Name (DBA name) in Alabama is $30. This fee may vary depending on the method of filing or the specific county where you are registering your DBA name.

  • Online: For online filing, you need to visit the Alabama Secretary of State website, submit the online form along with the filing fees.
  • Offline: For offline filing, download the form and send it to State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State, Trademarks Division, P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery, AL 36103-5616 OR drop off the form in person to State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State, Trademarks Division, 11 South Union St., Suite 224, Montgomery, AL 36130.

Step 5: Use the Alabama DBA Name

Once your DBA name is registered and approved, you can use it in your business operations. Be prepared to provide three “specimens” demonstrating the Trade Name used, such as business cards, booklets, flyers, labels, or stickers. These specimens may be requested by the Alabama Secretary of State or the county office as proof of usage. Properly displaying your DBA name in your marketing materials, signage, and other business documents is essential to ensure customers and clients know your new trade name.

Following these steps, you can obtain a DBA name in Alabama and use it to enhance your business’s visibility and reach.

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DBA Name in Alabama: A Detailed Guide

Read the comprehensive guide to renewing and changing a DBA name in Alabama:

Renewing a DBA Name in Alabama

It is essential to renew your DBA name periodically to maintain its validity. In most states, renewing a DBA name follows the same process as filing a new DBA name. Every five years, you should renew your Alabama DBA to ensure continued compliance with state regulations.

To renew your DBA name in Alabama, follow these steps:

  1. Check the renewal deadline: Be aware of the renewal deadline for your DBA name, typically every five years. Missing the deadline may result in penalties or loss of your trade name rights.
  2. Complete the renewal application: Obtain the renewal application from the Alabama Secretary of State or the appropriate county office. Fill out the required information, including updates on your business address, contact information, and a description of the products or services provided under the Fictitious Name.
  3. Submit the renewal application: Submit the completed renewal application to the Alabama Secretary of State or the appropriate county office by the deadline. Be prepared to pay the renewal fee, which may vary depending on the method of submission or the specific county where you are renewing your DBA name.
  4. Receive confirmation: Once your renewal has been processed and approved, you will receive confirmation from the Alabama Secretary of State or the county office. Keep this documentation for your records.

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Changing a DBA Name in Alabama

If you need to change your Trade Name (DBA or Fictitious Name), apply to the Alabama Secretary of State (SOS) or the appropriate county office. The process for changing a trading name is similar to registering a new DBA. You can reserve your DBA name for five years.

To change your trade name in Alabama, follow these steps:

  1. Check name availability: Before applying for a new trade name, ensure that another business still needs to use the desired name. Search the Alabama Government Records Inquiry System or the Alabama Secretary of State Business Entity Search database provided by the Alabama Secretary of State to confirm business name availability in Alabama.
  2. Complete the change application: Obtain the trade name change application from the Alabama Secretary of State or the appropriate county office. Fill out the required information, including the current and new trade names you wish to use.
  3. Submit the change application: Submit the completed change application to the Alabama Secretary of State or the appropriate county office. Be prepared to pay the change fee, which may vary depending on the submission method or the county where you change your DBA name.
  4. Receive confirmation: Once your trade name change has been processed and approved, you will receive confirmation from the Alabama Secretary of State or the county office. Keep this documentation for your records and update all relevant business materials with the new trade name.

FAQs

What does DBA stand for?
DBA stands for “doing business as.”
Do I need to register a DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, if you want to do business under a name other than your own legal name, you must register a DBA name in Alabama.
What is the process to get a DBA name in Alabama?
To get a DBA name in Alabama, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
Where do I file my Certificate of Formation for my DBA name in Alabama?
You should file your Certificate of Formation for your DBA name in Alabama with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
Can I use my business’s DBA name in other states or just in Alabama?
Your business’s DBA name may only be used in the state where it is registered.
How long does it take to get a DBA name in Alabama?
It typically takes a few days to a few weeks to get a DBA name in Alabama.
What if another business is already using the name I want for my DBA name in Alabama?
If another business is already using the name you want for your DBA name in Alabama, you will need to choose a different name.
Is there a fee to register a DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, there is a fee to register a DBA name in Alabama.
Can I file for a DBA name registration online in Alabama?
Yes, you can file for a DBA name registration online in Alabama through the Secretary of State’s website.
Do I have to file anything else after getting my DBA name in Alabama?
After getting your DBA name in Alabama, it is a good idea to file for any necessary tax and business licenses.
Can my DBA name in Alabama be different from my LLC or corporation’s business name?
Yes, your DBA name in Alabama may be different from your LLC or corporation’s business name.
Do I have to register every variation of my DBA name in Alabama?
No, you do not have to register every variation of your DBA name in Alabama, but it’s a good idea to register the variations you plan to use.
Can my DBA name in Alabama contain my personal name?
Yes, your DBA name in Alabama may contain your personal name.
Do I need a lawyer to get a DBA name in Alabama?
You do not need a lawyer to get a DBA name in Alabama, but it is helpful to consult with one.
Can I change my DBA name in Alabama after it has been registered?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Alabama after it has been registered, but you will need to file a new Certificate of Formation.
Can I have more than one DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, you can have more than one DBA name in Alabama.
How often do I need to renew my DBA name registration in Alabama?
You do not need to renew your DBA name registration in Alabama.
How can I check if my proposed DBA name is available in Alabama?
You can do this by searching the Alabama Secretary of State’s records.
Can I operate my business without a DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, you can operate your business without a DBA name in Alabama, but it is a good idea to register one if you plan to do business under a name other than your own.
What are the benefits of having a DBA name in Alabama?
A DBA name in Alabama can help establish and build your brand and give your business a formal name to use in banking and legal transactions.
Can I use a fictitious business name instead of a DBA name in Alabama?
A DBA name and a fictitious business name are the same thing.
What happens if I don’t register my DBA name in Alabama?
If you don’t register your DBA name in Alabama and choose to conduct business under another name, you may face legal implications.
Can I start using my DBA name in Alabama as soon as I file my paperwork?
Yes, you can start using your DBA name in Alabama as soon as your registration is approved.
Do I need to display my DBA name on my business materials?
Yes, you must display your DBA name on all business materials.
Can someone else use my DBA name in Alabama?
No, someone else cannot use your registered DBA name in Alabama.
Can I use an acronym for my DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, you may use an acronym for your DBA name in Alabama.
Can I get a refund if my DBA name registration is not approved in Alabama?
No, filing fees are nonrefundable.
Can I register a DBA for a non-profit organization in Alabama?
Yes, a non-profit organization can register a DBA name in Alabama.
What is a DBA name?
A DBA name, or “doing business as” name, is a name used by businesses that differs from the legal name of the business entity.
Why would I need a DBA name in Alabama?
You may want to use a DBA name if you want to conduct business under a different name than your legal business name.
How do I search for an available DBA name in Alabama?
You can use the Alabama Secretary of State’s business name search tool online to check if your desired DBA name is taken.
How much does it cost to file for a DBA name in Alabama?
As of 2021, the filing fee for a DBA in Alabama is $28.
Can I register a DBA name in Alabama online?
Yes, you can register a DBA name online through the Alabama Secretary of State website.
What are the requirements for registering a DBA name in Alabama?
You need to be a registered business entity in Alabama in order to file for a DBA name.
Does registering a DBA name in Alabama protect my brand?
No, registering a DBA name in Alabama does not provide trademark protection.
Does every business need a DBA name in Alabama?
No, not every business needs a DBA name in Alabama.
Can I use a DBA name in Alabama for any type of business?
Yes, you can use a DBA name in Alabama for your small or large business situations.
Can I use a DBA name in Alabama to operate a franchise?
It may vary depending on the specific franchise agreement, so you will need to review your franchise agreement to see if you can use a DBA name.
How do I change my DBA name in Alabama?
You can file an amendment form with the Alabama Secretary of State to change your DBA name.
Can I sell or transfer my DBA name in Alabama?
DBA names are typically specific to the owner, and are not usually transferable.
Do I need to publish my DBA name in Alabama?
This may depend on your Alabama local or county regulations – not all regions require publishing in newspapers.
Can I use my own name as my DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, you can use your name as your DBA name.
Can I register more than one DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, there is no limit on the number of DBA names that can be tied to a business entity.
Can I use a DBA name to avoid personal liability in Alabama?
No, registering a DBA name in Alabama does not provide personal liability protection for business owners.
Can I use a DBA name to avoid lawsuits in Alabama?
No, registering a DBA name in Alabama does not protect your business from lawsuits.
Are there any penalties for using a DBA name in Alabama that I haven’t registered?
Yes, it is generally prohibited to operate a business that’s not first registered in the state of Alabama.
Do I have to renew my DBA name registration in Alabama?
No, you don’t need to renew your DBA name registration in Alabama.
Can I use a trademarked name as a DBA name in Alabama?
You could use a specific trademarked name, if you are given permission by the relevant owner or it is an internal or ownership or a parent agreement.
Can a corporation or LLC have multiple DBA names in Alabama?
Yes, businesses can own operate and manage one legal basis with multiple DBAs in Alabama.
How can I be assured that my preferred name for filing my DBA name in Alabama can be accepted?
By using the Alabama Secretary of State Business Name Search Tool to ensure the preferred name isn’t currently in use.
How long is my DBA name valid for in Alabama?
Your DBA name registration in Alabama is generally valid from when it is submitted until you discontinue use of the DBA.
Do I need to file a business license application before filing a DBA name registration in Alabama?
No, filing a DBA does not suffice a reasonable office space or protect any licensing needed within a business area.
Can I update my DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, You may update your Alabama DBA name officially by filing amendments in the Office of the Secretary of State.
How often can I change my DBA name in Alabama?
Answer:You could change your DBA name in Alabama as frequently as you’d like, but it typically costs money every time you choose to do so.
After filing my DBA name registration in Alabama what notification will I be given?
After your application is processed, you will receive a filing approval towards your DBA name from the Alabama Secretary of State.
Can I renew my DBA name registration when expired?
Renewal shall register for annually preparing each state business, also in varies but in Alabama, primarily they will require it touching your business success and revenue status every 2 or 3 years.

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Conclusion

Navigating obtaining, renewing, or changing a DBA name in Alabama is essential to managing your business’s identity and growth. Following the outlined steps and adhering to state regulations ensures your business remains compliant and continues to thrive. Remember, a well-chosen trade name reflects your brand identity and helps you connect with your target audience more effectively. As your business evolves, it’s crucial to stay adaptable and responsive to the ever-changing market conditions, and having a suitable DBA name is a significant part of that journey.

So, embrace the opportunity to create a professional and friendly image for your business, and let your DBA name be the catalyst for success. Visit LLCBase today to access valuable resources and guidance tailored to your business needs.

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