In Louisiana, 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 Louisiana
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. This name is often referred to as a Trade Name in Louisiana.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Louisiana, 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 for a Louisiana DBA?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity.
Sole proprietorships 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 but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register. If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, he will need to register.
Partnerships, Corporations, and Limited Liability Companies – Partnerships, corporations, and LLCs won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some corporations and LLCs will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate or LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without forming another entity.
Louisiana DBA Registration Form
Sole proprietorships will obtain a name registration form from the Parish Clerk of Court in the Parish, where the primary office of the business is located.
How much does a DBA cost in Louisiana?
The filing fee to register an Assumed Name for a Sole Proprietorship in Louisiana varies by parish but is typically around $50.
The cost to reserve a business name for a partnership, corporation, or LLC is $75.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Louisiana?
Step 1 – Obtain the Form
Most Parish Clerk of Court’s offices provide the Registration of Assumed Business Name on their website, but they are also available in the office.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Every Parish is different, but they typically request the name and address of the owner and the new name of the business.
Step 3 – Submit the Form
Submit the form back to the Parish Clerk of Court’s office, and a name certificate will be provided.
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LegalZoom offers an inexpensive online DBA registration service that lets you register a business name in just one easy step.
Partnerships, Corporations & LLCs
Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
Every name registration must be unique and not too similar to other names on record. Before filling out the form, check the Secretary of State’s name database to see if the name you want is available.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Obtain the form from the Secretary of State and fill it out.
Step 3 – Submit the Form
Either submit the payment and form online or mail it to the Secretary of State.
If mailing send to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
DBAs can’t be registered using words related to banks, insurance, or cooperatives unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Assumed names can’t use entity designators such as Incorporation, Corp, Limited Liability Company, LLC, etc.
Last, fictitious names may not reference a municipal body or public facility without the consent of the relevant governing entity.
Can someone steal my business name?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Louisiana, 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.
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.
If you have questions about the process of registering for a DBA, contact the Louisiana Secretary of State at 225-925-4704.