If you run a business under an assumed name in Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma, the DBA is actually called a “Trade Name.” Essentially, they’re the same concept. “Trade Name” is just the terminology used by the state. For consistency, we’ll call it a Trade 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 good LLC services that can help you take care of the paperwork.
Do You Need an Oklahoma Trade Name?
Not all business entities in Oklahoma need a Trade Name. Ordinarily, a business needs a Trade 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 Trade Name in order to use that name. A Trade 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 Trade 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 Oklahoma Trade Name does present a few advantages. While it doesn’t offer any specific legal protections or tax incentives, a Trade 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.
Domestic entities can file a Trade Name, while foreign entities will need to file a Fictitious Name. The two filings are practically the same, but the state uses different paperwork for each. Domestic partnerships have their own unique filing process, which can be found here.
1) File Your Trade Name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State
Oklahoma requires all entities to complete their filings with the Secretary of State. However, before you file, you’ll need to make sure your Trade Name is available in the first place. Oklahoma requires that all Trade Names be distinguishable on the records of the state.
To determine whether or not your name is available, you can run a Business Entities Search. You can type your desired Trade Name into the search. If there are any exact matches already on file with the state, they will appear in the results. But if no exact matches appear, it’s likely that your Trade Name is available. That said, the Secretary of State will make the final decision.
Next, you can file your Trade Name Report. By filing this online form, you’ll be able officially claim your Trade Name. There is a $25 fee for this application. You can file online or by mail, and you can pay by check or credit card. Once your Trade Name is filed, no one else will be able to use it.
There is one exception to this process: sole proprietorships which want to file a Trade Name for the purpose of getting a business bank account need to file with their local county clerk.
2) Maintaining your Oklahoma Trade Name
In Oklahoma, your Trade Name does not expire. You will not need to file any renewals with the state. However, if you ever need to make any changes to your name, you should file an amendment. Similarly, if you stop using your name, you can file a withdrawal of your Trade Name report. These filings help keep both the state and its residents be aware of what businesses are operating in Oklahoma.
Need Help Filing your Trade 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 Oklahoma Trade Name.