If you run a business under an assumed name in New York, 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.
In New York, 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 services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need a New York Assumed Name?
Not all business entities in New York 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 New York 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.
In New York, where you file depends on your entity type. Incorporated entities (corporations, LLCs, etc) will file their Assumed Name with the Department of State. Any other businesses will need to file directly with their county clerk.
1) File Your Assumed Name with the New York Department of State or Your Local County Clerk
The Department of State offers a resource on Assumed Names; this is a helpful page for incorporated entities looking to file a name that’s different from their legal name. Incorporated entities will file here, as well. In contrast, unincorporated businesses like sole proprietorships will file with their local county clerk.
Both unincorporated and incorporated entities alike should first see if their assumed name is available for use; your assumed name cannot be the same as a name which has already been claimed as the legal name of a corporation, LLC, or similar entity. You can check name availability with the state’s online database search or by calling and inquiring about a name. (Please note that this database search is not a completely accurate indication of name availability but rather a helpful starting point).
If your desired Assumed Name is available, you can proceed with filing your Certificate of Assumed Name. Unincorporated entities will need to obtain a similar form from their local county clerk. Fees for this process will vary depending on your business location and entity type; New York actually charges a fee for the registration of an Assumed Name, plus additional fees for each county where a corporation operates. (This county fee applies only to corporations; other entities are exempt). The state’s base fee is $25.
2) Maintaining your New York Assumed Name
Requirements for maintaining your Assumed Name will also vary depending on your entity type. The Department of State does not require a renewal of your Assumed Name. However, if you need to make a change to your name or stop using it, you’ll need to alert the state by filing the appropriate forms. These filings will help both the state and the public be aware of what Assumed Names are being used in the state.
Entities which register their Assumed Names on the county level should contact their clerk’s office. The clerk will be able to keep you informed of any and all requirements for continuing to use your Assumed 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 New York Assumed Name.