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.
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, require 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.
Who needs to register?
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 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.
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 it cost to register?
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 owner’s name & address and the name of the business.
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.
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 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 that are related to banking, trusts or credit unions, unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Protecting your business name
Registering an Assumed Business Name will not stop anyone else from registering the exact same name. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark – See how to protect your name through a trademark.
If you have questions about the process, contact the Secretary of State at 207-624-7752.