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.   

Who needs to register?

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 then 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:

Name Restrictions

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

Protecting your business name

Registering an Assumed Name will not keep anyone else from registering the exact same name in South Carolina.  If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Learn more about trademarks.