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How to Register a Fictitious Name (DBA) in Arkansas

How to Register a Fictitious Name (DBA) in Arkansas

In Arkansas, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a Fictitious Name.  Learn more about what a Fictitious Name is, who needs one, and how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Arkansas

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.   

A Fictitious Name registration is required for Arkansas businesses that want to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the owners or entity. The 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.

How much does a DBA cost in Arkansas?

The DBA registration is a one-time filing fee that varies between $15 and $25 for most businesses.

What is the DBA filing process in Arkansas?

Registering a fictitious name varies depending on the type of business entity. 

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entity to file a DBA.  The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s personal name, which doesn’t need to be registered.  That works for many self-employed business owners, however many businesses want to operate under a distinct and brandable business name.

Step 1: Obtain the DBA form

To register, a Doing Business As form will be filled out in the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business operates. This form can often be found on the County Clerk’s website.

Contact information for County Clerks

Step 2: Search Available DBA Names.

Each assumed name must be unique in the county where the business is filing, and no other business can be using a similar name.

Before filing the form, you will need to check the “Corporation Book” at the office of the County Clerk (some have the ability to search online) to make sure there isn’t another business that is registered under the name you want to register. 

Step 3: Fill out the Fictitious Registration Form

Common questions on the form include:

– Company name being registered
– Business address
– Names of the business owners.

Step 4: Notarize the Form – Prior to filing, the form will need to be notarized. A notary public is usually available at no cost in most County Clerk’s offices.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

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 or brand name they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without forming another entity.

To register a DBA in Arizona for a corporation or LLC:

Step 1: Verify name availability

Every DBA filing in Arizona must be unique or can’t closely resemble other registered names.  Before filing, search the Arizona Secretary of State’s name database to ensure the name you want to use is available. 

Related: How to do a name search in Arizona.

Step 2: Fill out the Application for Fictitious Name Form

The Fictitious Name form can be downloaded or filled out and submitted online.

Information needed on the form includes:
– Type of entity
– Fictitious Name being registered
– Character of the business (what the business will do)
– Business address
– Name, address, and signature of an authorized officer

Step 3: Submit the form:

If filing online, the website handles the form submission.

If sending by mail, the address is:
Business/Commercial Services Division
1401 West Capitol, Suite, 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

If mailing in the form, it will need to be notarized.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing an Arkansas DBA?

A Trade 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.

Unless licensed in Arkansas, a fictitious name can’t include the words “Bank,” “Banker,” “Banking,” “Credit Union,” “Insurance,” “Savings,” or “Trust.”

Additionally, names that are similar to a government agency are not allowed, such as Treasury, State Department, FBI, etc.)

Does Arkansas require a DBA?

Any business operating in the state of Arkansas under a name that is different than its legal name needs to register for a Doing Business As Certificate. 

Can someone use my business name after registering an Arkansas DBA?

Can someone use my business name after registering an Arkansas DBA?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Arkansas, 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.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Arkansas