Filing a DBA in Texas
Texas is one of the most popular places for starting a business because the state government has made the environment conducive to business e.g. there is no state corporate or individual taxation. The most common business structures include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited company, corporations, and limited liability partnerships. Business people may choose to register a DBA in addition to their legal form of business. DBA stands for “doing business as.” It is also called a trade name or an assumed name. Sole proprietorship and partnerships file for a DBA in Texas at the county clerk’s office, while the rest file with the Secretary of State office.
Filing a DBA in Texas for sole proprietorship and general partnership
Sole proprietorship (owned by one person) and a general partnership (at least two people) are not formally organized, mostly conduct business at county level, and are required to file their DBA with the county clerk’s office. A business that deals with real estate investments, too, should file a DBA at each county where they do business. The process for filing a DBA in Texas for sole proprietorships and general partnerships is as follows.
1. Perform a DBA name search
Texas law does not allow anyone to register a DBA in Texas using a name taken by another business in Texas or trademarked by another at national level. Entrepreneurs should visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to check if the chosen name is available. Then they should visit the U.S Trademark Electronic Search System to check whether the name is not trademarked by someone else in the nation.
2. Register the DBA with the county clerk
Here is how business ownersdecide in which county they should file an assumed name. If the business has a physical office, theTexas DBAshould be filed in the county where the office is located. If there is no office, the assumed name should be filed in all the counties where the business will run its operations. It is advisable to contact the county clerk for instructions before filing a DBAin order tocomplete the correct form.
How much does filing cost?
The secretary of state charges $25 for each assumed name certificate.
How does one file a DBA for LLCs, LLPs, corporations, etc.?
1. Name search
The entrepreneur has to search the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to ensure that the name chosen for the enterprise is not being used by another business in Texas and does not look too similar to that of another business. It is wise to also make sure the name has not been trademarked by another in Texas or any other state by checking the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System.
2. Fill in the Assumed Name Certificate
The next step is to get Form 503 (the Assumed Name Certificate) from the Texas Secretary of State website and read the instructions carefully. Then, on the form, provide theDBA and other details such as:
- The business structure.
- Address of the business’ head office.
- Where the business was incorporated.
- How long the DBA will be used. The maximum period in Texas is ten years.
- Counties where the DBA will be used.
3. Register the Texas DBA with the secretary of state
The next step is to submit a duplicate of the Assumed Name Certificate to the secretary of state and keep the original. Submission can be done through fax, mail, walk-in, or using a parcel carrier to The Texas Secretary of State, James Earl Rudder Office Building, 1019 Brazos, Austin, Texas 79701.
4. Payment for Texas DBA filing
The fee is $25 for each assumed name certificate. If sending the form by fax or courier, include Form 807 with credit card information. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express are accepted. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the Texas Secretary of State.
Does a Texas DBA protect personal assets?
A DBA in Texas does not protect personal assets because it is simply an assumed name, not a legal name. Anyone who wants to protect personal assets, in case of lawsuits or financial problems, has to register an LLC or a corporation which provide limited liability.
Does the Texas DBA expire and can one change the name?
The business owner can change, withdraw, or renew their DBA in Texas. To change the assumed name, one has to complete the registration procedure once more. The DBA expires after 10 years and can be renewed.
Is furtherhelp available to register a DBA in Texas?
Use this useful guide, for further assistance in filing a DBA in Texas