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How to File a DBA in Alabama

Business name is one of the most important aspects of every company as without it you will not be able to register and operate it in your chosen state. The name of a company is also connected to the brand and hence plays a key role in the overall success of such a business. There are two options to choose from, where one is filing a DBA in Alabama or starting the business using their full legal name. This guide has been created specifically to provide you with insights into understanding what ‘doing business as’ (DBA) name implies, conducting a trade name search in Alabama, the need for a fictitious name, and the procedure to apply for a DBA name among others.

Doing Business As or DBA in Alabama

There are over 400,000 small businesses in the state of Alabama and this includes home-based firms, LLC’s, general partnerships, and sole proprietorships among others. The state is also home to several top companies including Vulcan Materials Company, Regions Financial Corporation, BASFIN Corporation, Alfa, and Qualitest Pharmaceuticals among others. Some companies prefer to use a traditional business name while others prefer applying for an Alabama DBA online. If you are planning to start a new company in this state then you can choose to use your legal name (owners full name), a business name (e.g., Alabama Pharma), or get a DBA in Alabama. Each state has its own DBA laws and hence the guidelines related to fictitious name registration in the state are also different from those of other states. Let’s start by trying to understand what a DBA really is.

What is DBA in Alabama?

If you are thinking of establishing a startup then you need to first choose a name for the company as it will be the cornerstone of your company image or brand. Whether you start a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, C or S Corporation, or even a partnership, the chosen company will be identified by its name. A business name can be classified in three ways and they are:

  • Business owners’ names like Anjie David LLC.
  • Traditional business names like Alabama Trading Inc.
  • Trade name or filing a DBA in Alabama like Nathan’s Hikes

The owner of a new business can choose any type of company name based on their business requirement like on the basis of the product or service being promoted. You can also choose to start your business using your legal name and if you don’t want to use your name then what is the best option? The best option would be to get a DBA in Alabama.

This simply means that you can opt for an assumed name also known as a fictitious name. Once you have chosen a DBA or trade name, it is important to conduct a trade name search in Alabama to ensure this name is available.

When do you need a DBA in Alabama?

If you are thinking of applying for an Alabama DBA online then you will be happy to know that you can do so without worrying about the type of structure chosen for your company. You or any company can choose to file a trade name owing to numerous reasons including expansion of a company into new product areas or starting a sister organization. Let’s look at why any company would want to get a DBA in Alabama:

  • New line of business: If you already own a business but want to start a new line of business that should not reflect the current business name then filing a DBA in Alabama would be a great alternative. The product or services you plan to promote may or may not be connected to the current catalog of product or services being offered by the existing company. Let us look at an example to get a clear picture:

    Example: You currently own a business specializing in PC assembling, installation, and repair. The name of this company is Prattville Computers LLC. Now, you are planning to sell laptops and gaming consoles to expand your business. You could file an Alabama DBA online application for this new portion of your business.

  • Franchise and Sole Proprietors: It is extremely common amongst sole proprietors and franchise owners to file or get a DBA in Alabama. Franchise owners prefer a DBA or a trade name for establishing their identity as a local Alabama business. Sole proprietors prefer to use a DBA as the process of registering a trade name is neither complex nor expensive.
  • Several Benefits: There are many benefits of applying for an Alabama DBA online. One of the major advantages is that it provides business credibility to a company especially to small businesses like general partnerships and sole proprietorships. A DBA can also be used for opening a business bank account.

Filing DBA in Alabama LLC and Corporation

A DBA (doing business as) is a type of business name that is often known as a fictitious name or an assumed name. In the state of Alabama, this is also known as a trade name. If you are planning to form a sole proprietorship, a limited-liability company or a corporation then ideally you need to apply for a business name reservation. Alternatively, you can simply opt for filing a DBA in Alabama. This trade name will be known as the DBA or assumed name for the said company. There is a specific process behind filing an assumed name and includes conducting a trade name search in Alabama. The process as well as fee will also be different for registering a trade name as compared to reservation of the standard business name for a LLC and a corporation.

Do Alabama Trade Name Search

If you have chosen a trade name for your Alabama LLC or corporation then the first step would be to ensure this name is compliant with state DBA laws as well as other business name statutes. One of the key areas to focus on prior to applying for registration of the DBA is conducting a trade name search in Alabama. This is also known as the Business Entity Records Search and is facilitated by the website of the Alabama Secretary of State. It is important to note that applying for an Alabama DBA online is possible only if the search indicated availability of the said name. This simply means that the proposed name is not in use currently and can be registered. The Business Entity Records Search provides only one option for conducting this search and that is using the name of the entity.

Search by Entity Name

If you want to get a DBA in Alabama then conducting a search using an entity name is the most common approach. This search will allow new businesses, both domestic corporations and foreign LLC’s to check if their chosen name is available. The variable that can be used for conducting this search are:

  • Name
  • Type of business (LLC/Corporation)
  • Place of Formation
  • Principal City
  • Status

Filing a DBA in Alabama is possible only after the search reveals the availability of your chosen DBA. Let’s look at an example of how this search is conducted.

Example: Gene David wants to start a computer related business. He has chosen the structure as a business corporation. The name identified by him is “Gene’s Computers Inc.” Once he conducts a trade name search in Alabama for this name, the search reveals that such a company (Domestic Corporation) exists in Dothan, AL. This means that he will not be able to use this DBA. Now, if he changes the name to “David’s Computers Inc.” then such a name doesn’t exist in the state database.

Apart from the above search, it is also recommended to conduct a Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) search. This search will ensure your chosen name is not similar to any other federally registered names or trademarks.

Register Your Alabama DBA

Once you have conducted a trade name search in Alabama successfully, the next step is to register such a name. You will be required to complete the Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name form. You will be required to provide information pertaining to classification of your business in terms of the industry like agriculture, forestry, and fisheries or retail trade – miscellaneous. You will also be required to select the classification of goods and services like Beverages, Beverage Syrup, and Beer or Transportation and Storage.
This form and information required will be applicable for both LLCs and corporations – domestic and foreign. It is important to double check all information provided prior to filing a DBA in Alabama. You will need to ensure that this registration form is duly notarized by a Notary Public. The filing fee is $30. Alternatively, we can help you to register a DBA in Alabama or a trade name through a process which is easier and faster.

Do you want to get a DBA in Alabama?

Managing Alabama DBA

After applying for an Alabama DBA online, you can start using this as the business name within the state. There are certain state rules and regulations pertaining to a DBA or a trade name including that of renewal of a DBA, changing, or canceling of the trade name in the jurisdiction where the business is operating from. Let’s look at the various processes applicable for managing a trade name including how to get a DBA in Alabama renewed.

How to renew Alabama DBA?

Once you have filed an Alabama DBA online application, the trade name can be renewed only once in every five years. You will be required to complete and file the “Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name” form. It has to be submitted with the Alabama Secretary of State, Trademarks Division along with a fee of $30.

How to change Alabama DBA?

After filing a DBA in Alabama, if you want to change the trade name at any given point in time then is it possible? Yes, it is possible but you will be required to contact the Alabama Secretary of State’s Trademarks Division. You can call them at (334) 242-5325 to understand the process for the same.

How to cancel Alabama DBA?

Once you have filed an Alabama DBA online application, if you decide after some time that you want to cancel the said trade name then is it possible? According to 2006 Alabama Code – Section 8-12-13 — Cancellation, it can be canceled by the office of the Secretary of State if not renewed on time. If you want to cancel the trade name prior to renewal then you will have to call the Trademarks Division at (334) 242-5325 and request deregistration.

Need Any Assistance in Filing Alabama DBA?

The process of applying for an Alabama DBA online will require you to provide complete and accurate information while being compliant with state trade name laws as well as federal trademark laws. The process of conducting a trade name search in Alabama and adhering to all naming rules and guidelines can be quite confusing as well as complex. IncParadise can gladly assist you with this process. We have expertise and knowledge regarding the Alabama state DBA laws and Federal Trademark regulations.

We can help you to get a DBA in Alabama. Apart from assistance related to trade name registration, we also provide additional services that will ensure your other business requirements are fulfilled like getting a tax id, S corporation status, and dissolutions among others.

Do you want to apply for an Alabama Fictitious Name?