If you run a business under an assumed name in Utah, 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 business formation services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need a Utah DBA?
Not all business entities in Utah 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 Utah 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.
Registering your DBA is required, but thankfully, it’s fairly straightforward. You’ll file with the Utah Department of Commerce, which brings us to Step 1.
1) File Your DBA with the Utah Department of Commerce
In Utah, you need to file a DBA with the Department of Commerce whenever your business name is different from the legal name of your business. Before you do that, though, you’ll need to make sure your name is available to use in the first place.
To do so, you can either contact the Department of Commerce’s office, or you can run a Business Name Search. You can type your desired DBA into the search tool. If there are no exact matches to the name you’ve typed, then it’s likely your name is available. However, the ultimate decision about name availability rests with the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code.
Once you’ve determined that your name is available, you should file the DBA Application. This form is the way you officially register your DBA with the state. It includes some information about your business, including your business’s purpose, your principal address, your registered agent, and of course, the name you wish to use. You can submit it by mail or fax or online.
There is a $22 filing fee for this application. You can pay by credit card or a check made payable to the State of Utah.
2) Maintaining your Utah DBA
Your initial DBA registration is valid for three years. If you want to continue using your DBA after that, you’ll need to file a renewal. The fee for renewing your DBA is $27. This filing helps keep the state and consumers updated about what businesses are operating in the state and who’s behind them.
Similarly, if you ever need to make changes to your DBA or stop using it, you’ll need to complete the appropriate filing with the state. You can find all the forms and information you’ll need to maintain your DBA here.
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 Utah DBA.