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How to File a DBA in Virginia [2022]

Overview

How to File a DBA in Virginia

In Virginia, any 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 Virginia

What is a DBA?

A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Business Name, is a different name from its legal name.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Virginia, like most states, requires the business to register its 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 business bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for a Virginia DBA?

The requirements and need to register an Assumed Business Name are organized under Virginia state law § 59.1-69.  These requirements 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 can be used without registering.  For example, if John Smith starts a consulting business in Virginia and operates under the name John Smith he doesn’t need to register.  If John decides to name his business Smith Consulting or even John Smith Consulting, then 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 having to form another entity.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Virginia?

Virginia DBA Registration Form

The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name can be filed online or as a downloadable form from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC).

How much does a DBA cost in Virginia?

The filing fee to register the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name is $10.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

What are the steps to file a DBA in Virginia?

The steps to fill out the DBA name paperwork varies depending on the business structure.

Sole Proprietorship & Partnership

Step 1 Fill out the Form
Download the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Form for an individual (Form SCC59.1-70IN) or file online through the State Corporation Commission website. Information requested on the form includes:

  • The name of the individual that is operating the business
  • The Assumed Name being registered
  • Business address

Step 2 Submit the Form
The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name is filed with the Clerk’s Office of the State Corporation Commission online or by mail.

The address for sending by mail:
State Corporation Commission
Clerk’s Office
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23219-1197

Corporation, Limited Partnership & Limited Liability Company

The process of registering an Assumed Name is very similar to the sole proprietorship and partnership.

Step 1 – Fill out the Form
To begin, download the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name for an entity (Form SCC59.1-70-BE) or file online. Information requested on the form includes:

  • The name of the entity applying for an Assumed Name
  • The Assumed Name being registered
  • Type of business entity
  • Where the entity was formed
  • Name and address of the owner
  • Mailing address of the business

Step 2 – Submit the Form to the State Corporation Commission
The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name is filed with the Clerk’s Office of the State Corporation Commission online or by mail.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Does Virginia require a DBA?

A DBA is required for any business operating in Virginia under a name that is different than the legal name of the business.

Can someone steal my business name?

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

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

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 Service (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 apply for an EIN

Are there any name requirements in Virginia?

No person may use an assumed or fictitious name in the conduct of the person’s business to intentionally misrepresent the geographic origin or location of the person

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