Arizona DBA Registration

In Arizona, most businesses are not required by the state to register a DBA.  There are however several reasons a business will want to consider registering their name.

What is a DBA?

A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As”, Trade Name, or Fictitious Business 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 a Trade Name in Arizona.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, many states require the business to register their new business name.   In most cases this is optional in Arizona, but practically most businesses will register.

Who needs to register?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, primarily depending on the type of business entity. 

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entity to register a DBA.  The owner(s) of these entities can either choose to use their full first and last name (which would never need to be registered) or adopt a business name.

The reason a sole proprietorship or general partnership would want to register a business name with the Secretary of State is because it can be difficult in using them when entering into contracts under the business name. The main issue will be when trying to open a business bank account as all banks are supposed to see a registered name certificate. 

Even though a business in Arizona can choose to use a name without registering it, many businesses will register. This filing stops other businesses from being able to register it as every registered business name has to be unique.  By registering the name, you are securing it for you and making it harder for someone else to use it.

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  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?

The filing fee for normal processing is $10 which typically takes 2-3 weeks.  For 24-48 hour processing, expedited processing is available for an additional $25.

Trade Name registration is good for 5 years and is renewable.

What are the steps to file a DBA?

Step 1 – Verify Name Availability

Each registered business name has to be unique from the other names in the Secretary of State’s database.  See how to do an Arizona name search.   

Step 2 – Fill out the Form h

The form can either be submitted online or filled out and mailed in.

Questions on the form include:

  • Desired Trade Name
  • Date the name was first used
  • Type of business entity
  • What the business does
  • Owner’s contact information

Note: The physical form will have to be notarized before it is processed.

Step 3 – Submit the Form

After completing the form, submit it online or mail to the Secretary of State:

Secretary of State
Attn: Trade Name/Trademark Division
1700 W. Washington Street, FL. 7
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808

Name Restrictions

Certain words are not allowed for Arizona DBAs unless licensed by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.  These words include:

  • Bank
  • Banker
  • Banking
  • Building Association
  • Credit Union
  • Deposit
  • Savings Association
  • Thrift
  • Trust
  • Trust Company

Symbols are also not allowed, a few of which include !, @, #, $, &, ?.

DBAs are also not allowed to use entity designators that are reserved for corporations or LLCs such as Corp., Corporation, Incorporation, LLC, Limited Liability Company, etc.

Arizona DBA Registration Form

Online – https://apps.azsos.gov/apps/tntp/index.html
PDF – https://apps.azsos.gov/business_services/TN_apptn.pdf

Protecting your business name

Registering a Trade Name make the name a public record, but does not grant exclusive rights to the name. While no other business can register that same name in the state, someone could still operate a business under that name, which gives very little protection.

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.  

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