How to File a Missouri Fictitious Name (DBA)
In Missouri, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register. Learn more about what a Fictitious Name is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a Fictitious Name?
A Fictitious Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” “DBA,” “Trade Name,” or “Assumed 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 its legal name, the state of Missouri, 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.
What is a Fictitious Name good for?
Under state law, the Missouri Fictitious Name Act (Section 417.200), a Fictitious Name is required for Missouri businesses that want to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the owners or entity. The DBA registration provides information on the people operating a business, so if there is an issue, the owners of a business can be tracked down.
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 a Fictitious Name?
The requirements and need to register for a Fictitious 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 in Missouri 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.
How much does it cost to file a DBA in Missouri?
The filing fee to register a Fictitious Name in Missouri is $7.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Missouri?
Step 1: Fill out the Fictitious Name Registration Form
Step 2: File the Form
Submit the form and filing fee by mail or online to the Secretary of State.
If submitting by mail, send to:
Missouri Secretary of State
PO Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 866-223-6535 or email@example.com.
Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Missouri DBA?
A Fictitious 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.
Additionally, names can’t be registered using words that are related to financial institutions, insurance, or cooperatives, unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Can someone use my business name after registering a Missouri Fictitious Name?
There is no protection at all when filing a Fictitious Name.
If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Learn more about trademarking a business name.
How many DBAs can an LLC have in Missouri?
There are no limitations to the number of DBAs that can be registered in Missouri.
How long are Missouri fictitious names good for?
Fictitious name registrations in Missouri need to be renewed every five years.
The name renewal fee is $7.
Does a DBA need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number (sometimes referred to as a business tax ID 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.