How to Register a DBA in Idaho (Step-by-Step Guide)
To establish a new business in Idaho, you must understand the legal requirements and acronyms that come with starting a business. One element to consider is acquiring a DBA (Doing Business As) if you intend to operate under a name that differs from your legal business name. This article will provide an overview of what a DBA means, its necessity, and the procedure to obtain one in Idaho, simplifying the process for new business owners.
What is a DBA?
The term DBA is short for “doing business as” and refers to companies or individuals who operate under a name different from their legal name.
Registering for a DBA is an option for companies that want a more marketable trade name. A DBA is often called an “assumed name” or “fictitious business name.” This allows a business to market itself under a different name while still being responsible under its legal name.
For instance, if Jane Smith owns a sole proprietorship that makes handcrafted pottery, she can register a DBA name, such as “Handcrafted Pottery by Jane,” to market her products and services instead of using her own name.
The process for registering a DBA varies by state.
- Choosing a unique name
- Verifying its availability
- Filing the proper forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or the county clerk’s office
- Paying the associated costs
Idaho DBA name registration
Choose your name
When choosing your name, staying compliant with Idaho naming guidelines is important. According to the guidelines, the assumed business name should not contain the following:
- Any business entity suffix: LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is registered as an LLC, corporation, etc.
- Any terms used to refer to financial institutions.
- Any language that falsely states or implies government affiliation.
It is important to note that sole proprietorships can register a name currently used by another business, but corporations and LLCs must select a distinctive name.
Check name availability
- Head over to the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.
- Navigate to the “Business Services” tab and then to the “Business Search” page. You can search by either name or file number.
- We recommend also looking at the “Trademark Search” page to confirm that the proposed name of your business isn’t already trademarked.
After confirming that your name is available, we recommend buying the web domain for your DBA. Buying the domain means you can launch your website when you are ready, and it prevents others from buying it up.
Register your name
You must file your DBA application at the state level.
The application will require you to provide your new DBA name and details about your business, including:
- Section 2: Names of individuals or entities conducting business under the assumed name
- Section 3: Business type
- Section 4: Mailing address for future correspondence
- Section 5: Postal Address for acknowledgment of registration (if different from #4)
If you intend to submit your form in person, go to:
Office of the Secretary of State
450 N. 4th Street
Boise ID 83702
If you’re mailing in your form, use this address:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080
Pay your filing fees
The cost of submitting your DBA is $25.
If you choose to submit in person or by mail, there is an extra fee of $20. The DBA filing fees can be paid in cash or by credit card.
Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA
- Your name does not need to be renewed as it does not expire. It remains valid until canceled by the owner.
- You can make changes or withdraw your name by filling out and returning the Cancellation or Amendment of Certificate of Assumed Business Name.
- The fee is $10, plus a $20 manual processing fee if you are not filing online.
Obtain an EIN
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues an employer identification number (EIN) to companies with employees to facilitate tax purposes.
It’s worth noting that having a DBA name doesn’t alter your legal status, so if you previously obtained an EIN, there’s no need to reapply for a new one; you can continue using your current EIN.
If you’re a sole proprietor without employees, you are able to use your social security number instead of obtaining an EIN. However, applying for an EIN can be easily done online or in person if you plan on hiring employees or opening a business bank account.
Open a business bank account
After registering your business name and getting an EIN, you can open a business bank account.
Having a dedicated bank account helps you keep your finances separate from your business finances, which is useful for tracking your financials accurately. It simplifies accepting payments in the form of checks and credit cards.
- Idaho online business filing
- Idaho assumed business name FAQs
- Certificate of assumed business
- Cancellation or amendment of certificate of assumed business name
- Idaho Secretary of State’s business search
- Idaho Secretary of State SOSbiz website
- Idaho Secretary of State’s trademark search
- EIN application
Advantages and disadvantages of a DBA
There are many advantages to registering a DBA:
- Enhanced flexibility: A DBA name can be altered or updated more quickly and efficiently than a legal business name, which allows business owners to adapt to shifts in their products, services, or market conditions with greater flexibility.
- Segregation of personal assets and business finances: Registering for a DBA allows a business bank account to be opened, allowing for using the business name on financial transactions instead of the account holder’s name. This allows the receipt and issuance of checks using the company name.
- Increased branding opportunities: A well-crafted name can be more descriptive and memorable than a legal name. This alias can help increase brand recognition and improve marketing and advertising opportunities.
- Cost-effective solution: Compared to other business structures, such as Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), registering for a DBA is generally less expensive and less complex, making it a cost-effective alternative for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
There are a few drawbacks to registering for a DBA, such as:
- Limited legal protection: Unlike other business structures, such as LLCs, DBAs do not offer personal liability protection. This can mean that the business owner is personally responsible for all debts, obligations, and lawsuits related to the business.
Who needs a DBA?
- Sole proprietors: These individuals run their businesses without forming a separate legal entity. A DBA allows them to use a different name for marketing their products or services, giving them more flexibility to adapt to changes in the market.
- General partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than the partners’ names. Partners can file a DBA to represent their partnership and increase brand recognition.
- Corporations: Companies often need to use a different name than their legal name or take on multiple names for different business activities. For instance, if a company has a subsidiary that offers landscaping services under “Green Solutions LLC” but they also want to get into selling gardening supplies, it can file a DBA for “Garden Supplies” to distinguish between the two business activities.
- Limited Liability Companies (LLCs): LLCs are flexible business structures that allow owners to limit their liability and protect their assets. However, LLCs can also file a DBA to conduct business under a different name or brand.
Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?
You would need a DBA:
- If you plan to run your business using a name that isn’t your own or your company’s legal name.
- If you want to create a more marketable, memorable, or descriptive name for your products or services.
- If you are a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC and want to conduct business under different names.
- If you want to test new products or markets without changing your legal name.
You may not need a DBA if:
- If you operate your business using your personal or company’s legal name.
- If you are a single-owner LLC, that does not need to do business under a different name than your personal name or the name of your LLC.
How long will it take to register a DBA in Idaho?
If you file online, your DBA registration will be processed within one business day. If you file by mail, it may take up to 10 business days.
Do I need to publish my DBA in a newspaper in Idaho?
No, you do not need to publish your DBA in a local newspaper in Idaho.
Do I need any other registrations or licenses for my business?
Registering a business name does not create a legal business entity, and it is not a business license. Depending on your type of business and location, you may need to register with other state agencies, such as the Idaho State Tax Commission, Idaho Industrial Commission, and Idaho Department of Labor. You may also need local permits or licenses from your city or county clerk’s office.
Can I sell my DBA to someone else?
Yes, you can sell your DBA to someone else. However, the new owner must re-register the DBA with the Secretary of State in their own name.
What happens if someone else already uses my desired DBA name in Idaho?
You must choose a different name if someone already uses your desired DBA name in Idaho. Using a name already used by another business can result in legal and financial consequences.
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