How to Get a DBA Name in Alabama | A Step-By-Step Guide

Get a DBA Name in Alabama

Have you been wondering how to obtain a DBA in The Yellowhammer State for your Limited Liability Company? If you are, then you are on the right page. Doing Business As (DBA) names, also known as trade names, fictitious names, or assumed names, are an essential aspect of businesses in Alabama. A DBA name allows companies to operate under a name different from their legal business name. This name is important for branding, marketing, and legal purposes. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on Getting a DBA name in Alabama.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you understand how to get a DBA name in Alabama. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a DBA Name?

A DBA (Doing Business As) name in Alabama is a name under which a business operates that is different from its legal name. It is also known as a trading, fictitious, or assumed name. A DBA name allows companies to conduct Alabama Business and market themselves under a separate name from their legal business name. Registering a DBA name in Alabama provides businesses with branding, marketing, and legal benefits while also helping to prevent other businesses from using the same or a similar name within the state. The process of obtaining a DBA name in Alabama may vary depending on the type of business and the state’s specific regulations.

Example of a DBA

An example of a DBA (Doing Business As) can be illustrated through a fictional scenario involving a sole proprietor named John Smith. Let’s say John owns a bakery business and wants to operate it under a different name rather than using his own name.

Legal Business Name: John Smith (sole proprietor)

DBA Name: Sweet Treats Bakery

In this case, John would register “Sweet Treats Bakery” as his DBA name. By doing so, he can legally conduct his bakery business using the name “Sweet Treats Bakery” for branding, marketing, and legal purposes, instead of using his own name, John Smith. This allows John to establish a professional identity for his bakery and distinguish it from other businesses.

How to Get a DBA Name?

Starting a business in Alabama can be exciting and challenging. One crucial step in establishing your business’s identity is choosing and registering a Doing Business As (DBA) name. Here are the steps that you should take to obtain a DBA.

Step 1: Choose a Unique and Appropriate Name

The first step in registering a DBA name is selecting a unique and appropriate name for your business. Your chosen name should be easy to remember and represent your business’s products or services. 

Consider the following tips when choosing a DBA name:

  • Avoid using names too similar to existing businesses, as this may lead to confusion and potential legal issues.
  • Stay away from names that may be considered offensive or misleading.
  • Research Alabama naming requirements, as some have specific restrictions on what words and phrases can be included in a business name. 

Step 2: Conduct a Name Search

Once you have chosen a suitable name for your business, conducting Alabama Business Name Search is essential to ensure the name is not already used. In Alabama, they have an online business name database that you can search, usually found on the Alabama Secretary of State Business Entity Search. Sometimes, you may also need to check with your local county clerk’s office to ensure the name is not already used at the county level.

If your chosen name is already in use, select a different name and repeat the search until you find an available name.

Step 3: Register the DBA Name

After confirming that your chosen name is available, the next step is registering your DBA name with the appropriate state or county agency. The registration process varies by state, so it is crucial to research Alabama’s specific requirements.

In Alabama, you will need to complete a DBA registration form, which can often be found on Alabama Secretary of State website. Alabama may require additional documentation, such as proof of business ownership or a Business License.

When filling out the registration form, provide accurate and complete information. Any errors or omissions may lead to delays in processing or even the rejection of your application.

Step 4: Pay the Registration Fee

A fee is typically associated with registering a DBA name. In Alabama, there are three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing., which costs around $30. There is five years in filing for the initial DBA. Sometimes, there may be separate fees for Alabama DBA registrations. Be prepared to pay these fees when submitting your registration form.

Step 5: Publish a Notice of Your New DBA Name (If Required)

Alabama requires you to publish a notice of your new DBA name in a local newspaper. This step will inform the public of your intention to operate under a fictitious name. 

The notice must typically include your DBA name, legal business name, business address, and owner’s name. You may need to provide proof of publication to Alabama or the county agency responsible for DBA registrations.

Step 6: Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses

Depending on your Alabama business’s nature and location, you may need additional permits or licenses to operate under your DBA name.

The permits and licenses required for your business will depend on your business’s nature, location, and local and state regulations. Here are some common types of permits and licenses that might be required when operating under a DBA:

  • Business License: A general business license may be required in Alabama to operate your business legally. This license ensures your business meets local zoning, safety, and regulatory requirements. In Alabama, the costs of obtaining a business license range from $50 – $300.
  • Sales Tax Permit: If your business sells taxable goods or services, you may need a Sales Tax Permit from Alabama Department of Revenue.
  • Professional Licenses: Depending on your business type, you may need specific professional licenses or certifications. For example, if you are operating a restaurant, you may need a food handler’s permit; if you offer professional services such as accounting or legal services, you may need a professional license from Alabama state board. DBA filing requires professional licenses if you operate a General Partnership or provide a service. 
  • Health and Safety Permits: Businesses in certain industries, such as food service, may require health and safety permits to ensure compliance with state and local regulations.
  • Zoning Permits: Depending on your business location and the type of business you are operating, you may need a zoning permit from your local planning or zoning department.
  • Environmental Permits: If your business involves activities that could impact the environment, you may need permits from Alabama state or federal environmental agencies.

Step 7: Renew Your DBA Registration as Needed

In Alabama, you are required to renew your DBA registration periodically. This renewal process may involve completing a renewal form, paying a renewal fee, and sometimes republishing the notice of your DBA name. Stay up-to-date with your state’s renewal requirements to maintain your DBA name and avoid penalties.

Maintaining the DBA Name

Once your DBA name is registered and published (if required), it is essential to maintain it to remain in good standing with Alabama. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Renewal or Expiration: Depending on Alabama’s regulations, your DBA name registration may expire or need to be renewed periodically. Keep track of these deadlines to avoid losing your DBA name.
  • Updating Business Information: If your business undergoes significant changes (such as a change in ownership or address), you may need to update your DBA name registration with the appropriate agency.
  • Canceling or Discontinuing the DBA Name: If you decide to stop using your DBA name or close your business, notify the appropriate agency and follow any required procedures for canceling or discontinuing the name.

Is a DBA in Alabama the same as a Trade Name?

Yes, in Alabama, a DBA (Doing Business As) is the same as a trading name. Both terms refer to a name under which a business operates differently from its legal name. A DBA or trade name allows companies to conduct business and market themselves using a different name from their legal business name. Other terms for DBA or trade name include fictitious name and assumed name. Registering a DBA or trade name in Alabama may vary depending on the type of business and the state’s specific regulations.

Do I need to register my Alabama DBA in the Internal Revenue Service?

No, you do not need to register your DBA (Doing Business As) name in Alabama with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The registration of a DBA is typically done at the state or local level, depending on the specific regulations of Alabama. The IRS is not involved in the DBA registration process.

However, once your DBA is registered in Alabama, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS if your business has employees, operates as a corporation or partnership, or meets certain tax-filing requirements.

Do I need to file for a DBA if I already have Alabama Registered Business Name?

If you already have a registered business name in Alabama and you plan to conduct business using that exact name, you do not need to file for a DBA (Doing Business As). A DBA is required when a business wants to operate under a name different from its legal business name. 

However, you must file for a DBA if you have a registered business name and wish to conduct business under a different name. This applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations that intend to use a name other than their legally registered name.

FAQs

What is meant by a DBA?
“Doing Business As” (DBA) is a name under which a business operates or presents itself to the public that can be different from the legal name of the business owner.
Do I need a DBA to operate my business in Alabama?
No, registering for a DBA is not a legal requirement in Alabama, but may be required by some banks or other institutions.
How do I choose a DBA in Alabama?
Your chosen DBA name should not conflict with any existing or already registered business’s name in Alabama.
How do I make a DBA name official in Alabama?
Registering for a DBA in Alabama requires you to file a Certificate of Formation online or through the mail.
What is a Certificate of Formation in Alabama?
A Certificate of Formation is a document that legally forms and registers your business name and structure with the Alabama Secretary of State.
How much does it cost to file a DBA in Alabama?
The fee to register a DBA in Alabama is $33 for electronic filings.
Do I have to renew my DBA certificate in Alabama?
There are no renewal requirements for a DBA in Alabama, but you may need to renew your business license or certificate if required in your specific county.
How long does it take to process a DBA registration in Alabama?
Online DBA filing usually takes 1-2 days to process.
Can I change my DBA name after registration in Alabama?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Alabama, but you must file an Amendment of Certificate of Formation and pay the corresponding fee.
Can different businesses use the same DBA name in Alabama?
No, under Alabama law, a DBA should not be used by more than one business.
Do non-US citizens need to file a DBA in Alabama?
Yes, non-US citizens are still able to register for a DBA in Alabama.
Do I need to file for a separate DBA in Alabama if I already have a registered trademark?
Yes, a trademark validated only under federal law does not automatically provide complete authority to use said name as a business in a particular locale like Alabama. You need a DBA certification for that.
Can I file for a DBA name for my LLC in Alabama?
Yes, an LLC can also register for a DBA name in Alabama.
As an Alabama LLC, should I file as a Corporation or Limited Liability Company?
You need to file as an LLC in Alabama, which is independent of whether you want to file a DBA.
Do I need a business license for a DBA in Alabama?
Requirements differ depending on the local municipality and the type of business, but the majority require a business license separate from filing for a DBA.
When is a DBA name not an appropriate Legal Structure for my Alabama Business?
If you’re personally held liable for errors made in the course of normal business activity, you’ll be open to many financial risks with many regulatory managements, like separating business profits from personal income tax procedures.
Can Alabama non-profits also file for a DBA?
Yes, there could also be a situation where a non-profit can file for a DBA.
What is required to obtain Federal tax ID in Alabama?
Alabama does not require you to have another Federal tax ID if you already possess an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Can DBAs in Alabama file a separate IRS Tax return other than their personal tax?
This relies on the structure of the company in Alabama. Most DBA structures “pass-through” taxation requires the business proceeds be reported your state of submitted an agreement to dissent from it.
Is there a limit to the number of DBA names a person or a business can have in Alabama?
No, there is no such limit in Alabama, provided the DBA name is not already been registered by someone else.
Do I need to get a Tax Permit from Alabama for my DBA name?
Most business owners in Alabama must receive a tax license and/or wholesale license for their specific type of business established.
What criminal or civil actions are there for using another Alabama Company’s Business Name?
Unapproved uses can establish brand confusion. In addition, it violates corporate trademark legislation of Alabama and opens those persons up to both criminal and civil procedures.
Are DBAs in Alabama required to keep records and financial reports?
Yes, absolutely. Every DBA – be sure it’s shown as a sole proprietor, a partnership, or an LLC – is needed to form and carefully maintain all pertinent.
Can I withdraw or cancel a DBA in Alabama if I no longer wish to use the name?
Yes, you could withdraw both voluntarily or involuntarily respectively.
Can I use my personal name as my DBA name in Alabama?
Yes, you could establish your personal name as your DBA name in Alabama by filing a DBA registration.
Are international DBAs accepted in Alabama?
Yes, as stipulated earlier on, non-US citizens can also obtain a DBA registration in Alabama even if they are not inhabitants of the United States.
Do I need to reserve my DBA Name in Alabama or just go ahead and start using it?
Any person intending to file a DBA name must first ensure that the giving options are available for them. Any company looking to start using numerous alternate DBAs can register complete ‘Name Redundancy Detection & Prevention’ checkers that verify if their need matches one or several authorized Alabama entities.
Can I get a Federal Trademark for my DBA name?
Yes, you could license your DBA name for products and services. For phrases not satisfied with trademarks examiners then you have to register it privately.
Are DBA names in Alabama protected even from expert third-party opinion?
DBA names are granted legal protection under Alabama state lawst and SEC rules. Therefore, DBAs registered in Alabama is protected, remaining confidential and confidential among anyone other than the disseminated reasonable individual relative to the circumstances disclosed.
Can a DBA in Alabama own intellectual property?
Yes, a DBA in Alabama has full legal powers of a natural human to own intellectual properties. To confirm this, trademarks and discretionary copyrights should also identify the new name accepted by the Alabama DBA.

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Conclusion

Obtaining a DBA name in Alabama is crucial for many businesses, providing branding, marketing, and legal benefits. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can successfully register a DBA name in Alabama and enhance your business’s credibility and recognition in the market. Remember to stay up-to-date with Alabama’s rules and regulations surrounding DBA names, and maintain your registration to ensure your business remains compliant.

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