Are you a North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina DBA?
In North Carolina, the process for getting a DBA, also known as an “assumed name,” is pretty straightforward. The first step is to run a business name search with the North Carolina Secretary of State. You can run a business name search here.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
You will then need to fill out an Assumed Name Business Certificate, which requires some important information about your company, including:
Once you finish filling out this form, you’ll need to include a check for $26. While DBAs records are stored at the Secretary of State’s office, all filings are conducted at the county level. The form and check must be sent to the local county register of deeds in the county in which your business was formed or primarily operates. You can find the register of deeds for your county here.
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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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina DBA Last?
North Carolina DBAs do not have an expiration date and therefore do not require renewal. However, if any information related to your DBA application changes, you will need to file an Amendment of Assumed Business Name Certificate within 60 days of the change taking place.
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. It may take a little extra time to locate your county register of deeds, but the state provides a handy search tool to speed up this process. Additionally, North Carolina DBAs do not expire, so once you file the paperwork the first time, you’re all set. 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina; 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 North Carolina require publication of a DBA name?
A: No. While some states require DBA publication, North Carolina does not.