If you run a business under an assumed name in Minnesota, you may want to set up a DBA. Short for “Doing Business As,” a DBA serves as an alternate title for your business. Often, a DBA is the name customers will use to refer to your company. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about DBAs: who needs one, who doesn’t, and three easy steps to filing with the state.
In Minnesota, the DBA is actually called an “Assumed Name.” Essentially, they’re the same concept. “Assumed Name” is just the terminology used by the state. For consistency, we’ll call it an Assumed Name throughout the rest of this guide.
NOTE: Keep in mind that filing a trade name will not give your business protection through the corporate veil like an LLC will. If this is something you want or need, don’t fret, there are many top rated LLC formation services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need a Minnesota Assumed Name?
Not all business entities in Minnesota need an Assumed Name. Ordinarily, a business needs an Assumed Name when the name of their business differs from the name registered with the state.
So let’s say that Lauren operates a sole proprietorship; her legal business formation documents list her full name as the legal owner of the business. But if she wants to run her shop under the name Sew Sweet Creations, she’d need to file an Assumed Name in order to use that name. An Assumed Name is also useful for corporations which want to establish additional businesses or locations with a name that’s different from the Corporation name.
Limited liability companies, nonprofit corporations, and corporations operating exclusively under the name on file with the state usually do not need an Assumed Name. They may choose to use one if they want to establish a new product line or chain of businesses under their original parent company.
A Minnesota Assumed Name does present a few advantages. While it doesn’t offer any specific legal protections or tax incentives, an Assumed Name allows you to get a business bank account. You can also give your customers peace of mind—most people are more comfortable writing a check to a business than an individual.
Minnesota requires that all entities file an assumed name if they intend to use one.
1) File Your Assumed Name with the Minnesota Secretary of State
In Minnesota, individuals and incorporated entities doing business under a name that is different from their legal name must register their assumed name. However, you can’t use just any name; your assumed name must be distinguishable from other names in use in the state.
To learn whether or not your assumed name is already in use, you should run a Business Name Search. Simply type in your desired name. If any exact matches pop up, you’ll need to make some changes to make sure your name is distinguishable.
If not, then you’re ready to register your assumed name with the Secretary of State. You can do so by filing a Certificate of Assumed Name. There is a $30 fee for this registration if you file by mail, or $50 if you want expediting or file online. You can file in-person, too (note that this would count as an expedited filing).
2) Declare Your Minnesota Assumed Name to the Public
In Minnesota, you must publicly declare your Assumed Name. You can do so by publishing a statement that you’re doing business under that name in a local newspaper. The newspaper must be printed in the same county where your registered office is located. You’ll need to print the name in two successive issues of the paper. After that, your assumed name will be considered active in the state.
3) Maintaining your Assumed Trade Name
Minnesota has several requirements for maintaining your name. The most important of these is an annual renewal. Filing this form ensures that you maintain your good standing with the state. So long as you file it on time, there is no filing fee. The annual renewal is required once your initial registration expires, which is ten years after filing the assumed name.
In addition to your annual renewal, you may need to file an amendment or cancellation of your assumed name. These forms will keep the state informed of any changes to your name. And if necessary, this filing allows another entity to use your name.
Need Help Filing your Assumed Name?
If this process sounds like a hassle, you can get help with setting up your business’s name with a service like Legalzoom. They make the process simple: you simply provide them with the necessary information about your company, and they’ll fill out the paperwork so you don’t have to. The process is both easy and affordable, letting you focus on running your business.
Your name is an important part of your business, but keeping compliant with state requirements can be tricky! We hope this guide made it quick and easy to set up your Minnesota Assumed Name.