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In Idaho, 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 Business Name (ABN) in Idaho.  

When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Idaho, 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 for an Assumed 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 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.

How much does it cost to register?

The cost to register for a Certificate of Assumed Business Name is $25.  The registration doesn’t need to be renewed unless

How long does it take to get a DBA?

Normal turnaround is 3-7 business days.

Idaho DBA Registration Form

The form to register for the Certificate of Assumed Business Name is available from the Secretary of State’s website – https://sosbiz.idaho.gov/auth?from=/forms/new/287. The link takes you to the Secretary of State website and you have to register for an account before filling out the form. 

A physical form is also available and can be picked up at the Secretary of State’s office, Department of Commerce, and many banks and law offices.

What are the steps to file a DBA in Idaho?

Step 1 – Check Available Names

In Idaho, Assumed Names are registered by the Idaho Secretary of State – Commercial Division. In order to register a name, the name must be unique and not similar to other registered names. 

Learn more about using the business database search to find available business names in Idaho.

Step 2 – Fill out the Form

The form should only take a few minutes to fill out.  Information needed on the form includes:

  • Type of business
  • Proposed name
  • Name & address of owners

Step 3 – Submit the Form

Submit the form along with the filing fee.

Something to note is that ABN filings are a public record and searchable on the Secretary of State’s website.  This can be concerning for some people who may be starting their business on the side and not wanting their employer to know. 

Name Restrictions

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking or engineering unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Also entity designators such as “corporation”, “Corp”, “incorporated”, “Inc.”, “LLC”, or “Limited Liability Company” can’t be used.

Protecting your business name

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Idaho, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states.  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.  

Questions?

If you have questions about the process, contact the:
Idaho Secretary of State’s Office – Commercial Division
450 N. 4th Street
Boise, ID 83702

208-334-2301
ucc@sos.idaho.gov

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