If you run a business under an assumed name in Arkansas, 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 Arkansas, the DBA is actually called a “Fictitious Name.” Essentially, they’re the same concept. “Fictitious Name” is just the terminology used by the state. For consistency, we’ll call it a Fictitious 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 cheap LLC services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need an Arkansas Fictitious Name?
Not all business entities in Arkansas need a Fictitious Name. Ordinarily, a business needs a Fictitious 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 a Fictitious Name in order to use that name. A Fictitious 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 a Fictitious 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.
An Arkansas Fictitious Name does present a few advantages. While it doesn’t offer any specific legal protections or tax incentives, a Fictitious 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.
All entities using a Fictitious Name in Arkansas are required to file their name with the state—which brings us to step one.
1) File Your Fictitious Name with the Arkansas Secretary of State
Arkansas requires businesses to submit an Application for Fictitious Name. This form can be used by entities of all types. It includes some simple information about your business, such as the nature of your business, who’s filing the form, as well as the name you want to use.
Arkansas does not place restrictions on multiple businesses using the same Fictitious Name. However, it does not allow corporations to use entity names which are already in use with the state. Similarly, if a corporate entity has reserved a name for their use, you won’t be allowed to use it. That’s why you’ll want to run a Corporation Entity Search before applying. This search will help you know if an incorporated entity is already using your desired name.
There is a $15-25 filing fee for a Fictitious Name application. The fee varies depending on entity type; all fees are listed on the application itself. You can pay by check or credit card.
In Arkansas, you are also required to declare your Fictitious Name with your local county clerk. There can be hefty fees if you don’t, so contact your local government office to discover any forms you’ll need to fill out.
2) Maintaining your Arkansas Fictitous Name
Many state require a renewal for a DBA or a Fictitious Name; Arkansas, however, does not. So all you’ll need to do to maintain your name is to operate a compliant business. As long as your entity exists, so will your Fictitious Name.
Need Help Filing your Fictitious 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 Arkansas Fictitious Name.