Skip to content


How to file a DBA in Ohio

A business idea in itself cannot be sustained unless you transform it into a successful business. One of the key drivers of any business or brand is often the name. There are so many examples of such brand names in the world today, right from Apple to Microsoft, Google, Nike, Samsung, and Amazon among others. If you want to transform your idea into a brand, then the first step would be to file a DBA in Ohio. DBA stands for doing business, and it’s a type of business or brand name. This guide has been created to provide you with insights into what a DBA is, filing requirements, managing, renewing, and canceling a DBA. The guide will also answer your queries pertaining to how to look up a DBA in Ohio.

Doing Business As or DBA in Ohio

Ohio is home to several small companies, startups, home-based businesses, and even medium-sized enterprises that have successfully sustained themselves and are earning profits. You can also choose from various structures like partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietorships, among others. When you decide on the structure, the next step will be to choose a business name under which your company will operate. You can either choose to use the owner’s legal name, Sam Anderson LLC or LLP as the business name or proceed with filing a DBA in Ohio like Anderson’s Pizza. If you are wondering how to look up a DBA in Ohio, you must go through a specific process. The first step, though, is to identify the conditions under which you can use a DBA in this state.

What is DBA in Ohio?

Most first-time entrepreneurs often confuse between a DBA name and a traditional business name. Business owners may sometimes ask, why apply for Ohio DBA online instead of reserving a business name with the state? In reality, you can choose to go with either. DBA is the abbreviated form of ‘doing business as’ and is also known as a trade name, fictitious name, or assumed name. It is considered to be a registered name that is different from the legal name of the owner. Most single-ownership companies or partnerships prefer to file an Ohio DBA online application for a new business or start another company connected to the parent company. Let’s look at an example to understand a DBA name.

For example: If you own a business in Consultancy and its legal name is your own name (e.g., James McKinley). Now, you want to open a different business specializing in PC repairs. You know that you will not be able to use your own legal name as your targeted customers will not know what you are offering. So, you, as James McKinley, have to apply for Ohio DBA online for McKinley’s PC Repairs. This business name will be considered a trade name or a DBA. The DBA will not change the business structure.

When do you need a DBA?

A business name is the identity of any company, and without it, no business can operate in the state of Ohio or the nation. Hence, it becomes important to file a trade name in Ohio after ensuring that the said name is compliant with all state laws. DBA is known as a trade name or a fictitious name in the state of Ohio and is governed by the 2023 Ohio Revised Code, Title 13 – Commercial Transactions, Chapter 1329 – Labels and Marks, Section 1329.01 – Registration of Trade Name Definitions – Registration of Trade Name or Report of Fictitious Name.

Before filing a fictitious name, you must conduct an Ohio trade name search. If the suggested name is available, you can register it. There are several reasons for choosing a DBA or a trade name, and some of the top reasons are:

  • Operating Multiple Businesses – Any company, like a corporation or a limited-liability company, may need to operate multiple businesses as a part of its expansion or diversification plan. In such a scenario, the only way to avoid creating separate legal entities for each type of business is by filing a DBA in Ohio. Essentially, the reason why businesses file a trade name in Ohio is to enjoy the benefit of being able to focus on the expansion of the business while minimizing costs and paperwork.

    For Example: Emily Watson set up a corporation or an LLC with a generic name like Emily Watson LLC. She now plans to open several restaurants or an e-commerce store. She will need to conduct an Ohio trade name search and file a trade name application for each restaurant or e-commerce store.

  • Your Business Structure – The structure of a business plays a key role in defining the business name. If you establish a sole proprietorship or general partnership company, you can use your own name or legal name. If you don’t want to use your own name, filing an Ohio DBA online application becomes important. A trade name can also be used by other entity structures like limited-liability companies and C corporations.

Filing DBA in Ohio for LLC and Corporation

A DBA (doing business as) is known as a trade name in Ohio. If you want to start a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company and don’t want to use your legal name, then you will need to apply for Ohio DBA online. There is a specific process for filing a trade name, including a name availability search or an Ohio trade name search. The process and the fee may be different from that of the traditional business name reservation process.

Do Ohio Trade Name Search

If you are planning to register a trade name in Ohio, then the first step is to identify a proper name. This will be followed by conducting a DBA name search. If you are wondering how to look up a DBA in Ohio, then we will take you through it, as it is almost the same as conducting a name availability search for traditional business names. There are certain aspects that you need to consider, and they are:

  • In order to file a trade name in Ohio, you need to follow the naming rules and regulations as prescribed by the office of the Secretary of State.
  • In the state of Ohio, fictitious names are not required to be distinguishable on the records, so it is easier to conduct a name availability search.
  • You can also conduct a search for trademarks or federally registered names using the trademark database also known as Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

Register your Ohio DBA

Once you have chosen a fictitious name for your company after conducting an Ohio trade name search, the next step is to apply for registration of the name. Registration of a trade name is an important process as it will help notify the general public regarding the existence of your company and also inform them that you are conducting your business under the said assumed name. The process for filing a DBA in Ohio is the same for both domestic and foreign entities.

In order to conduct business under a DBA, you will be required to complete and file the Name Registration form (form 534a) pursuant to OH Rev Code § 1329.01 (2023). This form can be used for traditional business name registration as well as for filing a DBA in Ohio by Corporations, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Companies. The form has to be submitted to the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State pursuant to OH Rev Code § 1329.41 (2023). The fee is the same for all entity structures, which is $39. You send it by mail to:

  • Regular Filing (non-expedited)
    P.O. Box 670
    Columbus, OH 43216
    Phone – 614.466.3910

You can also register a trade name using the Ohio DBA online application. If you are sending the form by mail, there is also an option for expediting the registration. The fee will vary according to the processing time. For example, a $100 fee for processing within 2 business days will incur a $300 fee for a 4-hour processing.

Alternatively, we can help you file a trade name in Ohio for your business. When you file an Ohio DBA online application with us, you will benefit from our knowledge of the process and expertise. We will provide the necessary guidance, which will help you save time, minimize bureaucracy, and ensure the DBA application is not rejected.

Register your Ohio DBA with ease!

Managing Ohio DBA

Once you apply for Ohio DBA online or offline, it will help facilitate your company’s ability to transact within this state using the said trade name or fictitious name. Each state has its own laws and regulations pertaining to a trade name or DBA. These laws are also applicable for the renewal, changing, or canceling of an assumed name in a specific jurisdiction or state. Let’s look at the various processes applicable to managing Ohio DBA online applications.

How to renew Ohio DBA?

A trade name or DBA (Doing Business As) name is valid for a period of 5 years in the state of Ohio from the date of registration or report of such a name. Normally, the office of the Secretary of State shall notify the company or individuals who have registered reported fictitious names or trade names within the six months preceding the expiry date of the said trade name pursuant to OH Rev Code § 1329.04 (2023). You can file an Ohio DBA online application for renewal or download form 523a – Renewal of Trade Name or Fictitious Name Registration. The form should be accompanied by a Filing Form Cover Letter and a renewal fee of $25. The cost is the same for all entities.

How to change Ohio DBA?

Once you file a trade name in Ohio, it is registered for a period of 5 years. Now, within 1 year, if you want to change the existing DBA, is it possible? Actually, the state of Ohio only allows certain updates to be made to the trade name, such as changing the registrant of the said trade name. This is possible through using the Change of Registrant Name (form 558). If you want to change the DBA name, then you will need to cancel the existing DBA and go through the entire process of applying for a new trade name.

How to cancel Ohio DBA?

If you are asking yourself the question, how do I look up a DBA in Ohio for cancellation, then the answer lies with the office of the Secretary of State! According to the 2023 Ohio Revised Code, OH Rev Code § 1329.08 (2023), the secretary of state can cancel a DBA if they receive a voluntary request in writing for cancellation of the trade name registration from the registrant of record. The form generally used for cancellation is the Name Reservation / Transfer / Cancellation form (form 534b). The cancellation fee is $25.

Need Any Assistance in Filing Ohio DBA?

The process to apply for Ohio DBA online or offline requires you to provide precise information while ensuring full compliance with the 2023 Ohio Revised Code, Title 13, and federal trademark laws. The process of conducting an Ohio trade name search can be quite complex, and this is where IncParadise can assist you. We have expertise and knowledge regarding Ohio business regulations and can help you file an Ohio DBA quickly and efficiently.

We can also provide additional services to ensure your other business requirements are fulfilled, such as obtaining a tax ID, S corporation status, and dissolutions.

Do you want to apply for an Ohio Trade Name?