In Connecticut, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register for a Trade Name. Learn more about what a Trade Name is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a Trade Name?
A Trade Name, also known as a “DBA,” “Doing Business As,” “Assumed Name,” or “Fictitious Business Name,” is a name used by a business that is different from its legal name.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Connecticut, like most states, requires the business to register its business name. The registration requirement is for consumer protection purposes to try and stop a business owner from hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.
What is a Trade Name good for?
A Trade Name is required for Connecticut 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 Connecticut DBA?
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 in Connecticut. 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 Connecticut Trade Name, an application is filed with the Town Clerk in every town where business activities 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 the towns where the landscaper has clients.
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 a DBA cost in Connecticut?
The filing fee varies by town, but usually costs 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 Trade Name records 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 Trade Name Certificate Form
Some Town Clerks offer the ability to file the Trade Name registration form online, while others require physically submitting the form in person or by mail.
Common information found on the form includes:
- The type of business entity
- What the business does
- Proposed Trade Name of the business
- Street address of the business
- Name, address, and phone number of the owner(s)
Physically submitted forms will need to be notarized before signing. There is usually a notary present at the Town Clerk’s office.
A list of Town Clerk’s offices is available from the Connecticut Town Clerks Association website.
Corporation, Limited Liability Company, and Limited Partnerships
An Assumed Name being filed by a registered business entity such as a Corporation, LLC, or LP 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 of the business 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’s website.
Does Connecticut require DBA registration?
Any Connecticut sole proprietorship or partnership that wants to do business under a different name from the owner’s full name or a Connecticut corporation or LLC that wants to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the entity is required to register the name.
Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Connecticut DBA?
Trade Names can’t be registered using words that are related to banks, trusts, savings, and insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
A Trade Name also can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.
Can someone use my business name after registering a Connecticut DBA?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Connecticut, 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 or federal 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.