Are you a Maryland business owner who wants to be able to operate your company under an assumed name? If so, consider acquiring a doing business as (DBA) name.
How do you obtain a DBA name for your Maryland company, and how are you allowed to use your new name? In this guide, we’ll walk through every detail of the DBA acquisition process in this state.
How Do I File a Maryland DBA?
In Maryland, the process for getting a DBA, or “Trade Name,” is rather simple. To begin, you will need to ensure that the name is available by running a business entity search here.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
Once you have chosen a DBA name and confirmed its availability, you will need to make an account on the Maryland Business Express platform. Then, you can file your DBA online or print out the form and file by mail. The Trade Name Application will require the following information: Charter Division Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Once you finish filling out this form, you’ll need to include a check for $25 made payable to “Department of Assessments and Taxation.” Then, you can mail the form and the check to this address:
Charter Division Department of Assessments and Taxation 301 W. Preston Street, Room 801 Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Get Your Business Domain
To fully embrace the business name, register your URL. With GoDaddy you’ll be able to quickly build a company website so that nobody else can use or take it.
What is a Maryland DBA?
For sole proprietorships and general partnerships, a DBA enables you to use a name other than the owner’s personal name. For limited liability companies and corporations, DBAs allow you to use multiple names to officially refer to your business activities.
There are many different reasons for Maryland companies to acquire ‘doing business as’ names.
- For sole proprietorships and partnerships, they can make your company sound more professional than simply using your own name. You can also open a bank account using your DBA, which can not only help you keep your business and personal assets separate, but customers often have a higher comfort level writing out a check to a business name rather than to an individual’s personal name.
- For corporations and LLCs, DBAs are frequently used to give the company the option of using different names for separate product lines. Another common usage of a DBA is to distinguish satellite businesses from your main company. Restaurant owners love to do this, as for example it can help a fine-dining establishment open a fast-casual spin-off restaurant without affecting customers’ perceptions of the original location. Whether you want to create this separation for marketing or accounting purposes (or both), a doing business as name gives companies options that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
In short, a DBA in Maryland allows businesses to communicate their image and express themselves in different ways without having to actually form a new business to do so.
How Long Does a Maryland DBA Last?
Any “doing business as” name registration has an effective lifespan of five years from the date it is filed with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. If you would like to continue using your assumed name beyond the five-year point, you should file a renewal within six months of the expiration date. Each time you file a renewal, the state of Maryland will renew your DBA for another five-year period.
Should I Hire a Professional DBA Filing Service?
If you’d rather not fill out the paperwork and register for a DBA yourself, there are plenty of reputable companies offering a service. For a fee, these services will assemble the relevant paperwork and submit it to your state, and all you have to do is supply them with some basic information.
While hiring a DBA service can save you some time, there are probably better ways to use your budget. In other states, the process can be more complicated, but the requirements for obtaining a Maryland DBA are simple and easy to understand. The only downside is that it can take up to 10 weeks for the Department of Assessments and Taxation to process your DBA application, however this can be expedited for a $50 fee. Nonetheless, by the time you finish giving your info to the DBA service, you could probably just file the paperwork yourself. That said, if you’re just too busy to handle any more tasks, most service providers (Ex: LegalZoom) charge a fair rate for this service.
The doing business as name, or DBA for short, is one of the most simple business filings for Maryland entrepreneurs. The process to acquire one is quite straightforward, and you can begin using your new assumed name as soon as the state completes your filing.
We hope this article answered your questions about how to file a Maryland; DBA!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does a DBA provide any legal protections?
A: No, registering a DBA does not legally protect you or your business. If you’re seeking personal asset protection, you might want to look into forming a corporation or a limited liability company rather than just acquiring a DBA name.
Q: Does a DBA need a registered agent?
A: A registered agent is not a legal requirement for sole proprietorships or general partnerships that acquire DBA names. However, limited liability companies and corporations do require a registered agent whether they have a DBA or not.
Q: Can someone else register a business using the same name as my DBA?
A: Filing a DBA does not give your business exclusive rights to your assumed name. If someone wants to use the same name, and they form an LLC or corporation with it, they are legally allowed to take your name for themselves.
Q: Does the state of Maryland require publication of a DBA name?
A: No, publication of a DBA name is not required in Maryland.