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How to Get a DBA in Texas | Register a Texas Assumed Name
If you’re starting a business in Texas and plan to operate under a name that’s different from your legal business name, you’ll need to file for a Texas DBA (“doing business as”) name. The official term used by the Texas Secretary of State for DBA filings is known as an Assumed Name Certificate. In this guide, we’ll go over what a Texas Assumed Name (DBA) is, who’s required to get one, and the step-by-step process to file for your Assumed Name.
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Important Note: It’s a common misconception that a DBA Name is a type of business structure. However, this is not accurate – A Texas DBA is simply a registration to use a name different from your legal business name. Since an assumed name (DBA) is not a separate legal entity, it does not provide limited liability protection for business owners or taxation flexibility, as an LLC does. If you want to know more about the differences between the two, visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn more.
- What is a Texas DBA?
- How to File Assumed Name Certifcate (DBA) in Texas:
- Texas DBA (Assumed Name) FAQs:
DBA is an acronym for “Doing Business As” and refers to a filing that allows a business to operate under a different name from its legal name. While the filing is commonly referred to as a Texas DBA, the official name used by the Texas Secretary of State is an Assumed Name. Assumed Names are used by all types of businesses in Texas but are most commonly used by sole proprietorships and partnerships.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are informal business structures that don’t require legal formation paperwork to get started. As a result, their legal names are either their personal name (for sole proprietors) or must include the partners’ last names (for partnerships). As a result, most sole proprietors and partnerships opt to file a Texas DBA (Assumed Name) so that they can use a more credible and brandable business name.
Any business that will operate under any name that is different from its legal name must file an Assumed Name Certificate in Texas.
The first step is to develop a business name that is unique, memorable, and easy to find in a web search. For some helpful hints and guidance on making sure your DBA name is as good as it can be, check out our useful guide, How to Come Up with a Business Name.
Once you have determined what you’d like to use as your business name, follow these steps to complete your Texas Assumed Name filing.
To get a Texas DBA (Assumed Name), you want to start with a business name availability search. While Texas Business & Commerce Code, Chapter 71 doesn’t not require that an assumed name be unique, it’s still a best practice to use a unique assumed name.
Why Having a Unique Assumed Name is Important
Your business name is the foundation of your strategic marketing strategy. Choosing a name similar to other businesses can get you lost in the white noise of competition. One massive benefit of a Texas Assumed Name is that it provides you the one chance to uniquely brand your business.
Without a unique Assumed Name, you could be handicapping the best marketing and sales efforts to get your name out there. Worse yet, you could be sending business to others using a similar name.
To recap, we suggest that you do an extensive search to ensure the following:
- The Assumed Name is not currently in use nor too similar to other businesses
- The business name has never been used previously
Searches to Complete
- Search the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts:
You can use the taxable entity search provided by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to verify if your desired business name has been registered with the Texas Secretary of State. You can complete this by using the Texas Taxable Entity Search.
- Search for the Assumed Name with your County Clerks Office:
In addition to checking if the name has been registered with the Texas Secretary of State’s office, you’ll also want to check if an assumed name certificate has been filed with the county clerks office as well. You can use this list provided by the Texas Secretary of State to find the contact information for your county clerk’s office.
- Check the US Patent and Trademark (USPTO) System:
Once you have verified that your name is available for registration, you’ll also want to ensure that the name is not trademarked. Since the trademark process is at the federal level, it supersedes any level registrations. You can search the USPTO Trademark Database here.
- Website Domain Search:
You will also want to complete a domain name search to check if the .com version of your business name is available. If you don’t plan to create a business website, you should still consider registering the domain name to prevent others from using it. Since you can register a new .com domain for less than $10 with namecheap, it can serve as a very cheap form of insurance against someone using the domain.
Once you have completed all the required name availability searches and confirmed that your name can be used, it’s time to file your Assumed Name Certificate to get your Texas DBA. The process to register your assumed name (DBA) in Texas will vary depending upon the legal structure of your business.
If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, your assumed name certificate will be filed with the local county clerk’s office in each county where the business will have an office or conduct business. If the business is formed as a Corporation, LLC, limited partnership or limited liability partnership, the assumed name certificate with the secretary of state’s office.
Information Required on a Texas DBA Assumed Name Certificate Filing
To complete your Assumed Name Certificate filing, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Your desired Assumed Name
- Business Address
- Duration of the assumed name, not to exceed 10 years
- Legal Structure of the Business (Sole Proprietor, General Partnership, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
- Name and Address of Business Owner(s)
- Notarized Signature (if applying with the county clerk).
Where to Submit your Assume Name CertificateFor Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Corporations, Limited Partnerships or Limited Liability Partnerships:
Download the Assumed Name Certificate Form 503 and provide the requested information. You can submit your filing by mailing the completed form to :
Secretary of State
P.O Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
You can also submit your Texas DBA filing by faxing your completed assumed name certificate to (512) 463-5709.
The $25 fee charged by the Texas Secretary of State can be submitted by personal check, money order, LegalEase debit cards, or American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa credit card. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the secretary of state. To pay via credit card use Texas Secretary of State Payment Form 807.
Important Note: Payments made via credit card are subject to an additional 2.7% fee.For Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships:
Contact your local county clerk’s office to get a copy of the county’s assumed name certificate form for unincorporated businesses (each county has its own, slightly different form). The filing process can vary from county to county, as some counties allow for online submission, while others allow the form to only be submitted via mail. Visit the Texas Secretary of State’s page on county clerks for a full list.
Given the differences in the application process from county to county in Texas you may want to consider using a professional DBA filing service to assist you.
If you would like more information on the business registration process for all four main business types in Texas visit our guide, How to Register a Business Name in Texas.
For LLCs, Corporations, LPs, and LLPs: To get a Texas DBA, formally referred to as an Assumed Name, you need to pay $25 with your completed Assumed Name Certificate form.
For Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships, your Assumed Name Certificate will need to be submitted to your local county clerks office. Contact your county clerks office for approved methods to submit your application and the fee charged.
Once your Texas Assumed Name filing has been approved, it needs to be renewed every every 10 years.
You can file for as many Texas DBA names (assumed names) as you need – there is no limit to the number of Assumed Names you can be issued.