In Maine, 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 Maine
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.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Maine, 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 Maine DBA?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name 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 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.
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.
Maine DBA Registration Form
Sole proprietorships and partnerships will obtain a form from the Municipal or Town Clerk. Most have the form on their website, while others are available at the Clerks office.
How much does a DBA cost in Maine?
The fee to register an Assumed Name for sole proprietorships and partnerships varies by town and county, but expect $10-$20. This is a one-time fee.
The filing fee to register an Assumed Name for domestic corporations and LLCs is $125. On the same form, there is the option to register a Fictitious Name. Fictitious Names are only for foreign entities, which refer to entities formed in another state. Names must be renewed every 10 years.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Maine?
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
Step 1 – Obtain the Form
Get the Assumed Business Name registration form from the Municipal or Town Clerk.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
The form will vary by location, but typical information that is being requested includes the owner’s name & address and the business name.
Step 3 – Notarize the Form
Before filing, have the form notarized.
Step 4 – Submit the Form
Submit the form and payment. An Assumed Name Certificate will be provided once filed.
Save Time & Hassles
LegalZoom offers an inexpensive online DBA registration service that lets you register a business name in just one step.
Corporations and LLCs
Step 1 – Fill out the Form
Obtain the correct for the business entity from the Secretary of State. Fill out the required information.
Step 2 – File the Form
Fill out the form and file it with the Secretary of State.
The mailing address is:
Secretary of State
Corporate Examining Section
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
DBAs can’t be registered using words related to banking, trusts, or credit unions unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Can someone steal my business name?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Maine, 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.
Related: How to register for an EIN in Maine
If you have questions about the process, contact the Maine Secretary of State at 207-624-7752.