How to File an Assumed Name (DBA) in Minnesota
In Minnesota, 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 an Assumed Name?
An Assumed Name, commonly referred to as a “DBA” or “Doing Business As,” “Trade Name,” or “Fictitious Business Name,” is a name used by a Minnesota business that is different from the legal name of the business.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Minnesota, 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.
In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank account, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.
Who needs to register for an Assumed Name?
The requirements and need to register for an Assumed 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 in Minnesota can be the owner’s full first and last name or the full name of each partner, 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.
How much does it cost to register for a Minnesota DBA?
The Assumed Name Certificate filing fee in Minnesota is $30 when filing by mail or in person or $50 when filing online.
There is no cost for the Assumed Name annual renewal if it is filed on time.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Minnesota?
Step 1: Verify Name Availability
Every DBA filing in Minnesota must be unique or can’t closely resemble other registered names. Before filing, search the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website to be sure the name you want to use is available.
Click for more information on how to do a name search in Minnesota.
Step 2: Fill out the Assumed Name Form
The Certificate of Assumed Name Form is available on the Secretary of State’s website at https://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/business-forms-fees/assumed-namedba/. There is both a PDF form that can be mailed in, or you can file online.
Information requested on the form includes:
– The Assumed Name being requested
– Principal place of business (PO Box isn’t acceptable)
– Name and address of owners/officers
Step 3: Submit the Form
Either submit the form and payment online or mail it to:
Minnesota Secretary of State – Business Services
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103
Step 4: Publish the Legal Notice
After filing the Certificate of Assumed Name Registration (of which there is no longer a physical certificate provided), a legal notice must be published. This notice is published in the legal section of a qualified legal newspaper that has circulation in the county where the principal office is located for two consecutive issues.
Step 5: Obtain the Affidavit of Publication
After the advertisement runs, the newspaper will provide an affidavit of publication, which proves the ad ran along with the notice. These items must be saved by the business owner.
Upon the filing of a “Certificate of Assumed Name,” there is no certificate issued. The approved form that you will receive back; is proof that your certificate of Assumed Name has been filed with our office.
If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Office of the Secretary of State at -877-551-6767.
Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Minnesota DBA?
An Assumed Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.
Also, DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to financial institutions with words such as bank, banker, savings, trust, credit union, and insurance.
Can someone use my business name after registering a Minnesota DBA?
While registering your Assumed Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Minnesota, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states.
If stopping anyone from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark – See how to protect your name through a trademark.
Is an Assumed Name the same as a Sole Proprietorship?
The Assumed Name and Sole Proprietorship are different things. An Assumed Name is a permission from the state of Minnesota to use a name that is different from the name of the owners, while a Sole Proprietorship is a type of business entity.
In many cases, a Sole Proprietorship will obtain an Assumed Name in order to legally operate their business under a name that is different from the owner.
Does Minnesota require a DBA?
Any Minnesota sole proprietorship or partnership that wants to do business under a name that is different from the owner’s full name or a Minnesota corporation or LLC that wants to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the entity is required to register the name.