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

Get a DBA Name in Tennessee

Have you been wondering how to obtain a DBA in The Volunteer 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 Tennessee. 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 Tennessee.

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

What is a DBA Name?

A DBA (Doing Business As) name in Tennessee 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 Tennessee Business and market themselves under a separate name from their legal business name. Registering a DBA name in Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee Business Name Search is essential to ensure the name is not already used. In Tennessee, they have an online business name database that you can search, usually found on the Tennessee Secretary of State Business Information 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 Tennessee’s specific requirements.

In Tennessee, you will need to complete a DBA registration form, which can often be found on Tennessee Secretary of State website. Tennessee 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 Tennessee, there are two methods, by mail and in person., which costs around Varies by county. There is five years in filing for the initial DBA. Sometimes, there may be separate fees for Tennessee 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)

Tennessee 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 Tennessee or the county agency responsible for DBA registrations.

Step 6: Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses

Depending on your Tennessee 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 Tennessee to operate your business legally. This license ensures your business meets local zoning, safety, and regulatory requirements. In Tennessee, 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee state or federal environmental agencies.

Step 7: Renew Your DBA Registration as Needed

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

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

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

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

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

However, once your DBA is registered in Tennessee, 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 Tennessee Registered Business Name?

If you already have a registered business name in Tennessee 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 Tennessee?
A DBA name in Tennessee is a “doing business as” name that allows a business to operate under a name that is different from its legal name.
How do I obtain a DBA name in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, you can obtain a DBA name by registering with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
What are the benefits of having a DBA name in Tennessee?
The benefits of having a DBA name in Tennessee include the ability to use a name that is different from the legal name of the business and the ability to conduct business under that name.
Can I use my personal name as my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, Tennessee allows individuals to use their personal name as their DBA name.
Can I use a fictitious name as my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, Tennessee allows businesses to use a fictitious name as its DBA name.
Do I need to register my DBA name with the state of Tennessee?
Yes, in Tennessee, you need to register your DBA name with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
How do I register my DBA name with the state of Tennessee?
To register your DBA name with the state of Tennessee, you need to file an Application for Registration of Fictitious Name with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
Is there a fee to register my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, in Tennessee, there is a fee to register your DBA name.
How often do I need to renew my DBA name registration in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, you need to renew your DBA name registration every five years.
Can I use my DBA name in other states besides Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your Tennessee DBA name in other states, but you may need to register it with each state’s respective agency.
Can two businesses use the same DBA name in Tennessee?
No, in Tennessee, two businesses cannot use the same DBA name.
Can I change my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Tennessee by filing an Amendment to Application for Registration of Fictitious Name with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
How long does it take to process my DBA name registration in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, it can take up to 10 business days to process your DBA name registration.
Can I use my DBA name as a trademark in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your DBA name as a trademark in Tennessee.
Do I need to file for a trademark if I have a DBA name in Tennessee?
No, you are not required to file for a trademark if you have a DBA name in Tennessee.
What happens if I don’t register my DBA name in Tennessee?
If you don’t register your DBA name in Tennessee, you may not be able to conduct business under that name.
Can I register my DBA name online in Tennessee?
Yes, you can register your DBA name online in Tennessee through the Tennessee Secretary of State website.
Can I register multiple DBA names for my business in Tennessee?
Yes, you can register multiple DBA names for your business in Tennessee.
Can I register a DBA name for my nonprofit organization in Tennessee?
Yes, you can register a DBA name for your nonprofit organization in Tennessee.
Can I use a DBA name for a sole proprietorship in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use a DBA name for a sole proprietorship in Tennessee.
Can I reserve a DBA name in Tennessee before registering it?
No, in Tennessee, you cannot reserve a DBA name before registering it.
Does registering a DBA name in Tennessee give me the legal right to use it?
No, registering a DBA name in Tennessee does not give you the legal right to use it. You must comply with any applicable state and federal laws.
Can I use my DBA name on my business cards in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your DBA name on your business cards in Tennessee.
Can I use my DBA name on my website in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your DBA name on your website in Tennessee.
Can I use my DBA name on my social media pages in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your DBA name on your social media pages in Tennessee.
Can I do business under my legal name instead of my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, you can do business under your legal name instead of your DBA name in Tennessee.
Are there any restrictions on what I can use as my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, there are restrictions on what you can use as your DBA name in Tennessee. The name must be available and cannot be misleading or deceptive.
What is the penalty for not renewing my DBA name registration in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, if you do not renew your DBA name registration, your registration will expire, and you will need to re-register your DBA name.
Can I transfer my DBA name registration to someone else in Tennessee?
No, you cannot transfer your DBA name registration to someone else in Tennessee.
Do I need to register my business operating under a DBA in Tennessee?
Yes, you need to register your DBA name in Tennessee with the Secretary of State’s office.
Can I register a DBA name for a nonprofit organization in Tennessee?
Yes, you can register a DBA name for a nonprofit organization in Tennessee.
What is the fee for registering a DBA name in Tennessee?
The fee for registering a DBA name in Tennessee varies depending on the county where the business is located, but it usually costs $20-$50.
How long will it take to register a DBA name in Tennessee?
It can take anywhere from a few business days to a few weeks to register a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can I operate multiple businesses under one DBA name in Tennessee?
No, you need to register a separate DBA name for each business you operate in Tennessee.
Can I use my personal name as a DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, you can use your personal name as a DBA name in Tennessee.
How long is a DBA name valid in Tennessee?
A DBA name is valid for five years in Tennessee.
What happens if I don’t renew my DBA name in Tennessee?
If you don’t renew your DBA name in Tennessee before it expires, it could be available for others to use.
Can I transfer my DBA name to another person in Tennessee?
Yes, you can transfer your DBA name to another person in Tennessee.
Do I need to publish a notice of my DBA name registration in Tennessee?
It depends on the county where the business is located. Some counties in Tennessee require a notice to be published in a local newspaper.
Can I register a DBA name online in Tennessee?
Yes, you can register a DBA name online in Tennessee through the Secretary of State’s website.
Do I need to have a business license to register a DBA name in Tennessee?
No, you don’t need to have a business license to register a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can I use a DBA name in Tennessee if the name is already in use by another business?
No, you cannot use a DBA name in Tennessee if it’s already in use by another business.
Can a DBA name be used for trademark purposes in Tennessee?
No, a DBA name cannot be used for trademark purposes in Tennessee.
Can I register a DBA name in Tennessee if I don’t have a physical address for my business?
No, you need to have a physical address for your business to register a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can I register a DBA name in Tennessee if I have a registered agent?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in Tennessee if you have a registered agent.
Can I reserve a DBA name in Tennessee before I’m ready to register it?
No, there is no provision for reserving a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can a foreign business register a DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, a foreign business can register a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can a partnership use a DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, a partnership can use a DBA name in Tennessee.
Do I need to have an LLC or corporation to register a DBA name in Tennessee?
No, you don’t need to have an LLC or corporation to register a DBA name in Tennessee.
Can I register a DBA name in Tennessee if I’m a sole proprietor?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in Tennessee if you’re a sole proprietor.
Can I apply for a DBA name registration in person in Tennessee?
Yes, you can apply for a DBA name registration in person in Tennessee by visiting the Secretary of State’s office.
Are there any restrictions on the words I can use in my DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, there are restrictions on the words you can use in your DBA name in Tennessee.
Can a DBA name in Tennessee be registered by more than one person?
No, a DBA name in Tennessee can only be registered by one person or entity.
What do I do if there’s an error on my DBA name registration in Tennessee?
You should contact the Secretary of State’s office to correct any errors on your DBA name registration in Tennessee.
Do I need to file a tax return for my business operating under a DBA name in Tennessee?
Yes, you need to file a tax return for your business operating under a DBA name in Tennessee.

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Conclusion

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

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