How to Register a DBA in Louisiana (Step-by-Step Guide)
When starting a business in Louisiana, many important decisions must be made. The process can be overwhelming, with lots of legal jargon and abbreviations to get to grips with. This article will highlight the significance of a DBA in Louisiana. We will explain what it means, situations where your business may need one, and the steps required for a DBA in Louisiana.
What is a DBA?
The acronym DBA, which stands for ‘doing business as,’ represents a company or individual operating under a fictitious business name. It allows a business to operate under a different name while still being legally responsible for the business under its legal name.
For example, if Steve Clarke owns a sole proprietorship that sells handmade instruments, he can register a DBA name, such as “Handmade guitars by Steve,” to market his products and services instead of using his name.
Registering a DBA is common for sole proprietors, general partnerships, and corporations who want to use a fictitious name that is more descriptive of their services or products or simply want to use a different name.
Registering a new DBA varies by state but typically involves:
- Choosing a unique business name
- Checking for availability
- Filing the proper forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or the county clerk’s office
- Paying a filing fee
Louisiana DBA name registration
Choose your name
The first step on your journey to your new name is to think of a new name for your business. It is essential to review the naming requirements for businesses in Louisiana.
Your business name should not include the following:
- Any business entity suffix like LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc., unless your business is that entity.
- Words related to financial services, such as “bank,” without prior approval from the Louisiana Commissioner of the Office of Financial Institutions.
- Words that falsely suggest that your company is a charity, nonprofit, or government organization.
- The words “casualty,” “redevelopment corporation,” or “electrical cooperative.”
- The words “engineer,” “engineering,” “surveyor,” and “surveying” (or any variations) without the consent of the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board.
- Words that imply that the company is formed for any illegal purpose. It should not contain any words “that consist of or comprise immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter.”‘
Check name availability
Once you have decided on your name, go to the commercial search page on the Secretary of State’s website to see if the name is already in use.
After selecting a name for your business, purchasing the corresponding web domain is a good idea, even if you don’t plan on launching a website immediately. This will prevent others from using the same domain name. Having a website can be an excellent way to market your business.
Register your name
If you want to reserve a name in Louisiana, you can do so before registering it.
You can either file online at the geauxBIZ website or complete the application for registration of trade name form.
If you choose to fill in your forms by hand, the mailing address is:
PO Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
If you would prefer to return them in person, the address is:
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
The form needs to be notarized before it is submitted.
Pay your filing fees
The standard cost is $75.
You can expedite your forms in 24 hours for $30 or two- to four hours for $50.
Your forms also need to be notarized, which can incur an extra cost.
Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA
- Your registered name expires after ten years.
- You can renew it online on the https://geauxbiz.sos.la.gov/ website or fill it out and return this form. The filing fee is $75 again.
- If you need to withdraw or change your trade name, call the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Commercial Division: at (225) 925-4704.
Obtain an EIN
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a unique nine-digit identification number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to identify business entities for tax purposes.
- A DBA doesn’t create a separate legal entity or change your legal status.
- If you are a sole proprietor and don’t have employees, you can use your Social Security number as your tax ID instead of obtaining an EIN.
- However, if the DBA hires employees or wants to establish a separate business bank account, they must obtain an EIN.
Open a business bank account
After you have your DBA and EIN, you can open a business bank account. Opening a business bank account is recommended.
This will help separate your personal assets and business costs and allow you to easily take check and credit card payments.
Advantages and disadvantages of a DBA
There are many advantages to registering a DBA:
- Customizable name: A DBA can be altered more quickly than a legal business name, allowing business owners to change their name according to their evolving products and services or market conditions. It also allows multiple names to target different products and markets.
- Clear financial separation: Filing for a DBA allows business owners to establish a business bank account under the company name instead of a personal account. This separation allows for more transparent financial records, prevents confusion, and protects personal assets. It also makes it easier to receive cheques and credit card payments.
- Brand recognition: A well-crafted DBA name is often more descriptive and memorable than a legal name. It helps in brand recognition, business promotion, and marketing and advertising the products or services easier.
- Cost-effective: DBA registration is usually less expensive than other business structures, such as limited liability companies (LLCs). It is a more affordable option for small business owners and entrepreneurs that want to create a unique identity without spending too much money.
However, there are a few downsides to registering a DBA:
- Personal liability: DBAs do not provide legal protection or personal liability protection, meaning that the business owner is personally responsible for all debts, obligations, and lawsuits related to the business. It exposes the owner to the risk of personal bankruptcy, as the owner is solely responsible.
- Legal and administrative burden: Using a DBA name requires registering the name with the relevant government agency, which can be time-consuming.
Who needs a DBA?
- Sole proprietorships: Individuals who own and operate their business without creating a separate legal entity.
- Partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than the partners’ names.
- Corporations and LLCs: Business entities that want to use a name different from their legal name or diversify business under multiple names.
Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?
You would need a DBA:
- If you plan to run your business using a name that isn’t your own or your company’s legal name.
- If you want to create a more marketable, memorable, or descriptive name for your products or services.
- If you are a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC and want to conduct business under different names.
- If you want to test new products or markets without changing your legal name.
You may not need a DBA if:
- If you operate your business using your personal or company’s legal name.
- If you are a single-owner LLC, that does not need to do business under a different name than your personal name or the name of your LLC.
What other names are used for a DBA?
A DBA is often called an assumed name, trade name, or fictitious business name.
In Louisiana, it is referred to as a trade name.
Can I use my own name for my DBA?
If you want to use your own name for your DBA, you do not need to register for one.
Do I need to advertise my DBA in Louisiana?
Advertising your DBA in a local newspaper is not mandatory, but there are benefits to letting the local community know about your new business name.
Does a DBA mean I now have a business license?
No, you may need to obtain a business license separately to legally operate your business in your area. The specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a business license vary by location and the type of business.
How long does it take to receive my DBA?
Unless you opt for an expedited service, the general wait time is 1-2 weeks.
Can I use a DBA in multiple parishes?
Yes, you can use a DBA in multiple parishes in Louisiana.
Do I need to register my DBA with the IRS?
No, you do not need to register your DBA with the IRS. However, you may need to update your tax information with the IRS if you use a DBA.
What happens if I don’t register for a DBA?
If you don’t register a DBA in Louisiana and you are doing business under a name other than your own legal name, you may face legal and financial consequences.
Find out how to register a DBA in your state
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