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How To File A DBA In Michigan

Key takeaways

  • Familiarize yourself with the process and requirements for registering a DBA (Doing Business As) in Michigan.
  • Understand that a DBA permits you to conduct company activities under a name other than your legal name.
  • Learn about the many types of business entities recognized in Michigan, as they may impact registering a DBA.
  • Search the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) database to guarantee that your selected company name is available.
  • To register your DBA, you must file a Certificate of Assumed Name with LARA.
  • You must be aware that you may be required to post a notice of your assumed name in a local newspaper.
  • Understand that fees are connected with filing a DBA in Michigan and that these fees might vary based on the county you file in.

If you own a business in Michigan and wish to use a name apart from your official business name, you can register for a DBA (Doing Business As). A DBA allows you to use a trading name different from your official business name. Still, you must follow specific rules and processes to guarantee that your firm is legally compliant. We will walk you through creating a DBA in Michigan, including how to look for an available name, what paperwork to fill out, and what expenses to expect. Following these procedures, you may confidently register your DBA and begin operating your business under your selected name.

What is DBA?

Doing business As, often known as DBA, is a powerful tool that helps companies to unleash their creativity and ingenuity. A DBA allows business owners to take their brand identification to the next level by creating a distinctive and catchy moniker that embodies their company's mission and values. This gives up various opportunities, from creating a unique brand and marketing plan to establishing a dedicated client base. DBA registration is a quick and easy approach to establishing a distinct and recognizable presence in the market, and it may help firms stand out from the crowd. In summary, a DBA is the key to unlocking your company's full potential and propelling it to new heights.

Why do you need a DBA?

You may require a DBA (Doing Business As) for your company for various reasons. Here are a few instances:

  • To operate under a different name: You must register a DBA to utilize a trade or brand name distinct from your official business name.
  • To meet legal obligations: Depending on your state or local jurisdiction, you may be needed to lawfully establish a DBA to do business under a different name.
  • Bank account requirements: To obtain a business bank account, banks frequently request documentation of DBA registration before you can open a business bank account.
  • To build a unique brand identity: A DBA allows you to separate your personal name or legal business name from your business's brand identity.
  • To extend your business: Registering a DBA allows you to use multiple names for different sections of your firm, making expanding into new markets or product lines easier.

In brief, a DBA may assist you in developing a distinct brand identity, complying with legal obligations, and expanding your business in novel and interesting ways.

How to set up a DBA in Michigan?

You can set up a DBA (Doing Business As) in Michigan by following these steps:

  • Select a name: Select a name that another Michigan company is not using. You may check the availability of your selected name by searching the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) database.
  • Determine your business structure: Determine whether you have a single proprietorship, a partnership, or an LLC. This will define the processes required to register your DBA.
  • Fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name: Fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name. You can submit the certificate either online or by mail. Include your preferred name, business structure, and any other necessary information.
  • Publish a notification: You may be obliged to publish a notice of your assumed name in a local newspaper in several Michigan counties. Check with your county clerk's office to discover if you are subject to this requirement.
  • Pay the registration fee: In Michigan, registering a DBA requires a filing fee. The cost amount varies based on the county in which you file.
  • Renew your registration: You may need to regularly renew your DBA registration in various Michigan counties. Check with your county clerk's office to discover if you are subject to this requirement.

Michigan DBA name restrictions

There are several constraints and criteria to follow when selecting a name for your DBA (Doing Business As) in Michigan. Here are some of the important limitations:

  • Confusingly similar names: Your DBA name must be identical to the name of an existing Michigan firm. This means you should thoroughly check the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) database to confirm that the name you want is not currently in use.

  • Names that are misleading or deceptive: Your DBA name cannot be misleading or deceptive. You cannot, for example, use a name that implies your company is a government agency or linked with a certain organization if it is not.

  • Prohibited terms: Certain words and phrases are prohibited in a Michigan DBA name. For example, if your firm is not organized in this manner, you cannot include words like "corporation," "incorporated," "limited liability company," or "LLC" in your DBA name.

  • Reserved names: Michigan has reserved several names that can only be used for a DBA with specific approval. Names from banking, insurance, and other regulated businesses are among them.

Studying your DBA name carefully is critical to ensure it conforms to these constraints and requirements. If you are still determining the appropriateness of your preferred name, you should check with an attorney or business counselor.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Michigan

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To register a DBA (Doing Business As) in Michigan, you must fill out and submit a Certificate of Assumed Name to the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Here are the actions to take:

  • Download the form here: The Certificate of Assumed Name form can be downloaded from the LARA website or obtained in print form at the LARA office.
  • Provide information: The form will ask you for regular information about your company, such as your legal business name, DBA name, business structure, and contact information.
  • Sign and notarize: You must sign the form before a notary public. This is done to verify your identity and confirm that you are authorized to sign on behalf of the person or organization.
  • You may submit the form either online or via mail. If you file by mail, include the necessary filing fee and submit the form to the address on the form.

You will be permitted to do business in Michigan under your DBA name once your Certificate of Assumed Name has been completed and authorized by LARA. Remember that extra measures, such as posting a notice of your assumed name in a local newspaper, may be required in some counties in Michigan. Check with your county clerk's office to determine if further procedures must be taken.

Michigan DBA filing & registration

To register a DBA in Michigan, submit a Certificate of Assumed Name to the LARA after selecting an available name that meets the state's naming requirements. Notarize the form before submitting it online or by mail with the filing fee. Before providing registration confirmation, the LARA will assess and approve the application. It is important to note that registering a DBA does not provide legal protection or ownership rights to the assumed name. Register your company name with the USPTO for additional security. Additionally, certain counties may have other DBA requirements, so check with the county clerk's office.

Michigan DBA tax considerations

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When applying for a DBA in Michigan, examining the tax ramifications of having a different name for your firm is critical. Here are some critical tax concerns to remember:

  • Sales tax: If your company sells products or services in Michigan subject to sales tax, you must register for a sales tax license with the Michigan Department of Treasury. Sales tax should be collected and remitted on all taxable transactions under your legal business and DBA names.

  • Income tax: Even if you operate under a DBA name, your company must submit a Michigan Business Tax Return using its legal name.

  • Employer taxes: If your company employs people, you should get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and record all earnings and payroll taxes under your legal business name. Under your legal business name, you must also submit quarterly tax returns and make payroll tax contributions.

  • Other taxes: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to pay additional taxes or fees when operating under a DBA name in Michigan. For instance, if you are running a restaurant, you may be required to get a food service license and pay an annual license fee.

When operating under a DBA name in Michigan, speaking with a tax specialist is critical to understand your unique tax requirements. You may avoid fines and preserve the long-term profitability of your firm by adhering to all applicable tax rules and regulations.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Michigan?

The cost of registering a DBA in Michigan varies according to your county. In most counties, the filing fee for a Certificate of Assumed Name is $10, while certain counties may impose a higher amount.

There is an extra $4.50 processing charge if you file online using the Michigan Business One Stop website. If you choose to file by mail, you must include a check or money order for the filing fee payable to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).


To summarize, registering a DBA in Michigan is a simple process that may assist small business owners in developing a distinct brand identity and operating under a name other than their registered business name. Before applying for a DBA, you should investigate Michigan's naming limits and criteria and make sure that another company doesn't currently use the name you want. Once you've decided on a name, you may apply for a Certificate of Assumed Name and pay the filing fee with the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

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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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