Our work is reader-supported, meaning that we may earn a commission from the products and services mentioned.

How to Register a Trade Name (DBA) in Colorado

How to Register a Trade Name (DBA) in Colorado

A business operating under a business name will need to register for a Fictitious Trade Name in Colorado.  Learn more about the Fictitious Trade Name, who needs one, the cost to file, and how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Colorado

What is a Trade Name?

A Trade Name, commonly known as a DBA (Doing Business As), Assumed Name, or Fictitious Name, is a name used by a business operating in the state that is different from the legal name of the company.   This name is often referred to as a Trade Name in Colorado.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Colorado, like most states, requires the business to register its business name.  The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind a business’s name.

What is a Trade Name good for?

A Trade Name is required for Colorado businesses that want to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the owners or entity. The DBA registration provides information on the people operating a business, so if there is an issue, the owners of a business can be tracked down.  

In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank account, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for a Trade Name in Colorado?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name are regulated under Colorado law and vary depending on the type of business entity.  Any company conducting business under a fictitious name must register within 60 days of starting its business.  

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA.  The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the individual’s full first and last name, which doesn’t get registered in Colorado.  Using the owner’s name as the business name works for many self-employed business owners, however many entrepreneurs want to operate under a distinct and brandable business name.

Before opening a bank account, advertising, or signing contracts with the business name, be sure to first obtain a Statement of Trade Name.

Additionally, if the DBA is going to hold real estate, an affidavit will need to be obtained from the Secretary of State.  This affidavit will be filed with the County Clerk in the county where the business is located.

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique legal business name is created during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.

How much does it cost to register a Colorado DBA name?

The cost to register a Trade Name in Colorado is $20. 

What are the steps to file a Trade Name in Colorado?

Step 1: Fill out the Colorado Trade Name Registration Form

The Trade Name filing form is filed online with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Information requested on the form includes:
– Type of business entity.  The most common ones for our purposes include: Individual (sole proprietorship), Non-Reporting Entity (general partnership), Reporting Entity (Corporation, LLC), and Domestic Limited Partnership
– Name of the person requesting the name (often the owner)
– Physical and mailing business address
– Trade Name being requested (unlike many states, a Colorado Trade Name search is not necessary)
– Description of what the business does
– Option to delay the effective date (used when the business won’t start for up to 90 days, but the name can be registered now).
– Email address
– Address of the person submitting the registration.

Step 2: Review and file

Review that the information is correct and click “Pay Now” to pay the filing fee.

If you have questions about the registration process, contact the Colorado Secretary of State – Department of State

Walk in:
Hours 8 am – 5 pm
1700 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80290

Phone: 855-428-3555

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

How long is a DBA good for in Colorado?

Renewal of Trade Names is required for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. The name will expire on the first day following the anniversary month of the original filing unless a Statement of Trade Name Renewal is filed. For example, if the Trade Name were registered on June 15, 2022, the trade name expiration date would be July 1, 2023.

The Trade Name renewal fee is $5.

As long as the Corporation or LLC is in good standing, they do not have to renew.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Colorado DBA?

There are a few restrictions when registering a Trade Name.

Entity designators such as Corp, Corporation, LLC, Limited Liability Company, etc., can’t be used unless the entity is registered as that type of entity with the Secretary of State.

The words Bank, Trust, Credit Union, etc., can’t be used unless the business is registered to provide banking services.

Also, a business name can’t have obscenities, reference illegal activities, or could be confused with a government agency, such as Treasury, FBI, State Department, etc.)

Can someone use my business name after registering a Colorado DBA?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Colorado, it does very little to stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states.

If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called a business tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Colorado