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In Connecticut, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a DBA. Learn more about what a DBA is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a DBA?
A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As”, Trade Name, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a business, that is different from the legal name of the business. This name is often referred to as an Assumed Name in Connecticut.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Connecticut, like most states, require the business to register their business name. The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.
Who needs to register?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity.
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 owner’s full first and last name, which doesn’t get registered. Using the owner’s name for the business name works for many self-employed business owners, however many entrepreneurs want to operate under a distinct and brandable business name.
To register a business name, an application is filed with the Town Clerk in every town where business will be conducted or transacted. For example, if you are starting a business and have a retail store in Hartford, you would only need to file with the Hartford Town Clerk. On the other hand, if you are a landscaper and physically working for clients in a number of towns, an Assumed Name Registration will need to be filed in each of those towns.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for a DBA if they have another business 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?
The filing fee varies by town, but is usually between $5 and $10.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Connecticut?
Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships
Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
Before a new business name can be registered, the proposed name will have to be searched with the Office of the Town Clerk to be sure it isn’t being used or is too similar to another local business. Some Town Clerks offer the option to search on their website, otherwise you will have to look at the alphabetical listing of all registered trade names in their office.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Some Town Clerks offer the ability to file online, while others require physically submitting the form in-person or by mail.
Physically submitted forms must be notarized.
Corporation or Limited Liability Company
An Assumed Name being filed by a registered business entity such as a Corporation or LLC will file with the Connecticut Secretary of State. This is only needed if the entity is doing business under a name other than the legal name that is registered with the Secretary of State.
Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies will search to see if the name they want to use is available on the Secretary of State’s website, with the Commercial Recording Division.
The DBA being registered will not use the entity designator such as corporation, corp, inc, LLC, Limited Liability Company, etc.
Step 2 – File the Application for Reservation of Name Form
The Application for Reservation of Name Form is available on the Secretary of State website.
Be sure to verify the form being filled out is for the correct business entity as there are different forms for each type of entity.
DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banks, trusts, savings and insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Connecticut DBA Registration Form
Common information requested on the form includes:
- The type of business entity
- What the business does
- Proposed name
- Name and address of the owners
Protecting your business name
While registering your Assumed Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Connecticut, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states. If stopping anyone from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark – See more about trademarking a business name.