How to Register a DBA in South Carolina

Last Updated on

Quick Reference

In South Carolina, a business operating under a fictitious name may want 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.

Related: How to start a business in South Carolina

What is a DBA good for?

A DBA is required for many businesses in order to legally operate and provides information on the people operating a business.  In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for a South Carolina DBA?

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA; however, occasionally, a corporation or LLC will want to register one if they want to have a second business under their “corporate umbrella.”

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering.  For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers operating under John Smith, he doesn’t need to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, he may want to consider registering.

In South Carolina, it is optional to register for a DBA, however, many banks won’t open a business account without one.

South Carolina DBA Registration Form

The form to register for an Assumed Name is available from the County Clerk’s office. Many offices have their form online, but some are only available from the Clerk’s office.

What are the steps to file a DBA in South Carolina?

Step 1 – Obtain the Form
Contact the County Clerk’s office in the county where your business is located to request the Certificate of Assumed Name Form.  The form and filing fees will vary by county.  Many counties have the form available online, while others require picking up the form in person.

Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Common information requested on the form includes;

  • Fictitious name being requested
  • Name and addresses of the owners

 Step 3 – Notarize the Form
Before signing the form, be sure to have a notary to witness the signing of the documents.  Most County Clerk’s offices offer notary services at no cost.

 Step 4 – Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and completed form to the County Clerk.

 

Save Time & Hassles

LegalZoom offers an inexpensive online DBA registration service that will let you skip the trip to the County Clerk’s office and register your business name in just one step.
Learn more

 

Are there any words you can’t use in a DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking.

Can someone steal my business name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in South Carolina, it does very little from someone else 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 trademark.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

Related: What is the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification 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 South Carolina

Subscribe Now to the 60-day Startup Challenge!

Subscribe Now to the 60-day Startup Challenge!