How to Register a DBA in South Dakota

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In South Dakota, 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.

Related: How to start a business in South Dakota

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 business’s legal name.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of South Dakota, like most states, requires 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.

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?

The requirements and need to register an Assumed Business Name are organized under South Dakota Statutes SD Code § 37-11-1.

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 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 will need to register.

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 forming another entity.

Related: Difference between a sole proprietorship and Limited Liability Company (LLC)

South Dakota DBA Registration Form

Registration is available online only – https://sosenterprise.sd.gov/businessservices/fictitious/fictitioushome.aspx

How much does it cost to register?

The cost to file a DBA in South Dakota is $10.  This filing is good for 5 years and is renewable.

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

Step 1 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:

  • Name being registered – There are no restrictions on multiple businesses using the same name.
  • Principal business address
  • Name and address of the owners

Step 2 – Submit the Form

Submit the filing fee and form to the Secretary of State.

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 Dakota, 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 Dakota