Starting a company

How To File A DBA In Iowa

Key Highlights

  • Discover how DBA enables companies to operate under a name other than their legal identity.
  • Learn how to use DBA for various goals, like branding, market expansion, and rebranding after a merger or acquisition.
  • Find out the cost and procedures for registering a DBA name for an Iowa business.
  • Understand how a DBA can assist with the marketing and branding process, even if it doesn't lead to the creation of a new law firm.

What is DBA?

Setting up a successful business requires having a firm knowledge of the basic concepts and jargon of the industry. In the US, the phrase "DBA," or "Doing Business As," is frequently used to describe circumstances in which a company chooses a name other than its registered legal name.

While DBA is a commonly used term in the US, there might be a vague equivalent in other nations. For instance, in certain regions, it may be called an "Assumed Name" or a "Fictitious Business Name." In other cases, the name utilized is only a fictional pseudonym unrelated to the business's official name. These subtleties are crucial for business owners to comprehend because they can affect their operations' financial and legal facets.

Why do you need a DBA?

DBA stands for "Doing Business As," and there are multiple reasons why a company could decide to use it. One primary driver is developing a brand name that better captures the business's offerings. A company may set itself apart from its rivals and attract more clients by using a distinctive or memorable name.

A business may use a DBA when it enters a new market to avoid misunderstanding or create a distinctive brand identity. For instance, a company could use a different name to advertise a product line or focus on a certain market sector.

A company's name change can also suggest a change in leadership, corporate focus, or brand identity. For instance, a company could change its name after a merger or acquisition to reflect its new identity more accurately. Conversely, a company can change its name to distance itself from a negative reputation or elevate its standing within the sector. Understanding the legal ramifications of using a DBA is crucial regardless of the justification. Businesses must register their DBA with the appropriate state or local government agency to avoid fines, legal ramifications, and possible legal action.

How to set up a DBA in Iowa

Following the directions while creating a DBA in Iowa is crucial to prevent any potential legal problems. Choosing a different name not already used by another company is the first step. This may be confirmed by checking the Iowa Secretary of State database. Then, submit a Certificate of Assumed Name to the Iowa Secretary of State with the chosen name, the business name, and the type of business.

The next step is to post a notice of the DBA, complete with contact details, the names of the business and the DBA, weekly for two continuous weeks in the newspaper of the region where the company is situated. Submit an Affidavit of Publication with the Iowa Secretary of State to certify after publication.

It's indispensable to understand that creating a DBA does not provide your company name legal protection. You should trademark your company name if you want to keep it safe. Adhering to these guidelines may effectively set up a DBA for your Iowa company.

Iowa DBA name restrictions

A DBA (doing business as) name must adhere to some rather severe rules established by the Iowa Secretary of State. 

Observing the naming conventions in Iowa

Your identified name must follow Iowa naming customs. You must specify your business entity type using a suitable designator. Whether you're an LLC or an Inc., ensure your name has the proper designation.

Profanity and Offensive Language are Not Allowed

Your decided name must not contain profanity or other inappropriate words, but I'll mention it nevertheless because it should come without saying. Keep it tidy, people; Iowa is a family-friendly state.

Illegal Activities and Public Policy Violations

Last, your name must not imply engaging in criminal conduct or going against the law. So it's undoubtedly best to avoid naming your company after anything in your business plan that even seems remotely dubious.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Iowa

If you want to perform business operations under a name other than your own or your organization's legal name, you should file for a DBA in Iowa, which can be difficult. You must know the following to file for a DBA in Iowa properly.

Declaration of Assumed Name Form

Obtaining and completing a Certificate of Assumed Name form is the first step in applying for a DBA in Iowa. Use this form to establish your DBA with the Secretary of State's office in Iowa. The form can be accessed on the website of the Iowa Secretary of State, and you may also get a copy by getting in touch with their office.

Basic information about your company is requested on the Certificate of Assumed Name form, including the legal name of your company, the DBA name you want to utilize, and the type of business organization (such as an LLC or corporation). You must also provide your contact details, such as your phone number and postal address.

Publication specifications

Before your DBA may be registered in Iowa, some publishing criteria must be satisfied. You must specifically issue a notice of your intention to use the fictitious name in your company's county.

The notice must include specific details about your company, such as your official name, the DBA name you desire to use, and the address of your firm. It must be published every other week for two consecutive weeks.

Putting Your Forms in

You must send the Certificate of Assumed Name form, the Affidavit of Publication form, and the filing fee to the Iowa Secretary of State's office. In Iowa, submitting a Certificate of Considered Name form costs $10.

Ensuring that the necessary information is included on your forms and filled out is crucial. Additionally, ensure that the appropriate filing fee accompanies your submission.

Taking Care of Your Application

The Iowa Secretary of State's office will examine your application once you have filed your Certificate of Assumed Name and Affidavit of Publication forms. If all goes according to plan, your DBA will be registered, and a Certificate of Assumed Name will be sent to you.

It's significant to remember that the number of applications received by the Iowa Secretary of State's office can affect how quickly DBA applications are processed. If you wish to give yourself enough time to finish the registration procedure, send in your application long before the day you wish to begin using your DBA.

Iowa DBA filing & registration

File an Affidavit of Publication with the Iowa Secretary of State after the notice has been published once weekly for two consecutive weeks. This document attests that the notice was published following the law.

Understanding that creating a DBA does not provide the company name legal protection is crucial. Registering the company name as a trademark is necessary to protect it.

It must adhere to Iowa's naming guidelines and limitations while deciding on a DBA name. 

The name can neither be deceptive nor imply a connection with a government entity nor be identical to or excessively similar to another company name already used in the state. The name must be designated appropriately, such as with an "LLC" or "Inc."

It is advised to do a trademark search and scan the Iowa Secretary of State's database to confirm that the selected DBA name complies with all standards to prevent legal complications.

Overall, creating a DBA in Iowa is very straightforward, but it's crucial to take all the required actions to avoid legal issues. The business may confidently create a DBA by selecting a distinctive name, submitting the necessary documents, posting the notice, and completing the Affidavit of Publication.

Iowa DBA tax considerations

It's substantial to consider the tax consequences of registering a DBA name when launching a business in Iowa. The 12% corporate income tax rate in Iowa, which is levied on companies doing business there, is one of the main factors to be taken into account. If you have an LLC or partnership, the profits are distributed among the partners and taxed at their respective rates. Individual income tax is applied to sole proprietorships.

Iowa's retail transactions, rentals, and services are subject to a 6% sales tax. If your company sells taxable products or services, you should apply for a sales tax permit, collect the tax, and send it to the state.

You can furthermore be charged property taxes in Iowa based on your company's location and kind. Your company's real estate, which includes land, buildings, and equipment, will determine the tax rate, which varies by county.

You must deduct and pay payroll taxes, such as federal, state, and Social Security taxes if you have employees. Additional taxes for Iowa unemployment insurance are due; they depend on your industry and payroll.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Iowa?

There are publishing and filing costs that should be taken into consideration when  submitting a DBA application in Iowa. Depending on the county where the firm is situated, a DBA filing might cost different amounts. Typically, the cost is between $5 and $50. By contacting the county clerk's office, it is imperative to confirm the exact price for your county.

Publishing a DBA notice in a local newspaper could also incur additional costs. These costs may also change based on the price and readership of the newspaper. It is advised to contact the newspaper and ask about the publishing charge to prevent any unforeseen expenses.

You can properly budget for the expenses related to registering a DBA in Iowa by being aware of the filing and publishing fees. Doing this lets you ensure the registration procedure goes well and prevents any expensive surprises.


In conclusion, registering a DBA in Iowa may be simple, provided all relevant procedures are taken. The initial methods involve selecting a distinctive and acceptable name, confirming its availability, then filling up and submitting the necessary paperwork to the Iowa Secretary of State. It's crucial to consider the costs and tax repercussions of submitting a DBA application. Businesses may ensure they comply with Iowa's standards and can run efficiently and lawfully by keeping these factors in mind.

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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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