If you run a business under an assumed name in Nevada, 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 two easy steps to filing with the state.
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 good LLC services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need a Nevada DBA?
Not all business entities in Nevada need a DBA. Ordinarily, a business needs a DBA 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 a DBA in order to use that name. A DBA 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 a DBA. 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 Nevada DBA does present a few advantages. While it doesn’t offer any specific legal protections or tax incentives, a DBA 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.
Filing for a DBA in Nevada is different from many states. Instead of filing on the state level, you’ll file locally.
1) File Your DBA with Your Local County Clerk
If you’re ready to set up a DBA, you can file with your county clerk. Requirements and fees for your DBA vary based on your county, so it’s important to contact your local office to learn what aspects of a DBA are unique to your area.
Generally, though, you need to ensure that your DBA is different from other names in the state. You’ll need to do your research for this; you’ll want to check the registered names of incorporated entities at the Secretary of State. Then you’ll also need to check the DBAs throughout the state.
Most counties offer a DBA database that you can search. Washoe County, for example, offers a DBA Name Search. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State does not maintain a comprehensive database of DBAs, so the resource provided by each county is your best bet. You can also make use of tools like Google and your local yellow pages to see if any businesses are using your desired name. These aren’t comprehensive searches by any means, but they can be helpful.
Once you’ve determined that your name is available, you can file your DBA with your local clerk. You’ll want to contact your clerk for the forms you’ll need, as they’ll vary based on where you live. Washoe County, for example, provides different forms based on entity type.
Fees also vary. Usually, you can pay by check, cash, or credit card. Since you’ll be filing locally, it may be easiest to drop of your forms in person. That said, many counties offer online or mail-in filing options.
2) Maintaining your Nevada DBA
Many counties require you to renew your DBA every five years or a similar period. If your county requires a renewal and you fail to do so in time, you’ll forfeit your DBA and need to file again. When you file your DBA the first time, we recommend that you ask about maintaining your DBA in your county. That way, there won’t be any surprises if and when it comes time to renew.
There may also be requirements for amending or cancelling your DBA. Your county clerk will be able to provide any guidance you need.
Need Help Filing your DBA?
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 Nevada DBA.