How To Get A DBA In Texas 2022 – Everything You Need to Know
A DBA is also known as a fictitious name or an assumed name is not a business structure but rather the name you use to operate your business other than its legal name. A business legal name is a name that’s been registered with the county or state government.
The purpose of a DBA is to let the public know that a business entity is doing business under a different name, other than their legal name. There are no limits to the number of DBAs a business can use, as long as the assumed business name is legally registered.
However, getting a DBA differs from state to state since each state has a unique regulation. And we have to admit that it is not an easy process in any state. That said, we offer you a guide that gives enough information to help you get a DBA in Texas with a lot of ease.
Conduct a Texas Business Name Search
Getting a DBA in Texas should start from a name search to ensure you register a unique DBA name. Although multiple businesses can legally use the same assumed name, you probably want an original name that no one else is using. Choose a different name if the one you want is already in use to avoid trademark infringement and consumer confusion issues down the line.
To find an original business name in Texas you should run a trademark search to be sure that the name is not trademarked.
How to Choose the Right Name for Your DBA in Texas
It’s important to come up with a name that sets you apart from the competition. The name should be memorable, easy to market, and relate to the goods or services your business offers.
Most importantly, a Texas DBA name must comply with state assumed name laws and naming rules. For example, the name:
- Can’t imply government affiliation
- Can’t be grossly offensive
- Should not include restricted words.
- Can’t imply a business purpose it can’t legally fulfill
- Must be distinguishable from other entity names on file
The following restricted words or wording cannot be used as a DBA name unless you receive approval from the proper authority:
- Olympic, Olympiad, Citius Altius Fortius, or any words related to the Olympics. To use these words, it has to be approved by the United States Olympic Committee.
- Bank, Bank, and Trust, Trust, Trust Company unless approved by the Banking Commissioner.
- College, University, School of Medicine, Medical School, Health Science Center, School of Law, Law Center, and Law School. To use any of these words, it will have to be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
- Veteran, Legion, Foreign, Spanish, Disabled, War, and World War unless approved by the applicable veteran’s associations.
A Texas DBA name doesn’t have to be unique from any other DBA name registered at the county or state level. This will only be a concern when the name is trademarked. To find out what name is already in use, you can do a Texas business search here.
You also need to consider how your DBA name will work as a domain name for your company’s website. A quick domain name search allows you to see what’s available.
Register Your DBA
Filing a Texas DBA name is done with the Texas Secretary of State or County Clerk’s office and is valid for 10 years, after which time they can be renewed. Where you file your Assumed Name Certificate depends on the type of business you own.
The following entity types must file DBA certificate with the county clerk rather than the Texas Secretary of State:
- Sole proprietorship
- General partnerships
- Joint venture
- Real Estate Investment trust
The business entities that must sign with the Texas Secretary of State includes:
- Texas LLC ( limited liability company)
- LLP (Limited liability partnership)
- LP (Limited partnership)
- Foreign filing entities
- Professional associations
Filing the assumed name certificate form
Filing can be done electronically via the state’s online business services portal, SOSDirect. Once you sign in to your account, you will access the Assumed Name Certificate form. The form can be completed and submitted online or downloaded and submitted via email or Fax or submit a printed copy in-person. Whichever way, you will have to submit a $25 filing fee along with the form.
That said, here are the simple steps involved in registering a Texas DBA.
- The first step is to open the Assumed Name Certificate application once you access it.
- Enter the DBA name under which you plan to do business – use our guides above to choose the appropriate name.
- Enter the legal name of your entity.
- Select which type of entity you are filing – must be among the ones that can be filed with the secretary of state.
- Enter the file number from the Secretary of State if you have one (if not, you can skip this process).
- Enter the state, country, or jurisdiction where the entity was legally formed. It is not that your entity must just be formed in Texas for you to get a DBA name in Texas.
- Enter the entity’s principal office address.
- Select the period of duration for the use of the assumed name, up to 10 years.
- Enter the county or counties where you’ll do business under the assumed name.
- Print, sign, and date the application.
To mail the application, send it with a $25 check or money order to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
To fax the application, send it to 512-463-5709. Credit card information must be included if you’re filing by fax. Fill out form 807 to pay the $25 filing fee, plus a 2.7% convenience fee. American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover are all accepted.
To register the application in person, deliver it to the:
James Earl Rudder Office Building
Austin, TX 78701
Payment can be made in person using a personal check, money order, LegalEase debit card, or credit card.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships must register DBA names at the county level in Texas. Here is the Secretary of State’s county clerks list. You can use this to find more information about the county where you need to register an assumed name.
The filing fee for registering a DBA or Fictitious name in Texas varies from county to county but averages around $15 per DBA for sole proprietors and partnerships and $25 for Corporations and limited liability companies.
That said, registering a DBA is simple and affordable and is a great way for a business to expand into other brands, products or services, or divisions without having to create a new legal entity.
How Do I Manage Ongoing DBA Name Compliance in Texas?
In Texas, you decide the term of use for your DBA name when you register it with the Secretary of State. You can detail specific dates on your assumed name certificate application or accept the standard 10-year term. If you want to continue to use your DBA name, you must register it again by filling out a new Assumed Name Certificate and paying the $25 fee before the previous term expires.
The Secretary of State’s office doesn’t allow you to make any changes to your assumed name certificate after it has been filed, even if it’s to correct a mistake or change an address. If you need to change or cancel your DBA name application, you must complete an Abandonment of Assumed Name Certificate and file it for $10.
Then, you need to submit a new Assumed Name Certificate with a $25 fee. The process of application is similar to the one we outlined above.
How to File for a Harris County Assumed Name
Registering a DBA varies from county to county. That is why we have decided to narrow our guide to Harris. Harris County is located in Texas. It is a large county that includes all of the city of Houston and a number of other neighboring communities.
Registering a DBA name in Harris county begins with an assumed name search. You can search Harris’ assumed name database to find out if the name you want to use is available for naming.
Once this is completed, it’s time to move on to the paperwork. Harris county offers various forms to choose from depending on the members of your business. These include:
The forms can be filled and submitted online, or downloaded and sent via email, or simply walk into the county clerk’s office and complete the form in person. Via email, you can send it to:
Harris County Clerk
P.O. Box 1525
Houston, TX 77251-1525
Harris County has 10 locations in county clerk offices where you can walk in and complete the form with the deputy county clerk. Normal business hours are Monday thru Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Payment and Fees
The costs to file for your assumed name certificate are:
- $15.00 fee for the first owner, $.50 for each additional owner if your form is already notarized.
- $15.00 fee for the first owner, $.50 for each additional owner + $1 witnessing fee for each owner if your form has not been notarized.
For those who are planning to register a DBA name with the county clerk but are not in Harris, please research and find out how your county operates.
While getting a DBA is mandatory to a Texas business that wants to operate with a name other than its legal name, the process involved in getting it isn’t so easy. It involves some paperwork that you have to know how to go about before you venture into the process. Thankfully, we offer you a guide that will surely make the whole process easier. With our guide, filing for a DBA in Texas can now be a matter of minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make a change to your Texas DBA, you must complete the process of registering your DBA with the secretary of state again. However, the new DBA must be filed within 60 days of changes.
You only need a DBA name for your Texas business if you plan to operate your business with a name other than your legal name, an entity legal name, or a partner legal name. That said, DBA will allow you to operate multiple businesses which are great for business expansion.
It will take around 5-7 business days regular time to register a DBA in Texas. However, the state offers expedited filing at $25 per document that will reduce the waiting time to 1-2 business days. It is likely that the in-person application will be processed faster followed by online then email.
Registering a DBA in Texas doesn’t give you a right over the name. Though another person can’t use it within your jurisdiction, anyone else in another state or county can use it. To prevent another person from using the same name nationwide, you will have to trademark it.
The filing fee for registering an assumed name in Texas varies from county to county. But on average, it is around $15 per DBA for sole proprietors and partnerships and $25 for Corporations and LLCs.
Once you have filed your business as a corporation or an LLC, you have already registered it and therefore, don’t need a DBA. However, if you want to operate such businesses with a name other than your business legal name, you must get a DBA.
Go to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website. Enter the name or keywords you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. You will then get a list of all the business names bearing the keyword you have entered. If there are no search names, then you can use the name.
DBAs are just your business nicknames, and therefore, you can’t have a separate employer identification number (EIN) for a DBA. Not all businesses need an EIN. Whether you’re required to get one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) depends on how your business is organized and what kind of taxes it pays.
+ 11 sources
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- State.tx.us. (2021). DIRECT ACCESS SUBSCRIBER LOGIN. [online] Available at: https://direct.sos.state.tx.us/acct/acct-login.asp [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].
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- Date of Receipt (for office use). Payment Form. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/forms/payment.pdf [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].
- State.tx.us. (2021). County Clerks. [online] Available at: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/cclerks.shtml [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].
- Form 504-General Information (Abandonment of Assumed Name Certificate). (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/forms/504_boc.pdf [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].
- Trautman, D. (n.d.). OFFICE OF ASSUMED NAME RECORDS CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP FOR UNINCORPORATED BUSINESS OR PROFESSION. [online] Available at: https://www.cclerk.hctx.net/forms/D/D0207.pdf [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].
- Hctx.net. (2018). Harris County Clerk’s Office. [online] Available at: https://www.cclerk.hctx.net/ContactUs.aspx [Accessed 29 Oct. 2021].