- Learn how to determine whether you need a DBA. If you operate a business under a name apart from your legal name, you will likely need to obtain a DBA.
- Learn about the DBA registration requirements in Louisiana.
- Recognize the difference between a DBA and a legal business entity, such as an LLC or corporation.
- Determine whether a DBA is the best solution for your company's needs and objectives.
- Understand that a DBA does not provide liability protection. Therefore, you should consider creating a legal corporate organization for additional security.
- Learn about the DBA renewal procedure and name limitations.
Suppose you own a business in Louisiana and want to do business activities under a name other than your legal name. In that case, you must file a DBA (doing business as) application with the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. A DBA permits you to utilize a trade name for your firm, often known as a fake or assumed name. Selecting a name, checking its availability, completing and submitting the DBA form, paying the filing cost, publishing a notice, and renewing your DBA before it expires are all simple steps in the Louisiana DBA registration process. This post will walk you through filing a DBA in Louisiana, including critical elements that will help you properly register your trade name.
What is DBA?
"DBA" is an abbreviation for "doing business as," often known as a "trade name," "assumed name," or "fictitious name." A DBA is a legal document that permits a company to trade under a name different than its legal one. For example, if a sole owner named John Smith wishes to do business under the name "John's Computer Repair," he must obtain a DBA with the state. This registration guarantees that customers can recognize the company and its services or goods. Filing a DBA also helps establish a distinct identity for the organization, which may benefit branding and marketing.
Why do you need a DBA?
A company requires a DBA for a variety of reasons. First, a DBA permits a company to trade under a name different than its legal name. This may be advantageous for branding and marketing since the company can select a name that more accurately portrays its goods, services, or mission. For example, a sole entrepreneur offering freelance writing services may opt to operate under the moniker "The Write Stuff" to make their services more distinctive and appealing to potential clients.
Second, a DBA gives consumers some transparency. Businesses that establish a DBA must include their legal name and contact information, which allows consumers to verify the integrity of the firm and avoid frauds or fraud.
Finally, in some states, including Louisiana, a DBA is required for businesses to use a name other than their legal name. Failure to register a DBA on time might result in fines, legal action, and other consequences.
In essence, a DBA may assist firms in developing a distinct identity, increasing brand awareness, building consumer confidence, and adhering to legal regulations.
How to set up a DBA in Louisiana?
The following are the steps to registering a DBA in Louisiana:
- Select a name: Choose a name not currently used by another Louisiana firm. To discover if the name is accessible, check the Louisiana Secretary of State's company database.
- Verify name availability: Once you've decided on a name, check the Louisiana Secretary of State's company database to see whether it's still available. This may be done online at the Louisiana Secretary of State's website.
- Fill out the DBA form: You must fill out a DBA form and submit it to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. This can be done online or by mail. The form needs you to enter your company's legal name, DBA name, and contact information.
- Pay the filing fee: In Louisiana, there is a charge for filing a DBA. The charge varies depending on how you file and the nature of your firm.
- Publish a notice: In Louisiana, you must publish a notice of your DBA in the parish where your firm is situated in a newspaper. This must be completed within 30 days after filing your DBA.
- Renew your DBA: DBAs in Louisiana expire after five years. You must renew your DBA before it expires to keep using the name.
Filing a DBA in Louisiana may be easy if you follow these steps and fulfill the Louisiana Secretary of State's criteria.
Louisiana DBA name restrictions
When selecting a DBA name in Louisiana, it is critical to know the state's restrictions and guidelines. Some of the requirements for Louisiana DBA names are as follows:
- Availability: Your DBA name cannot be the same or appear confusingly similar to an existing company name or trademark in Louisiana.
- Legal entities: Your DBA name cannot contain phrases that imply your company is a legal entity, which it is not. For example, if your firm is not a legal organization of that sort, you cannot include the words "corporation," "incorporated," or "LLC" in your DBA name.
- Names that are misleading or deceptive: Your DBA name cannot be misleading or deceptive to the public. This means you can't use a name that implies you're doing business with the government or one that misleads customers about the nature of your firm.
- Words forbidden by Louisiana state law cannot be included in your DBA name. For example, you cannot include "bank" or "insurance" in your DBA name unless you have the proper licenses and permissions.
- Professional services: If you provide professional services, such as legal or medical, your DBA name must adhere to the laws and restrictions established by your profession's licensing body.
Forms needed to file a DBA in Louisiana
To register a DBA (doing business as) in Louisiana, you must fill out and submit the necessary paperwork to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. The following forms are required:
- Application for Reservation of Name: If you wish to reserve your selected DBA name before completing the real DBA form, you must fill out this form. This is optional. However, it might be helpful if you need additional time to complete the DBA form or to ensure no one else reserves the name before you.
- Trade Name Registration form: This is the DBA form you will submit to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. The form needs you to enter your company's legal name, DBA name, and phone number.
- Affidavit of Publication: In Louisiana, this document is necessary once you have submitted your DBA form. A notice of your DBA must be published in a newspaper in the parish where your business is located. The newspaper will issue you an affidavit of publication, which you must file with the Louisiana Secretary of State's office to demonstrate that you met the publishing requirement.
- Renewal form: DBAs in Louisiana expire after 5 years. You must renew your DBA before it expires to keep using the name. You may submit the renewal form either online or via mail.
Louisiana DBA filing & registration
To file and register a DBA in Louisiana, you must select a name that is not already in use by another business, verify name availability, file the Trade Name Registration form with the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, pay the filing fee, publish a notice of your DBA in the location of your business, and renew your DBA before it expires after 5 years. The Trade Name Registration form asks for your company's legal name, DBA name, and contact information. you guarantee a successful DBA registration, comply with Louisiana's DBA name requirements, and carefully follow the directions for each form.
Louisiana DBA tax considerations
When registering a DBA in Louisiana, you must consider the tax implications for your company. Here are some tax considerations to consider:
- Sales tax: If you sell products or certain services in Louisiana, you may be required to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue for a sales tax permit and collect and return sales tax.
- Income tax: Louisiana has a 4% corporate income tax rate, while sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed at the personal income tax rates. Make sure that your DBA income is correctly reported on your tax returns.
- Business licenses and permissions: Depending on the nature of your business, you may require extra licenses and permits from the state or municipal government, which may include expenses.
- Keep track of your company costs so you may deduct them from your tax returns and lower your tax bill.
- Consult a tax advisor or accountant to verify that you are fulfilling all of your tax requirements and maximizing any potential tax benefits for your Louisiana DBA.
How much does a DBA filing cost in Louisiana?
The cost of registering a business name in Louisiana varies depending on whether you file online or by mail. The filing fee for a Trade Name Registration form (the actual DBA form) is $50 if completed online and $75 if filed by mail as of May 2023. The optional Application for Reservation of Name costs $25 if submitted online and $30 if submitted by mail. The Affidavit of Publication, which is necessary after submitting your DBA form and posting a notice in a newspaper, is also charged. The Affidavit of Publication costs vary according to the newspaper and location where the notice is published. Check the Louisiana Secretary of State's website for the most current fees and instructions.
Filing a DBA (doing business as) in Louisiana involves:
- Choosing a name.
- Verifying name availability.
- Completing and filing the Trade Name Registration form.
- Publishing a notice of your DBA in a newspaper.
- Renewing your DBA every five years.
There are also tax considerations, including sales, income, and federal taxes. The cost to file a DBA in Louisiana varies depending on whether you file online or by mail. Additional fees exist for the Application for Reservation of Name and the Affidavit of Publication. It's essential to carefully follow the instructions for each form and consult with a tax professional to ensure you meet all your legal and tax obligations.
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