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

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

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 Ohio. 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 Ohio.

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 Ohio business.

What is a DBA Name?

A DBA (Doing Business As) name in Ohio 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 Ohio, and market themselves under a separate name from their legal business name. Registering a DBA name in Ohio, 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 Ohio, 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 Ohio.

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How to Get a DBA Name in Ohio

Starting a business in Ohio 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 Ohio.

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 Ohio:

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

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 Ohio, there are two methods, by mail and in person. The cost of filing a DBA varies by county. However, renewing your DBA every five years would be best. Sometimes, there may be separate fees for Ohio DBA registrations. Be prepared to pay these fees when submitting your registration form.

Step 5: Publish a Notice of Your New DBA Name

Ohio 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 Ohio or the county agency responsible for DBA registrations.

Step 6: Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses

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

Step 7: Renew Your DBA Registration as Needed

In Ohio, 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 Ohio. Here are some important aspects to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

If you already have a registered business name in Ohio 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 does DBA mean?
DBA stands for “doing business as.”
Do I need a DBA name in Ohio?
If you’re using a name for business purposes that’s different from the name on your government paperwork, you’ll want to get a DBA in Ohio.
How do I know if my business needs a DBA in Ohio?
If you’re operating a sole proprietorship or partnership and are using something other than your given name, you’ll need a DBA in Ohio.
How much does it cost to obtain a DBA in Ohio?
Costs may vary, but typically Ohio DBA fees range from $50 to $100.
How do I register my DBA name in Ohio?
To register your DBA name in Ohio, you should fill out a registration form and file it with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Can two businesses have the same DBA name in Ohio?
No. Two businesses can’t have the same DBA name in Ohio.
What should I do if someone else is using my DBA name in Ohio?
You’ll want to contact an Ohio attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the business that is using your DBA name.
Does my Ohio DBA expire?
Your Ohio DBA name doesn’t expire but the business possibly can cease to exist.
Can I change my DBA name in Ohio?
Yes, you can. To change your DBA name in Ohio, you will need to file a new registration form with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Do I need to renew my Ohio DBA name?
No, you don’t have to. As long as you continue running your business, your Ohio DBA name will be valid.
Can I use my DBA name in other states outside Ohio?
Yes, you can. But you’ll need to register your DBA name in each state you plan to do business in.
How long does it take to get a DBA in Ohio?
It may take a week or two.
Can I cancel my Ohio DBA registration?
Yes, you can, and it can be done by completing a request form.
When using a DBA, do I need to file a separate state tax return for Ohio?
No you won’t. It should be included on your normal tax return.
Can foreign businesses get an Ohio DBA name?
Yes, foreign businesses can apply for a DBA name in Ohio.
Can I open a bank account using my Ohio DBA name?
Yes, you can by obtaining your Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued by the IRS.
Is there a difference between a trade name and a DBA in Ohio?
No but referred to as ‘Trade Name Registration’ instead of DBA as per the Ohio laws and regulations.
Can a business have multiple DBA names in Ohio?
Yes, however, you need to registered for each trade name.
Can I use a personal DBA name in Ohio?
No. You can only have a trade name for the business that you own.
Can a DBA name be used for federal trademark registration in Ohio?
No, only longer terms that function like trademark can be registered for an Ohio trademark.
What happens if I don’t register my DBA name in Ohio?
You may be prohibited from opening a business bank account under your DBA name.
Who can file a DBA name in Ohio?
Any sole proprietor, partnership, limited partnership that are engaging in business under a name that differs from their given name is eligible to register for a “Trade Name Registration” in Ohio.
When should I register for a DBA name in Ohio?
As soon as you start using a name other than your own.
Can out of town entity register for an Ohio DBA name?
Yes, they can, however, they have to register through online Portal One Stop.
How do I know if the Ohio DBA name is available?
Checking with the name availability search through the Ohio Secretary of State.
Can I register for more than one DBA name with one Ohio application?
No. A separate “Trade Name Registration application” should be filed and paid for each separate trade name that you wish to use in business.
What information is needed for my Ohio DBA registration application?
Your name and address, business name(including your DBA name), proof of your right to do business, date you started using the name for business, the name and signature of any individuals authorized to sign (Ohio Secretary of State forms provided for this purpose).
Do Ohio DBA’s offer legal ownership of Business Name?
No. Registering an Ohio DBA name offers no real or official legal ownership of business name.
Who should I contact for legal assistance to get an Ohio DBA name?
Ohio free legal aids, online services, or any private attorney dealing with business and finance.
What is a DBA name in Ohio?
DBA stands for “doing business as,” which means that a business will operate under a fictitious name rather than the owner’s legal name.
What is the process for registering a DBA name in Ohio?
To register a DBA in Ohio, file a registration form with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
What name can I use for my Ohio DBA?
Your Ohio DBA name must be unique and cannot already be in use by another registered business in Ohio.
Do I need to form a separate legal entity to file for a DBA in Ohio?
No. You do not need to form or register a separate legal entity to use a DBA in Ohio.
What are the fees to register a DBA in Ohio?
The current registration fee in Ohio is $39.
How long will it take to register a DBA in Ohio?
It could take up to 10 days to register your DBA in Ohio.
Can I change my Ohio DBA name after it has been registered?
Yes, you will need to file a “change of name” form with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and pay another $39 filing fee.
Can I trademark my Ohio DBA name?
Yes. Applying for a trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a separate process.
Do I need to have a specific business structure to file for an Ohio DBA?
No, any individual who wants to do business under a fictitious name can file a DBA in Ohio.
Do I have to register a DBA in Ohio if I am a sole proprietorship working under my own name?
No. If you are a sole proprietor doing business under your own legal name, you do not have to register a DBA in Ohio.
Can I use an Ohio DBA name if my business is located in another state?
Yes. Ohio rules apply if your business primarily operates in Ohio, but if you just use the DBA to market to Ohio customers and do not actually operate primarily in the state, a DBA registration is not necessary.
Do I need a lawyer to register for an Ohio DBA name?
No. You can register for a DBA name in Ohio on your own, without the assistance of a lawyer.
What happens if someone else is using a similar DBA name in Ohio?
The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office does not check for similar or conflicting DBA names. You should conduct your own search of registered business names in Ohio and others states to ensure your name will not be confused with another registered on any level.
How long does an Ohio DBA registration last?
The Ohio DBA registration is only valid for five years.
Do I have to renew my Ohio DBA registration every year?
No, you must renew your Ohio DBA registration every five years.
Can a corporation file for a DBA in Ohio?
Yes, a corporation or LLC operating under a different name may file for a DBA in Ohio.
Is filling for a fictitious name with Ohio a requirement?
There is no legal requirement to register for a fictitious name, but necessary to conduct business under a name that’s different from the owner’s legal name.
Do I have to publish my new Ohio DBA name?
No, Ohio law neither requires nor prohibits actual notice of an entity’s applied for or entered DBA name.
How do I terminate my Ohio DBA registration?
To terminate your Ohio DBA registration, you have to file a cancellation certificate.
Will filing a DBA protect me from personal liability?
No. Filing a DBA in Ohio doesn’t separate the business from its owner and does not prevent the owner from being personally liable for business debts and obligations.
Who can I contact if I have questions about filing an Ohio DBA name?
If you have questions about registering your D.B.A. by mail or if you’re unable to register online or through a filing assistance service, the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office can help you clear your doubts.
Is an Ohio DBA name a business license?
No, an Ohio DBA name is not a business license. A DBA name only identifies a business operating under a certain name.
Do I need to get a new Ohio DBA name after moving my business to a new state?
Yes. If your Ohio DBA name is not available in your new state, you have to file for a new DBA name in your new state.
What happens if I forget to renew my Ohio DBA registration by its expiration date?
If you fail to renew your Ohio DBA registration, the DBA name won’t be cancelled but marked invalid after five (5) years if it is not updated with a renewal.
Can I register for an Ohio DBA name for free?
No, you cannot register for an Ohio DBA name free of charge due to required processing fees.
Should I register my DBA name with the Ohio Secretary of State or with the county clerk’s office?
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office – Businesses Services Division is the only office licensed to accept submissions for Ohio DBA name registration.
Can I still use my personal name for my business instead of a DBA name in Ohio?
Yes. Many small businesses should prefer doing business under the actual name of the owner. A DBA name can be ditched if you want your true name to work singlehanded or coupled with associated logos or imagery.
Can having a DBA name protect me from infringement claims in Ohio?
No, registration alone with Ohio State doesn’t allow the individual using the DBA to sue another party for trademark infringement.
Can two Ohio businesses have the same DBA name?
No, Ohio prohibits the use of same name by any two (or more) DBAs, Corporations, Non-Profits, Limited Partnerships, or LLCs registered with the Secretary of State.

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Conclusion

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

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