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In Indiana, 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 in Indiana.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, the state of Indiana, 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 a Trade 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.
Indiana DBA Registration Form
Sole proprietorships and partnerships will obtain a form from the County Recorder in the county where the principal office of the business is located.
How much does it cost to register?
The filing fee for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships to register for a Certificate of Assumed Name varies by county, but is generally around $25.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies will be charged $20 when filing online or $30 when filing by mail.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Indiana?
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
Step 1 – Obtain the Certificate of Assumed Business Name
Some counties have this form available for download on their website, however some require the form be picked up from the County Recorder’s office.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Common information requested on the form includes:
Name of the business
What the business does
Address of the business
Names of the owners
Step 3 – Notarize the Form
Before filing, the form will need to be notarized. Most county offices have a notary on-site.
Step 4 – File the Form
File the form with the County Recorder and you will receive a certificate.
Corporations & LLCs
Step 1 – Obtain the Form
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
You can only apply for one name on a form. Multiple names will need multiple forms.
Step 3 – Submit the Form
If filing online, submit the form along with the filing fee.
If mailing, send to:
Secretary of State – Business Services Division
302 West Washington Street, Room E018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banks or insurance such as banking, savings, trust, credit union or insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.
Protecting your business name
Registering a business name does not keep anyone else from operating a business under that name. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark – See how to protect your name through a trademark.
If you have questions about the process, contact the Secretary of State at 317-232-6576