In Texas, 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 Texas.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Texas, 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 an Assumed Business Name are organized under Texas Statutes Section 71.001.  These requirements 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 proprietorship 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 operating under John Smith he doesn’t need 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.

Texas DBA Registration Form

Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships – Obtain the Assumed Name Form from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.

Corporations & LLCs – Assumed Name Certificate (Form 503)

How much does it cost to register?

The filing fee to register an Assumed Name for sole proprietorships and partnerships in Texas varies by county but is usually around $15 per county.

Corporations & LLCs will be charged $25 to register with the Secretary of State and approximately $15 to file with the county where the principal office is located.

The name registration is valid for 10 years and can be renewed.

What are the steps to file a DBA in Texas?

Sole Proprietorships & Partnerships

Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
Start of by conducting a name search in each county where the business will operate to verify the name you want to use is available.

 Step 2 – Obtain the Form
An Assumed Name Certificate will have to be submitted with the County Clerk’s office in each county where the business is located or where business is conducted. Many County Clerks have the Assumed Name form on their website and are available to pick up in their office.  List of County Clerk’s offices.

Step 3 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:

    • Assumed name being registered
    • Physical address of the business
    • Type of entity
    • Name and address of owners of the business

 Step 4 – Notarize the Form
Before signing the form, be sure to have a notary to witness the signing of the documents.  Most County Clerk’s offices offer notary services at no cost.

Step 5 – Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and form to each of the counties where the business will operate:

Corporations & LLCs

Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another corporation or LLC registered in Texas.

Names can be searched on the Secretary of State’s website.  Learn how to do a business name search in Texas.

Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:

    • Name being requested
    • Current legal name of the business
    • Type of business entity
    • Secretary of State file number
    • Jurisdiction of the business
    • Principal office address
    • County/counties where the name will be used

Step 3 – Submit the Form
Be sure to submit in duplicate and send to:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697

Step 4 – County Filing
In addition to filing with the Secretary of State, a DBA needs to be filed with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the principal office is located.

Protecting your business name

While registering an Assumed Name as a corporation or LLC will keep someone else from registering the exact same name with the Secretary of State in Texas, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states.  Registering as a sole proprietorship or partnership have no such protections.  If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Learn more about trademarks.