If you run a business under an assumed name in Idaho, 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 Idaho, the DBA is actually called an “Assumed Business Name” (ABN). Essentially, they’re the same concept. ABN is just the terminology used by the state. For consistency, we’ll call it a ABN 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 online services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need an Idaho ABN?
Not all business entities in Idaho need an ABN. Ordinarily, a business needs an ABN 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 ABN in order to use that name. An ABN 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 ABN. 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 Idaho ABN does present a few advantages. While it doesn’t offer any specific legal protections or tax incentives, an ABN 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.
As of October 1, 2018, Idaho uses an online filing system for all business forms, including the Certificate of Assumed Business Name (which you’ll use in this process). If for some reason you are unable to use the online system, you can request a paper form. Please note that this process takes longer and has an additional fee.
1) File Your ABN with the Idaho Secretary of State
In Idaho, your ABN cannot infringe on any names that have previously been reserved by a corporate entity. However, you can use the name of another sole proprietorship operating under an ABN. ABNs do not grant exclusive rights or protections for unincorporated entities.
To ensure that your name does not infringe on the corporate names reserved with the state, you’ll need to run a Business Search. This search will go through the records for corporations, LLCs, nonprofits, and other entities that have filed their names. If your search produces an exact match, you’ll need to make some changes. If not, you’ll be able to use the name as your ABN.
To officially file your ABN, you’ll need to file the Certificate of Assumed Name. This form includes some information about your business, including your activities, mailing address for future correspondence, and the name you wish to use.
There is a $25 dollar fee for this certificate. The easiest place to file it is online with SOSbiz, but you can also use the PDF version linked above to file by mail. (Please note that there is a $20 manual processing upcharge for paper filings, as well as additional processing time).
2) Maintaining your Idaho ABN
Your Idaho ABN never technically expires, so maintaining the business name is fairly easy. However, if you ever need to make changes to your ABN (or even cancel it), you can file a Cancellation or Amendment form. There is a $20 fee for this form (with the $20 upcharge if you file by mail).
Need Help Filing your ABN?
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 Idaho ABN.