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

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
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Get a DBA Name in North Carolina

Have you ever wondered how to get a DBA for your Limited Liability Company? If you have, 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 North Carolina. A DBA name allows companies to operate under a name different from their legal business name since it is important for branding, marketing, and legal purposes. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to getting a DBA name in North Carolina.

Through thorough research and market study, Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you learn about the DBA name. It would be best to cross-check all the factors before obtaining one for your North Carolina business.

What is a DBA Name?

A DBA (Doing Business As) name in North Carolina 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 start a limited liability company in North Carolina, and market themselves under a separate name from their legal business name. Registering a DBA name in North Carolina, 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.

Example of a DBA

A DBA (Doing Business As) example 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 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 name, John Smith. This allows John to establish a professional identity for his bakery and distinguish it from other businesses.

If you start an LLC in North Carolina, registering a DBA name is important when it comes to remembering your business. However, it is best to consult with a legal professional before you begin registering your DBA name. This is to ensure that your business name is available in North Carolina.

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How to Get a DBA Name in North Carolina

Starting a business in North Carolina 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 to get a DBA in North Carolina.

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 in North Carolina:

  • 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 North Carolina naming requirements, as some have specific restrictions on what words and phrases can be included in a business name. 

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Step 2: Conduct a Name Search

Once you have chosen a suitable name for your business, conducting North Carolina Business Name Search is essential to ensure the name is not already used. In North Carolina, they have an online business name database that you can search, usually found on the North Carolina Secretary of State Business Registration 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. In North Carolina, you will need to complete a DBA registration form, which can often be found on North Carolina Secretary of State website. North Carolina may require additional documentation, such as proof of business ownership or a business license in North Carolina.

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 North Carolina, there are two methods, by mail and in person. The cost of filing a DBA is $26. Sometimes, there may be separate fees for North Carolina DBA registrations. Be prepared to pay these fees when submitting your registration form.

Step 5: Publish a Notice of Your New DBA Name

North Carolina 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 North Carolina or the county agency responsible for DBA registrations.

Step 6: Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses

Depending on your North Carolina 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 North Carolina to operate your business legally. This license ensures your business meets local zoning, safety, and regulatory requirements. In North Carolina, 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina state board. DBA filing requires professional licenses if you operate under a General Partnership in North Carolina
  • 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 North Carolina state or federal environmental agencies.

Step 7: Renew Your DBA Registration as Needed

In North Carolina, 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, it is essential to maintain it to remain in good standing with North Carolina. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Renewal or Expiration: Depending on North Carolina’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 North Carolina the same as a Trade Name?

Yes, in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina may vary depending on the type of business and the state’s specific regulations.

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

No, you do not need to register your DBA (Doing Business As) name in North Carolina 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 North Carolina. The IRS is not involved in the DBA registration process.

However, once your DBA is registered in North Carolina, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in North Carolina 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 North Carolina Registered Business Name?

If you already have a registered business name in North Carolina 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 a DBA name in North Carolina?
A DBA (doing business as) name in North Carolina is a name under which a sole proprietor or partnership conducts business.
Who can file for a DBA name in North Carolina?
Any individual who is conducting business in the state of North Carolina under a name other than their legal name can file for a DBA name.
Is a DBA name required in North Carolina?
It is not required by law to file for a DBA in North Carolina, but it is encouraged if an individual is running a business other than their legal name.
How do I apply for a DBA name in North Carolina?
You can apply for a DBA name in North Carolina by submitting the application to the North Carolina Secretary of State along with the application fee.
How much does it cost to file for a DBA name in North Carolina?
It costs $26 to file for a DBA name in North Carolina.
How long does it take to process a DBA filing in North Carolina?
The processing time for a DBA filing in North Carolina is usually only a few days.
How long is a DBA name valid in North Carolina?
A DBA name is valid for five years in North Carolina.
Can I renew my DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can renew your DBA name in North Carolina, and the renewal fee is $10.
What do I need to include in a DBA filing in North Carolina?
You’ll need to include the name of your business, your personal information, and the county you’ll be conducting business in on the DBA filing in North Carolina.
Can I use my DBA name in the entire state of North Carolina?
Yes, you can use your DBA name throughout the entire state of North Carolina once it’s been approved.
Can I use a DBA name if I’m a corporation in North Carolina?
No, corporations are not allowed to use a DBA name in North Carolina, and a new corporation must be created to conduct business under another name.
Can I change my DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in North Carolina by filing for a new DBA name and paying the appropriate fee.
What happens if I operate without a DBA name in North Carolina?
It’s not illegal to operate without a DBA name in North Carolina, but it can limit your ability to conduct business, advertise, and hold bank accounts.
Do I need to publish my DBA name in a newspaper in North Carolina?
No, North Carolina doesn’t require the publication of a DBA name in a newspaper.
Can I trademark my DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can trademark your DBA name in North Carolina but it’s not necessary.
Can I waive liability by using a DBA name in North Carolina?
No, using a DBA name in North Carolina does not waive liability, and you should still carry appropriate insurance coverage.
Can I use another state’s DBA name in North Carolina?
You can use another state’s DBA name in North Carolina, but you still need to complete the North Carolina DBA filing process.
Can I use a DBA name for a non-profit organization in North Carolina?
Yes, a non-profit organization can use a DBA name in North Carolina, provided that they complete the appropriate DBA filing process.
Can I have multiple DBA names in North Carolina?
Yes, you can have multiple DBA names in North Carolina if you complete the appropriate filing process.
Can I operate multiple businesses under one DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can operate multiple businesses under one DBA name in North Carolina if they are related to the same service or product.
Can I sell my DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can sell your DBA name in North Carolina, but the sale must follow the appropriate business sale procedures.
Can I franchise my business using a DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can franchise your business using a DBA name in North Carolina if the DBA name you’re using is a registered trademark.
Do I need a separate tax ID for my DBA name in North Carolina?
No, you can use your existing tax ID for your DBA name in North Carolina.
Do I need a business license for my DBA name in North Carolina?
While there isn’t a statewide requirement for a business license in North Carolina, certain localities may require one. Check with your local government officials to find out what regulations apply to your business.
Can I file for a DBA name online in North Carolina?
Yes, you can file for a DBA name online in North Carolina by going to the Secretary of State’s website.
Can I cancel my DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, you can cancel your DBA name in North Carolina if you no longer need or use it.
Can I use someone else’s DBA name in North Carolina?
No, using someone else’s DBA name in North Carolina is illegal and could result in legal action against you.
Can I make changes to my DBA filing in North Carolina?
Yes, you can make changes to your DBA filing in North Carolina if you need to file a DBA amendment.
What happens if my DBA name is rejected in North Carolina?
If your DBA name is rejected in North Carolina, it’s usually due to one of two reasons
Do I need to register a DBA in North Carolina?
Yes, if you want to do business under a name other than your legal name in North Carolina, you need to register a DBA.
Do I need an attorney to register a DBA in North Carolina?
No, you do not need an attorney to register a DBA in North Carolina.
How do I register a DBA in North Carolina?
To register a DBA in North Carolina, you will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Can I register a DBA name online in North Carolina?
No, you need to file a hard copy of the Certificate of Assumed Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
What information do I need to provide to register a DBA in North Carolina?
You will need to provide the name you want to register, as well as your name and address.
How much does it cost to register a DBA in North Carolina?
It costs $26 to file a Certificate of Assumed Name in North Carolina.
How long does it take to register a DBA in North Carolina?
It typically takes 3-5 business days to process a Certificate of Assumed Name in North Carolina.
Can I have multiple DBAs in North Carolina?
Yes, you can have multiple DBAs in North Carolina.
Do I have to renew my DBA registration in North Carolina?
No, there is no renewal requirement for DBA registrations in North Carolina.
Can a corporation have a DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, a corporation can have a DBA name in North Carolina.
Can a partnership have a DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, a partnership can have a DBA name in North Carolina.
Can an LLC have a DBA name in North Carolina?
Yes, an LLC can have a DBA name in North Carolina.
Do I need to have a registered agent to register a DBA in North Carolina?
No, you do not need to have a registered agent to register a DBA in North Carolina.
Can I use a DBA name for my non-profit organization in North Carolina?
Yes, you can use a DBA name for your non-profit organization in North Carolina.
Do I need to provide a statement of purpose when registering a DBA in North Carolina?
No, you do not need to provide a statement of purpose when registering a DBA in North Carolina.
How do I know if my DBA name is available in North Carolina?
You can perform a search of existing North Carolina business names on the North Carolina Secretary of State website to determine if your DBA name is available.
How long can a North Carolina DBA name be?
There is no specific limit on the length of a DBA name in North Carolina.
Can I include “Inc” or “LLC” in my DBA name in North Carolina?
No, you cannot include “Inc” or “LLC” in your DBA name in North Carolina, as this would create confusion with registered corporate names.
What is the difference between a C-Corp and an S-Corp in North Carolina?
There is no difference between a C-Corp and an S-Corp in North Carolina in terms of DBA registration.
Can I reserve a DBA name in North Carolina?
No, North Carolina does not provide for name reservations for DBAs.
Can I use my DBA name to open a bank account in North Carolina?
Yes, you can use your DBA name to open a bank account in North Carolina.
Do I need a separate tax ID number for my DBA in North Carolina?
No, you do not need a separate tax ID number for your DBA in North Carolina.
Do I need to publish notice of my DBA registration in North Carolina?
No, there is no publication requirement for DBA registrations in North Carolina.
Can I use my DBA name in advertising in North Carolina?
Yes, you can use your DBA name in advertising in North Carolina.
Can I sell my North Carolina DBA name?
Yes, you can sell your North Carolina DBA name, but you will need to update the registration with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Can I transfer my North Carolina DBA name?
Yes, you can transfer your North Carolina DBA name by filing a Certificate of Assumed Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Can I file a DBA registration by mail in North Carolina?
Yes, you can file a DBA registration by mail in North Carolina.

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Conclusion

Getting a DBA name in North Carolina 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 North Carolina and enhance your business’s credibility and recognition in the market. Remember to stay up-to-date with North Carolina’s rules and regulations surrounding DBA names, and maintain your registration to ensure your business remains compliant.

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