In Nebraska, a business operating under a fictitious name can register a Trade Name. Learn more about what a Trade Name is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a Trade Name?
A Trade Name, commonly known as a DBA or “Doing Business As”, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a business, that is different from the legal name of the business.
Who needs to register?
Registering a Trade Name in Nebraska is voluntary, but may be beneficial for a business to file.
The requirements for 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 may want to register.
Reasons a sole proprietorship or partnership will want to register:
- Proves the business exists
- Banks, merchant processors and vendors may require one
- Puts other businesses on notice that your name is registered
- No other business in Nebraska can register the same name
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.
Nebraska DBA Registration Form
How much does it cost to register?
The filing fee to register a Trade Name in Nebraska is $100.
A trade name has to be renewed every ten years.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Nebraska?
Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
Trade Names have to be unique or are not to similar to other names registered with the Secretary of State.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:
- Trade name
- Address of the applicant
- Type of business entity
- Date the name was first used
- What the business does
Step 3 – Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and form. If mailing, send to:
Secretary of State’s Office
Business Services Division
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509
Step 4 – Publish the Legal Notice
A legal notice stating the trade name was must be published in a newspaper with general circulation in the city or village where the business is located. If the business is not located within a city or village, a newspaper with county circulation may be used.
Step 5 – File the Affidavit
After the legal notice runs, the newspaper will provide an affidavit that must be filed by the applicant within 45 days of filing the Trade Name. This affidavit if filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
DBAs can’t be registered if it
- Uses immoral, deceptive or scandalous wording
- Contains wording that suggests a connection with people, institution, beliefs or national symbols
- Simulates the flag, coat of arms or any insignia of the United States, municipality or foreign nation
- Is geographically misleading
- Could cause confusion because it is too similar to another business name
Protecting your business name
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Nebraska, 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 – See how to protect your name through a trademark.
If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Nebraska Secretary of State at 402-471-4079.