Decoding DBAs: How to File a Doing Business As (DBA) in California

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Are you thinking of starting a business in California and wondering how to file a Doing Business As (DBA) name? You’re in the right place! This straightforward guide will walk you through the simple steps to file a DBA in California without any confusing jargon. Whether you’re dreaming of opening a cozy café in San Francisco or launching an online store from Los Angeles, this guide has got you covered!

Why File a DBA in California?

Filing a DBA is essential for several reasons, including:

  1. Legal Requirement: If you plan to use a business name that isn’t your legal name, you must register it with the state of California.
  2. Business Banking: To open a business bank account, you’ll need a DBA to deposit checks made out to your business name.
  3. Credibility: A registered DBA name can add credibility to your business and make establishing trust with customers and vendors easier.

Now, let’s get started with the simple steps to file a DBA in California:

Step 1: Choose a Unique Name

Before filing your DBA, you need to choose a unique business name that isn’t already in use. You can search the California Secretary of State’s online database for name availability. Ensure your chosen name isn’t too similar to an existing business name.

Step 2: Complete the DBA Registration Form

You’ll need to fill out the “Statement of Abandonment of Use of Fictitious Business Name” form. This form can be downloaded from the California Secretary of State’s website or obtained in person at your local county clerk’s office.

Step 3: Notarize the Form

Once you’ve completed the form, you must sign it in the presence of a notary public. Notaries are individuals authorized to verify your identity and witness your signature.

Step 4: File the Form

Now, it’s time to submit your completed and notarized form to the county clerk’s office in the county where your business is located. You will need to pay a filing fee, which varies by county, so check the specific fee for your location.

Step 5: Publish Your DBA Name

After your DBA is approved, you are required to publish a notice of your fictitious business name in a local newspaper. The newspaper should circulate in the county where your business is located. You must publish this notice once a week for four consecutive weeks. Be sure to obtain an affidavit of publication from the newspaper to prove that you complied with this requirement.

Step 6: Keep Records

Keeping copies of all the paperwork related to your DBA filing is crucial. This includes the notarized form, the affidavit of publication, and any correspondence from the county clerk’s office.

Step 7: Renew Your DBA

In California, your DBA registration is valid for five years. You must renew your DBA within 40 days of the expiration date. Failure to renew can result in losing the rights to your business name.

Remember to renew your DBA every five years to maintain your business name rights. If you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to establishing your business identity in California without any hassle. Don’t forget to consult with legal or business professionals if you have any questions or concerns during the process. Good luck with your new venture!

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