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 its new business name. In most cases, this is optional in Arizona, but practically most businesses will register.
Related: How to start a business in Arizona
What is a DBA good for?
A DBA is required for Arizona 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 an Arizona DBA?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, primarily depending on the type of business structure.
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 that it can be difficult to use 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 the state of Arizona can choose to use a name without registering it, the registration of a Trade Name is an accepted business practice that many will do. 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 yourself 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 or brand name they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without forming another entity.
How much does it cost to get a DBA in Arizona?
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.
What are the steps to file a DBA?
Step 1: Verify Name Availability
Step 2: Fill out the Form
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 signing and processing.
Step 3: Submit the Trade Name Form
After completing the Trade Name form, submit it online or mail it to the Secretary of State:
Arizona Secretary of State
Attn: Trade Name/Trademark Division
1700 W. Washington Street, FL. 7
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808
Are there any naming restrictions when filing an Arizona DBA?
Certain words are not allowed for Arizona DBAs unless licensed by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. These words include:
– Building Association
– Credit Union
– Savings Association
– Savings and Loan Association
– Trust Company
Symbols are also not allowed, a few of which include !, @, #, $, &, ?.
DBAs are also not allowed to use entity designators reserved for corporations or LLCs such as Corp., Corporation, Incorporation, LLC, Limited Liability Company, etc.
Can someone use my business name after registering an Arizona DBA?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Arizona, it does very little to stop someone else from 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 federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Learn more about trademarking a business name.
Does a DBA need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called 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.
Is a DBA name required in Arizona?
Any Arizona sole proprietorship or partnership that wants to do business under a name that is different from the owner’s full name or an Arizona corporation or LLC that wants to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the entity is required to register the name.
How long is a Trade Name good for in Arizona?
Renewal for an Arizona Trade Name is required every 5 years from the date of filing. Registration is available starting six months before the expiration date.
The renewal fee is $10.