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

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How to Get a DBA Name in Michigan

If you want to use a different name other than the legal name for your business in Michigan, 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 Michigan LLC reach a wider audience.

Michigan, also known as The Great Lakes 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 Michigan.

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 Michigan

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 Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization 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 Michigan 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 Michigan under a name other than your personal name or an existing corporate name, you must file a DBA name with Michigan 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 Michigan

Want to obtain a DBA name in Michigan? 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 Michigan, ensuring that no other business is already using your chosen name is crucial. To confirm name availability in Michigan, search the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs database provided by the Michigan 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 Michigan, 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 Michigan 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 Michigan DBA Name

Once you have determined that the name is available for registration, complete the required forms provided by your county or the Michigan Secretary of State. You must register your DBA name in the county where you intend to conduct business. In most Michigan 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 Michigan DBA Name, you must apply to the Michigan Secretary of State or the appropriate county office. In Michigan, 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 Michigan is $25 for LLCs and $10 for LPs. 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, check the Michigan Corporations Online Filing. There, look for the “Assumed Names” section. You will get the registration form.
  • Offline: For filing offline, you must send the downloaded PDF form to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau, Corporations Division, P.O. Box 30054, Lansing, MI 48909 or drop it off in person at the 2501 Woodlake Circle, Okemos, MI

Step 5: Use the Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan and use it to enhance your business’s visibility and reach.

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DBA Name in Michigan: A Detailed Guide

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

Renewing a DBA Name in Michigan

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 Michigan DBA to ensure continued compliance with state regulations.

To renew your DBA name in Michigan, 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan Secretary of State or the county office. Keep this documentation for your records.

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Changing a DBA Name in Michigan

If you need to change your Trade Name (DBA or Fictitious Name), apply to the Michigan 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 Michigan, 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 Michigan Government Records Inquiry System or the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs database provided by the Michigan Secretary of State to confirm business name availability in Michigan.
  2. Complete the change application: Obtain the trade name change application from the Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 is a DBA name?
A DBA name is a “doing business as” name that a person or company can register with the state of Michigan to use instead of their legal name.
Why would I need a DBA name in Michigan?
You might need a DBA name in Michigan if you want your business to have a separate name than your legal name, or if you want to create a separate brand for a product or service you will offer.
How do I check if my proposed DBA name is available in Michigan?
You can check if your proposed DBA name is available in Michigan by searching the Department of Licensing and Regulatory.coors database.
Can two businesses have the same DBA name in Michigan?
No, two businesses cannot have the same DBA name in Michigan. You can only register a DBA name that is not already in use.
How do I register for a DBA name in Michigan?
You can register for a DBA name in Michigan by filing a form with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
How much does it cost to register a DBA name in Michigan?
The fee to register a DBA name in Michigan is $10.
How long is the DBA registration valid in Michigan?
The registration for a DBA in Michigan is valid for five years.
Do I have to renew my DBA registration in Michigan?
Yes, you do need to renew your DBA registration in Michigan every five years.
Can I change my DBA name in Michigan after registration?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Michigan after registration by filing an amendment form with LARA.
Can I transfer my DBA registration to another person or business in Michigan?
No, you cannot transfer your DBA registration to another person or business in Michigan.
Will registering a DBA name in Michigan protect my intellectual property?
No, registering a DBA name in Michigan will not protect your intellectual property. You will need to register a trademark or servicemark with Michigan to protect it.
Can I use a DBA name to open a business bank account in Michigan?
Yes, you can use a DBA name to open a business bank account in Michigan, but you will need to register the DBA name with LARA first.
Do I need to file a separate tax return for my DBA name in Michigan?
No, you do not need to file a separate tax return for your DBA name in Michigan. You will report the income on your personal or business tax return.
Do I need to register my DBA name in every city in Michigan where I will do business?
No, you do not need to register your DBA name in every city in Michigan where you will do business, only with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Can I register my DBA name online in Michigan?
Yes, you can register your DBA name online in Michigan through LARA’s website.
How long does it take to get approved for a DBA name in Michigan?
It takes about two weeks for your DBA name application to be processed and approved in Michigan.
Will my DBA name registration be publicly available in Michigan?
Yes, your DBA name registration will be publicly available in Michigan.
Do I need to renew my DBA name with the county clerk in Michigan?
No, you do not need to renew your DBA name with the county clerk in Michigan.
Can a corporation or LLC register for a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, a corporation or LLC can register for a DBA name in Michigan.
Can a sole proprietorship be operated under a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, a sole proprietorship can operate under a DBA name in Michigan.
Can a foreign company register for a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, a foreign company can register for a DBA name in Michigan.
Can I cancel my DBA registration in Michigan?
Yes, you can cancel your DBA registration in Michigan by filing a cancellation form with LARA.
Are there any specific requirements for wording or formatting of DBA names in Michigan?
There are no specific requirements for wording or formatting of DBA names in Michigan, but LARA may reject the name if it is considered misleading, deceptive, or too similar to another registered name.
Does registering a DBA name in Michigan create a legal entity?
No, registering a DBA name in Michigan does not create a legal entity.
What is the difference between a DBA name and a trade name in Michigan?
In Michigan, there is no difference between DBA name and trade name.
Can I register multiple DBA names in Michigan?
Yes, you can register multiple DBA names in Michigan.
Can I use a DBA name to file a lawsuit in Michigan?
Yes, you can use a DBA name to file a lawsuit in Michigan, but this will only be possible if you have used the name in the course of business.
What happens if I use a DBA name that is not registered in Michigan?
If you use a DBA name that is not registered in Michigan, you may be subject to legal action and fines.
How can I modify my DBA registration in Michigan?
You can modify your DBA registration in Michigan by filing an amendment form with LARA.
Do I need a DBA name to do business in Michigan?
If you are doing business under a name that is different from your legal name, you need to register a DBA name with the state of Michigan.
How do I know if I need a DBA name or not?
If you are conducting business under a name that is different from your legal name, you need to register a DBA name with the state.
How do I register a DBA name in Michigan?
You can register a DBA name in Michigan by submitting an application to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
What documents do I need to register a DBA name in Michigan?
You need to provide a completed application, a filing fee, and proof of ownership of the name.
Can I register a DBA name online in Michigan?
Yes, you can register a DBA name online on the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
How long does it take to register a DBA name in Michigan?
The registration process usually takes 7-14 business days.
Can I change my DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Michigan by filing a new DBA registration form.
What are the consequences of not registering a DBA name in Michigan?
If you fail to register a DBA name in Michigan, you may be subject to legal penalties and may not be able to conduct business under that name.
Can a corporation or LLC register a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, a corporation or LLC can register a DBA name in Michigan.
Can an individual register more than one DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, an individual can register more than one DBA name in Michigan.
Can an individual use their social security number when registering for a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, an individual can use their social security number when registering for a DBA name in Michigan.
Is there a deadline for registering a DBA name in Michigan?
There is no specific deadline for registering a DBA name in Michigan, but it is recommended to do so before starting to conduct business under that name.
Do I have to file for a separate tax ID number after registering a DBA name in Michigan?
If you are a sole proprietorship, you do not need a separate tax ID number. However, if you are a corporation or LLC, you need a separate tax ID number.
Can I register a DBA name for a nonprofit organization in Michigan?
Yes, a nonprofit organization can register a DBA name in Michigan.
Can I use someone else’s name for my DBA name in Michigan?
No, you cannot use someone else’s name for your DBA name in Michigan without their permission.
How often do I need to renew my DBA name registration in Michigan?
There is no specific renewal requirement for Michigan DBA name registrations.
Can I transfer my DBA name registration from another state to Michigan?
No, you cannot transfer your DBA name registration from another state to Michigan. You need to register a new DBA name in Michigan.
Can I register a DBA name in Michigan for a business located in another state?
No, you need to register a DBA name in the state where your business is physically located.
Can I trademark my DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, you can trademark your DBA name in Michigan if someone else hasn’t already done so.
Will my DBA name appear in a public database in Michigan?
Yes, your DBA name registration will be made public in Michigan.
Can I register an online business under a DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, you can register an online business under a DBA name in Michigan.
Is a DBA name registration the same as a trademark in Michigan?
No, a DBA name registration is different from a trademark registration. However, you can apply for a trademark for your DBA name in Michigan.
Can I use an acronym for my DBA name in Michigan?
Yes, you can use an acronym for your DBA name in Michigan as long as it is not already in use by someone else.
What happens if someone else is using my DBA name in Michigan?
You may need to take legal action to protect your DBA name against someone else’s infringement.
Do I need to notify anyone after registering for a DBA name in Michigan?
You need to notify your bank and set up new accounts with your DBA name, if needed.
Are there any restrictions on DBA names in Michigan?
Your DBA name cannot be the same as or similar to the name of any other registered business entity in Michigan.

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Conclusion

Navigating obtaining, renewing, or changing a DBA name in Michigan 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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