A DBA (also known as a "sole proprietorship",
"Doing Business As", or a "Fictitious
Name") is a business that is not separate
from its owner, merely a different name that the business
owner operates under. The owner is personally liable
for the company and its debt; all income is added on
the owners personal tax returns (pass-through taxation).
If there is more than 1 owner, than the business is
classified as a "Partnership".
PROS: Easy to setup, easy to maintain.
CONS: Owners are personally liable for the
company and its debt ( you could lose your
house, cars, personal assets, etc.) in a lawsuit.
Usually not recognized at the State level, only in your
city/county. No corporate "prestige" of having the "Inc."
or "LLC" attached to your name.
How to get Started: DBAs are typically filed
at the County Clerks office or at the State level. Getting
a DBA or FBN can
be a complicated task. There are thousands of
counties in the United States and each has its own
particular filing requirements. Some
jurisdictions require a separate publishing in a newspaper
that notifies the public of your intent to "do
business as" another name.
If you are starting your business as a sole proprietorship
or a partnership, then you will need to file a DBA so that you can "do business
as" a name other than your real name.
For example: If you are named John Smith and wanted to operate
as "JS Enterprises", you would need to
file a DBA so that you can a) operate under
that name and b) open a company bank account to
accept payments made to "JS Enterprises".
If your business is already set up as a
corporation or an LLC,
and you want to do business under a different name
than your existing corporate
or LLC name, you will need to file a DBA.
For example: If your company name is ABC Services, LLC
and you want to operate as "QuickKleen
Services", then you would file a DBA.
If you want to operate only as "ABC
Services, LLC", then the DBA would not be