How to Get a DBA for an LLC in Wisconsin: No-Nonsense Guide 2022

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Fact check by Jazmin Castello

If you have a business entity that would like to operate in Wisconsin under an assumed name, then there is the need to get a DBA name. Some would wonder, what is a DBA name all about?

That is what we will be looking at in this guide so that you know what DBA in Wisconsin entails and how to get a DBA in Wisconsin. Once you have all the important information on DBAs, it becomes easier to start your business in Wisconsin. 

What is a DBA in Wisconsin? 

DBA simply means “doing business as” name. In this case, you will be registering the business entity to do business under a different name. Such a name is best left for a limited liability company or sole proprietorship to help in adapting to the new market. 

An example of a DBA would be when a company such as “Smith Furniture Palace LLC” wants to do a business in another state using the name “Furniture Bargains”, then it will have to file for a DBA in Wisconsin for consideration. 

Do not confuse the filing for a DBA with starting a new company in Wisconsin. You should also know that Wisconsin does not give exclusivity to the DBA name. Another business may use it if the usage time has expired and you did not bother to renew. 

As much as filing for a DBA can be good for business, it may inconvenience some along the way. If you feel that is the case, you are advised to consider forming a separate LLC rather than filing for a new DBA. Well, forming a new general partnership, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability companies would definitely have more steps to go through. 

Who Should Register for a DBA

There will be several reasons for considering a DBA. Here are the business entities that should consider using a DBA whenever necessary;

  • Partnerships and sole proprietorship 

Such entities will now choose a DBA name that helps them sound even more professional rather than sticking to their name. The good thing is that you can open a bank account using the DBA name. Such would allow you to continue separating the business assets from personal assets. 

Take note that a good number of customers might be more willing to write checks in the business name rather than using a personal name. So, it makes sense to have such a DBA name even for sole proprietorships. 

  • LLCs and corporations 

A business entity that is an LLC or corporation might decide to use the DBA name because it helps them to differentiate different product lines they might have available. In case a company sells satellite dishes, the DBA name helps in separating the various products that might be under the same umbrella. 

Restaurants love this idea. There are some that would call one of its restaurants as a fast food joint, then another location would be named along the lines of fine dining. So, there will always be variations from time to time depending on the parent company. 

So far you should see that a DBA may not be so much about the business’s legal requirement, but rather for an image. You would now strategically name the business just like you ever wanted. 

Steps for Filing a DBA in Wisconsin 

Now that you understand what a DBA is and how it can be used, it is time to move to how to file for a DBA in Wisconsin. Here are the important steps to follow. 

  1. Start by verifying the business name you want to use as DBA is available. Sometimes another business entity might have used it already. Use the business database[1] to search the preferred name first. 
  2. If the name is available, the next thing to do is to fill out the application form with your business structure in mind. The things you need to indicate about the company are the legal business names, contact information, the desired DBA name, if it is an out-of-state business, registered agent, and more. Simply follow the instructions to fill it correctly. 
  3. Before you can submit the form, you need to notarize it first. In case you want to renew an existing DBA, make sure that the notarized form is also sent as part of the process. 
  4. Submitting the form is what follows next. Here, you can submit to the secretary of state via several methods. Well, most of the time it will be processed by a county clerk. The options for submitting the forms include online[2], via mail, or simply walk-in into the offices and deliver in person. 

Should You Hire a DBA Filing Service?

Maybe for some reason, you are too busy to handle the filing process yourself. Not to worry since you can always find professional DBA filing services from different companies. Such a company would assemble all the necessary paperwork needed for the approval of the DBA name. So, even if you are easily available, someone else will take care of the process leaving you with time to run your business. 

Most people use these services because they do not have much time. However, Wisconsin has made it easier for you to file as a sole proprietor or any other business with ease as their form for DBA registration is simple and straightforward. So, you can be sure that the process is smooth overall. 

Wisconsin DBA Lifespan

Do not be surprised. Yes, even the DBA will expire in Wisconsin and someone else would be able to pick up the name. The DBA name will have a lifespan of up to 10 years from the date when it is filed. So, take note of this and ensure you take care of the renewal when the time comes for your business entity. 

If you do not renew the business name, then another business entity might consider it. So, how many DBAs do you have expiring soon in Wisconsin? Pick the renewal forms as soon as possible. 

Conclusion

Any business entity can consider getting a DBA business name and use it appropriately to market themselves better in certain states. The name does not just apply to small businesses, but also the established ones too. It does not matter whether you are a general partnership, limited partnership, or another business entity, DBA is available for you to try it out. 

Furthermore, DBA filing is an affordable service. This is even when you choose to use those who offer DBA professional filing services. Such affordability is why more people use it. So, it might be your turn to try it out. Go ahead and do so. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a registered agent necessary for DBA?

Having a registered agent is not mandatory for general partnerships or sole proprietorships that need DBA names. However, LLCs and corporations need to have a registered agent.

Will DBA filing require an employer identification number?

No. The EIN is primarily meant for tax identification purposes for a separate business entity. The DBA in this case is not a separate entity from the parent company.

Is it possible to change the DBA name?

Yes. You could change the DBA name anytime you want. However, you still have to go through the same process of filing a new DBA name. Changing the contact information can be done separately though.

Are you required to publish a DBA name in Wisconsin?

No. Unlike other states, it is not a must for you to publish the registered DBA name. Once the name is approved, you can start using it right away. 

What is not allowed in DBA names?

You cannot register DBA names by using words that are related to banks or insurance unless your business is fully licensed to provide such services.


+ 2 sources

  1. www.wdfi.org. (n.d.). WI Corporate Records Search. [online] Available at: https://www.wdfi.org/apps/CorpSearch/Search.aspx [Accessed 14 Nov. 2021].
  2. Wdfi.org. (2019). Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. [online] Available at: http://wdfi.org/ [Accessed 24 Dec. 2019].

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