Insights

How Do You Register a DBA in Pennsylvania?

February 24, 2020

York County Bridge

A DBA grants business owners the ability to conduct business under an assumed name. Also called a fictitious business name, DBA stands for “doing business as.” A DBA is an authorization by the state for your business to operate under an assumed name. Each state has different steps for filing. If you’re thinking about filing a DBA in Pennsylvania, we can help make sure you set up the right legal structure for your company. Give us a call or schedule a consultation today.

Why File for a DBA?

For sole proprietors and owners of LLCs, DBAs offer an affordable way to gain legal recognition for the secondary name of your choice.

  • Sole proprietors: For sole proprietors starting a new business, DBAs are a budget-conscious way to gain legal status and work under a creative company name.
  • LLC owners: If the name on your LLC paperwork and your business name differ, DBAs offer the opportunity to operate as an LLC under a different legal name.

A DBA provides privileges like the ability to open a bank account, create enforceable contracts and establish federal employer tax status (getting an EIN). It’s possible to file multiple DBAs, allowing a single LLC to operate different businesses under the same legal umbrella. If you’re starting a business or expanding your LLC in PA, get the proper legal recognition early on to start off on the right legal footing. 

Three Steps to Register a DBA in Pennsylvania

The process for filing a DBA in Pennsylvania is fairly straightforward. Verify that the name you want is available, register with the state and publish an official notification.

1. Perform a Statewide Name Search

There are restrictions on the names you can select for your DBA. Typically, these include any names that may be misleading to consumers. Business owners must choose names that reasonable people will not mistake for educational or government entities, or other existing businesses. Ultimately, the Pennsylvania Department of State will have the final say. To see if the name you’d like is available for request, perform a search using the DOS portal.

2. Register Your DBA

Registration of a DBA in Pennsylvania requires submitting form DSCB 54-311 with the Department of State. You’ll need to submit the name, a description of the activities you’ll be conducting and a collection of personal information. Filing in PA requires a nonrefundable fee — regardless of approval status — but veterans may qualify for an exemption.

3. Publish Your DBA

The DBA process exists to protect consumers, letting them know who is behind businesses in their neighborhood. After filing, businesses are required to publish official notification in their local newspaper. Newspapers can charge fees well above $100. Make sure you’re prepared to shoulder this expense after filing.

Get Assistance With DBAs in Pennsylvania

Once you’ve registered your DBA you’re ready to do business. If you decide to cancel your DBA, you must notify the state through a separate filing process.

Need help deciding if a DBA is right for you? At MPL Law Firm, we focus on DBAs in Pennsylvania and will help you overcome any legal challenges on your journey. Call 717-845-1524 today or schedule a consultation to learn more. 

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