How to Register a DBA in Nebraska (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by Team
Last updated: June 13th, 2024
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Starting a new business can be a difficult process. There are many important decisions to make, and there is an abundance of legal jargon and acronyms to become familiar with. One of these is a DBA. A DBA is useful for many established and new businesses. This article will provide an overview of what a DBA means, if and why you need one, and a step-by-step guide to applying for one in Nebraska.

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What is a DBA?

DBA is an acronym for “doing business as,” which refers to companies or individuals who operate under a name that differs from their legal name. It is often called a “fictitious business name” or “trade name.” It allows a business to market itself under a different name while still being legally responsible under its legal name. 

For instance, if John Smith owns a sole proprietorship offering financial services, he can register a DBA name, such as “Financial Services by John,” to market his products and services instead of using his own name.

Sole proprietors, general partnerships, and corporations often register for a DBA if they plan to use a fictitious name that better describes their services or products or if they want to use a different name altogether. 

The process for registering a DBA varies by state, but the protocol is usually:

  1. Choosing a unique business name
  2. Confirming its availability
  3. Filing the proper DBA forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or the county clerk’s office
  4. Paying the DBA filing fees

Nebraska DBA name registration

Choose your name

The first step is to choose the name of your business. Nebraska has some naming guidelines that it is important to keep across as you think of your new name.

According to the information provided on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website, the following are the requirements for business names in the state of Nebraska:

  • The name must be distinguishable: The name must not be the same or too similar to the name of an existing business in the state.
  • The name must not be misleading: It must not be misleading in any way, such as suggesting that the business provides services that it does not.
  • The name must include a designator: The name must include a designator that indicates the type of business entity, such as “LLC,” “Corporation,” or “Ltd.”
  • The name must not contain prohibited words: The name must not contain words prohibited by law, such as “bank” or “insurance,” without proper authorization.
  • The name must not contain profanity: The name must not contain profane or offensive language.
  • The name must not violate any trademark or copyright laws: The name must not infringe upon any existing trademarks or copyrights.

Check name availability

Once you have decided on your name and ensured it meets the naming requirements, you must check to see if it is already in use.

Use the Nebraska Secretary of State website’s corporate and business search function to check if your name is in use.

Once you have confirmed that your name is available, we recommend buying the web domain for your new name. Buying a web domain will allow you to create your business website later. It prevents others from buying the same domain and will be a useful marketing tool when you are ready to use it.

Register your name

Your Nebraska name can be filed both online or by filling in a hard copy.

The application will ask for your new trade name and general information about your business:

  • Type of business (individual, corporation, LLC, etc.)
  • Where the business was formed
  • Date of first use in Nebraska
  • General nature of business

If you have chosen to fill in a hard copy, you need to mail your completed forms to the following address:

Secretary of State’s Office
Business Services Division (Corporations)
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509

Pay your filing fees

The DBA filing fees are dependent on whether you file in-office or online.

If you file in-office, the fee is $110; if you file online, the fee is $100.

Advertise your new name

Nebraska requires that you publish a legal notice of your trade name in a local newspaper. This needs to be published after your name is registered.

The notice needs to serve the location of your principal place of business. If you conduct business in a small settlement without a local newspaper, you can advertise in a newspaper in the county where your business is located.

The information in the notice must contain the exact trade name on your application.

After publication, you will receive an affidavit of publication. This must be filed with the secretary of state within 45 days of registering your name.

You can file the affidavit online or mail it to:

Secretary of State’s Office
Business Services Division (Corporations)
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509

You must file the affidavit within 45 days as required by the law. If you don’t, the Secretary of State’s office will cancel the registration of your Trade Name according to the law, which is found in Neb. Rev. Stat. §87-219.

Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA

Your registered name expires ten years after its registration date.

  • You cannot renew your name online and must call (402) 471-4079 to receive a renewal form. Renewal costs $110.
  • If you need to change any details on your application, you need to file an amendment form. The fee to amend your DBA is $10.
  • If you wish to withdraw your business name, you must file a voluntary request to cancel your name. You need to call (402) 471-4079 for more information on withdrawal.

Obtain an EIN

An EIN (employer identification number) is issued by the IRS to all companies that have employees. It is used for tax purposes.

It is important to remember that a DBA doesn’t change your legal status, so if you had an EIN before, there is no need to apply for a new one, and you can continue using yours.

A sole proprietor with no employees does not need to file for an EIN, as they can use their social security number as their tax id.

However, you should apply for an EIN if you hire employees or plan to open a business bank account. This can be completed online or in person and is an easy process.

Open a business bank account

Once you have registered your name and received your EIN, you can open a business bank account.

A bank account makes it easier to separate your personal assets and finances related to your business. It also makes it easier to accept check and credit card payments.

Useful links

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, allowing business owners to adapt to shifts in their products, services, or market conditions more flexibly.
  • Segregation of personal assets and business finances: Registering for a DBA allows a business bank account to be opened, allowing the use of the business name on financial transactions instead of the account holder’s name.
  • Increased branding opportunities: A well-crafted DBA 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 is typically less expensive and less complex, making it a cost-effective alternative for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

There are also a few drawbacks to having a DBA:

  • Limited legal protection: Unlike other business structures, such as LLCs or LLPs, 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.
  • Increased Legal and Administrative Requirements: Using a new name necessitates registering the name with the appropriate government agency and complying with all legal requirements, which can be time-consuming.

Who needs a DBA?

  • Sole proprietorships: Individuals who own and operate their business without creating a separate legal entity.
  • Partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than the partners’ names.
  • Corporations and LLCs: Business entities that want to use a name different from their legal name or diversify business under multiple names.

Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?

You would need a DBA if:

  • You intend to operate your business under a name other than yours or your company’s.
  • You want a trading name that is easier to market, remember, or describe your products or services.
  • You are a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC and want to conduct business under multiple names.
  • You want to test a new product or market without changing your legal name.

You may not need a DBA if:

  • You are operating your business under your personal or your company’s legal name.
  • You are a single-owner LLC that does not need to perform business using a name other than your name or the name of your LLC.


Can I reserve a name before I file my forms?

You can reserve a name using the forms on this page. Reserving a name costs $30.

How long does it take to process my new DBA?

It takes four business days to process a DBA registration. Nebraska does not offer expedited services.

Do I need to file with my county clerk as well?

DBA registrations are completed at the state level in Nebraska. There is no need to file with your county clerk.

Do I need to apply for a business license once I have my DBA?

Certain types of businesses require extra licenses. A DBA does not give you a business license. If you are unsure if you need to apply for extra licenses, please contact the Secretary of State.

I am in a rush. Can I expedite my application? 

Nebraska does not offer any expedited services for your trade name application.

Find out how to register a DBA in your state

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