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 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 an Assumed Name in Minnesota.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Minnesota, 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 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 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.

Minnesota DBA Registration Form

The 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 register online.

How much does it cost to register?

The cost of an Assumed Name Certificate in Minnesota is $30 when filing by mail or $50 when filing online. 

The DBA has to be renewed annually, however there is no cost to do so.

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 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 Form
Information requested on the form includes:

– 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 newspaper that has circulation in the county where the principal office is located for two consecutive issues.

 

Step 5 – Obtain the Affidavit
After the ad runs, the newspaper will provide an affidavit proving 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.

 

Name Restrictions

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking with words such as bank, banker, savings, trust, credit union and insurance.

 

Additionally, DBAs cant use entity designators such as Incorporation, Corp, Limited Liability Company, LLC, etc unless the entity is registered as that entity.

 

Protecting your business name

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.  

 

Questions?

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at -877-551-6767.

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