Starting a company

How to File a DBA In Alabama

Key Takeaways

  • Find out what DBA, or Doing Business As is and how it's utilized when a business works under a name other than its legal one.
  • Discover how using a DBA may be beneficial for branding and marketing even though it does not result in the creation of a new legal company.
  • Learn about the limitations on DBA names in Alabama and why it's crucial to confirm the selected name is both accessible and legal.
  • Consider how before submitting for a DBA, it's essential to consider the legal and tax ramifications and, if required, speak with an attorney or accountant.

What is a DBA?

There are several terminologies and ideas to be aware of when running a business. DBA, or Doing Business As is one of them. This phrase is used when a company decides to function under a name other than the one it has chosen to use when it registers with the state of Alabama.

It's interesting to note that while most states refer to this process as a DBA, certain regions use a different name. The phrase "fictitious business name" is one particular term used to describe the idea. The term "fictitious" merely denotes that the name is not the genuine, legal name of the company, so it's vital to keep that in mind. It is a moniker, however, that the company uses for administrative or promotional reasons.

Why do you need a DBA?

A DBA, or Doing Business As, may be required for various reasons. It is helpful for several aspects-

Marketing and branding

Any successful firm has to have strong branding and marketing. A firm must have a distinct identity that connects with its target market to stand out from the competition. A DBA, or Doing Business As is a legal document that enables a company to perform business under a name other than its legal name as one means to accomplish this. For marketing and branding objectives, a DBA may be a helpful tool. A firm may establish a strong brand identity that distinguishes it from its rivals by selecting an unusual, memorable, and catchy name. Instead of utilizing its legal name, something like "Smith's Bakery," a small bakery might decide to register as "Sweet Treats." Businesses with generic or easily forgotten names may find this name change particularly successful. A company can draw in more clients by having a unique name. A name that sticks out and impacts people increases the likelihood that they will remember it and mention it to others. 

Legal requirements

In some circumstances, utilizing a DBA, or Doing Business As, is also subject to legal obligations. This is because a sole proprietorship shares the same legal name as its owner since it is not a different legal entity from the owner. Operating under names other than their legal identities is a widespread practice in the business world for businesses and LLCs. To achieve this, they must file for what is known as a DBA, or "doing business as" name. This is so that people understand that companies and LLCs are standalone legal entities from their owners and that their legal names may only sometimes correspond to the names they operate under.

Growth into new markets

A DBA may be a valuable tool in expanding into new markets, a typical objective for many firms. When a company relocates to a new area, it may adopt a new name to target the local clientele. A DBA can be helpful in this situation. Consider a corporation named "Midwest Manufacturing," which is well-known throughout the Midwest of the United States. To be more appropriate for Southwest, the corporation can use a new name if it extends its activities there. As a result, the business may file a DBA as "Southwest Steelworks" to better appeal to customers in the new region.

How to set up a DBA in Alabama

Setting up a DBA, or Doing Business As, in Alabama is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps you'll need to follow:

Select a name

Your name should be unique and not overly similar to other company names in your neighborhood. Choosing a name that truly describes your company is crucial and is simple for clients to recall. You can go to the following phase of the procedure after you have a name in mind.

Register Your Name

The next step is to register it with the Alabama Secretary of State. Usually, this procedure may be finished online or through the mail. In addition to your contact information, you must supply some basic information about your company, such as its legal name and the name you want to use for your DBA.

Publish a Notice

 In Alabama, you must print a notice of your DBA in a neighborhood newspaper once every week for four consecutive weeks. Your legal name, your DBA name, and your contact information should all be included in this notification. This requirement's primary goal is to raise awareness of your company among the general public and avoid misunderstandings about its true identity.

Obtain Any Necessary Licenses or Permits

You might need to get separate licenses or permissions in order to lawfully conduct business in Alabama, depending on the nature of your industry. It is crucial to learn the precise regulations that apply to your company and ensure you have all the required licenses and permissions.

Update Your Records

Update your company's data with any pertinent authorities or organizations as soon as your DBA has been registered, and your notice has been published. This might involve changing your bank accounts, tax documents, and company license to match your new DBA. By taking this step, you can assist in guaranteeing that your company is correctly recognized and that you may conduct business without any problems.

Alabama DBA name restrictions

To guarantee that your DBA name is appropriate and legally acceptable in Alabama, it's crucial to adhere to the state's rules. One of the essential rules is that your business' name must be distinct from other Alabama-based enterprises. This is done to avoid commercial misunderstandings or misrepresentations.

Additionally, your DBA name cannot include any inaccurate or deceptive information. This means you are not allowed to use a name that implies you are connected to a specific business, organization, or branch of government. This is done to avoid any commercial misrepresentation or fraud.

Before submitting your chosen DBA name for registration with the Alabama Secretary of State, it is a good idea to do some research to ensure it complies with these requirements. This can help avoid any delays or difficulties with the registration procedure and guarantee that your company is conducting itself in a morally and legally responsible manner.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Alabama

To register your business name in Alabama, finish the essential paperwork and submit it to the relevant state office. You will generally need to file the following forms:

Form B-01 

The Alabama Application for Registration of a Fictitious Name form is B-01. You must fill out this form to register your DBA name with the state. The form asks for information about your firm, including your DBA name, the names of the owner or owners, the business address, and other specifics.

Certificate of Publication 

A notice of your DBA must be published in a local newspaper for three weeks straight in Alabama. After completing this step, you must get a Certificate of Publication from the paper and submit it as documentation to the Alabama Secretary of State to show that you have satisfied the requirement. This certificate must provide details regarding the notice's publishing dates and substance.

Business License Application 

You will generally need to fill out an application form and supply supporting evidence, such as insurance proof or a tax identification number, to apply for a business license. It's crucial to check with your local government to find out what paperwork and documentation are needed because the application procedure might differ based on where you live.

Alabama DBA filing & registration

Start by selecting a distinctive business name and accessing the state's business entity database to see if it is available before registering a DBA in Alabama. After that, fill out Form B-01 (Alabama Application for Registration of a Fictitious Name), get it notarized, and submit it with the filing fee to the Probate Court of the county where your company is based. Upon approval, you will be given a Certificate of Registration of Fictitious Name and required to publish a notice of your DBA one time every week for three weeks in your local newspaper. Immediately upon publication, submit an Affidavit of Publication to the Probate Court to confirm that you've complied with this obligation. The Affidavit of Publication will also be sent to you in a Certified Copy. Keep an eye out Start by selecting a distinctive business name and accessing the state's business entity database to see if it is available before registering a DBA in Alabama. 

Alabama DBA tax considerations

There are a few tax concerns to bear in mind if you operate in Alabama under a DBA. First, all revenue made is recorded on your income tax return because a DBA doesn't establish a separate legal business. You should get a sales tax permit and routinely return the applicable sales tax to the Alabama Department of Revenue if your DBA sells products or services subject to sales tax. You should also look into potential municipal taxes and levies that might affect your firm. Consider creating a distinct legal organization, such as an LLC or corporation, for further liability protection as a DBA does not shield personal assets from company obligations.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Alabama?

The county where the firm is located determines the complexities of registering a Doing firm As (DBA), which affects the filing price structure and ranges from a minimal $10 to $50. This difference is demonstrated by the fact that whereas Mobile County costs a $25 filing fee, Jefferson County only charges $20 for the DBA. It is essential to research the specific county probate court where the company is based on establishing the exact filing cost.

The filing fee is not the only cost associated with establishing a DBA; extra costs, such as printing a notification in a local periodical, may also apply and vary by county, demanding a thorough investigation into the regulations of that particular county. It is important to remember that registering a DBA costs money just once. However, operational costs might go on, such as paying taxes and renewing company licenses and permits, which depend on the DBA. Alabama has one of the most affordable DBA registration fees compared to other states. This characteristic of cost-effectiveness makes it a workable option for companies looking to operate under a unique brand.


In conclusion, applying for a DBA in Alabama may be an easy and economical procedure for companies that desire to operate under a different name. It's crucial to learn about the regulations in the county where the company is based and plan for any additional expenses, such as putting a notice in a neighborhood newspaper. Despite the fact that a DBA does not establish a new legal organization, it may be a helpful tool for branding and marketing. Additionally, it might give company owners some anonymity if they want to keep their personal and professional names distinct.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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