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.
Related: How to start a business in Indiana
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 the owner’s 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.
What is a DBA good for?
A DBA is required for many businesses in order to legally operate and provides information of the people operating a business. In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.
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 forming another entity.
How do I register my business name in Indiana?
Sole proprietorships and partnerships will obtain a form from the County Recorder in the county where the business’s principal office is located.
How much does a DBA cost in Indiana?
The filing fee for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships to register for a Certificate of Assumed Name varies by county 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 for 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.
Save Time & Hassles
Legalzoom offers an inexpensive online DBA registration service that will let you skip the trip to the County Recorder’s office and register your business name in just one step.
Corporations & LLCs
Step 1 – Check for Name Availability
Visit the Indiana Secretary of State’s name database to ensure the name you want to use isn’t already registered.
Step 2 – Obtain the Form
Step 3 – Fill out the Form
You can only apply for one name on a form. Multiple names will need multiple forms.
Step 4 – Submit the Form
If filing online, submit the form along with the filing fee.
If mailing, send to:
Indiana Secretary of State – Business Services Division
302 West Washington Street, Room E018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Are there any words that you can’t use?
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.
Can someone steal my business name?
Registering a DBA 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.
Does a DBA need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification 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 Indiana.