Texas Assumed Name Certificates
also known as a “DBA” (short for Doing Business As)
What is an assumed name (aka DBA)?
An assumed name or DBA is a name under which an individual or business entity chooses to do business that is different from the individual’s or business entity's name. For example, if Molly Smith operated a sole proprietorship called Molly's Maids (or Smith's Holdings, LLC does business as Molly's Maids), the assumed name/DBA would be "Molly's Maids".
An assumed name certificate is the document that must be filed when an assumed name is being used. Filing an assumed name certificate is what establishes the link between the assumed name and the person (sole proprietorship) or business entity (LLC or Inc) that uses the DBA/assumed name.
What a DBA is NOT
How much does it cost to file a DBA?
DBAs are filed at either the county or state level, not both, depending on the type of business.
- LLCs and Corporations: A DBA for a previously incorporated business costs $25 to file with the Texas Secretary of State.
- Sole proprietorships: A DBA for an unincorporated business costs $15 -$25 to file with the county clerk's office in the county where the business is located.
We charge a flat fee of $125 to prepare and file DBAs which includes the above described filing fees.
Where is a DBA filed?
What is the difference between state and county DBAs?
Other than the required content of the Assumed Name Certificate (aka the DBA) and where it is filed, there aren't many legal differences.
A DBA is filed with the state if the DBA is used by an incorporated business (i.e. LLC or Corporation). A DBA is filed with the county if used by a sole proprietorship or other unincorporated business.
How long does it take to file a DBA?
It depends on where the DBA needs to be filed. Remember, DBAs are filed at either the county or state level, not both.
We’ll prepare your DBA on the same day we receive your information (or next business day if ordered after 2pm or on a weekend/holiday).
1. State DBAs (for Corporations and LLCs) are e-signed on our end and e-filed with the state and thus often completed/file-stamped same day.
2. County DBAs (for unincorporated businesses) are prepared same or next business day and then emailed to you for signing. Some counties allow us to e-record the signed DBA and thus we require only a copy of the signed/notarized DBA from you. In these counties, the filing is quick (i.e. 1 business day). If the county does not allow e-recording, we will need the original/wet signed DBA back from you and the filing time will depend on the mail service used. Counties that currently allow e-recording are: Brazoria, Dallas, Eastland, Fort Bend, Hays, Liberty, Medina, Parker, Potter, Randall, Smith, Starr, Victoria, and Webb.
Does my LLC need a DBA?
Your LLC will need an DBA if it uses a name (on signs, logos, websites, etc) that does not equal the LLC name. Here are examples of LLCs that would need to file a DBA:
- Longhorn Holdings, LLC doing business as Longhorn Realty
- Superior Construction Services LLC doing business as Superior Construction
- Sam's Club of Texas LLC doing business as Sam's Club
- Accelerated Software Company LLC doing business as ASC
- Global Enterprises LLC doing business as Global Enterprises LLC - Series 1
- Rusty's Real Estate Company LLC doing business as Rusty's Real Estate Co.
How long does a Texas DBA last?
The maximum length of time a Texas assumed name certificate will be effective for is 10 years from the date of filing. You can renew the certificate/DBA for additional 10 year periods by filing a new assumed name certificate no more than 6 months prior to the expiration date. The DBA may be abandoned at any time before the expiration date by filing a Certificate of Abandonment or similar document.
Can a DBA be used to change the name of my LLC?
If you decide to change the name of your business, you can technically keep the name of your LLC and file an assumed name certificate (DBA).
For example, Sarah Smith Enterprises LLC could file a DBA and use an assumed name as follows: Sarah Smith Enterprises LLC doing business as Sarah Williams Enterprises LLC.
DBAs are only valid for 10 years and would need to be re-filed if the business continues to use the assumed name longer than 10 years. As such, it may be better to file a Certificate of Amendment with the State and simply change the LLC name permanently. Either way, the business's EIN would stay the same and the contracts will remain in effect.
What happens if I do not file a DBA when required?
Does a DBA protect me?
Can I file multiple DBAs?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of DBAs a business uses. Each assumed name certificate would need to be filed in accordance with the Texas Business and Commerce Code.
Which business types are best suited for using an assumed name?
While many business types can benefit from using an assumed name/DBA, sole proprietorships use assumed names most often (Mary Kate doing business as Mary K's Cookies). Corporations and LLCs often use DBAs too (i.e. CarMax Business Services, LLC doing business as CarMax)
Do I need a DBA if I’m forming an LLC?
What if important information about my DBA name has changed?
Can I revise an assumed name certificate after filing?
Do I need to renew my assumed name certificate?
What if I stop using my DBA/assumed name?
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