How to Register a DBA in Nevada (Step-by-Step Guide)
Starting a new business can be a daunting task. There are many legal terms to learn and countless important decisions to make. One of the most important decisions is naming your business. A well-thought-out name can be an excellent marketing tool and give you an advantage over your competitors. This article will look at what a DBA means, why and if you might need one, and a step-by-step guide to applying for one in Nevada.
What is a DBA?
DBA is an acronym for “doing business as,” which describes companies or individuals who operate under a name different from their legal name. A DBA name is often called an assumed name, fictitious business name, or trade name.
For example, if Susan Lee owns a sole proprietorship that provides pet grooming services, she can register a new name, such as “Paws and Claws Pet Grooming,” to market her products and services instead of using her own name.
Sole proprietors, general partnerships, and corporations often register if they want to use a fictitious name that better describes their services or products or if they simply want to use a different name.
The process of registering varies from state to state. Usually, it involves:
- Choosing a unique name
- Confirming its availability
- Filing the proper forms with the relevant government agency
- Paying the fees incurred
Nevada DBA name registration
Choose your name
The first step is to think of a name for your business. You must follow the naming regulations in Nevada to ensure you clear the first hurdle. A full list of regulations can be found here, but here are the main considerations:
- Do not use any business entity suffix such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is an LLC, corporation, etc.
- Certain words are restricted and require approval from the relevant state agency:
- Approval given by the Nevada State Board of Accounting is required for words such as accountant, accountancy, accounting, auditor, auditing, certified public accountant, and CPA.
- Approval from the Nevada Commissioner of Financial Institutions is required for financial words such as bank, banc, Banque, savings & loan, etc.
- Approval from the State Commissioner of Insurance is required for insurance-related words such as adjuster, indemnity, reinsurance, etc.
- Approval from the Commissioner of Mortgage Lending is required for words such as financial, mortgage, and mortgage banking.
- The State Board of Professional Engineers requires approval for words such as engineer.
- Approval from the State Board of Architecture, Interior Design, and Residential Design is required for architecture-related words.
- Approval from the Administrator of the Real Estate Division of the Department of Business and Industry is required for words such as community association and homeowners’ association.
- Approval from the Ombudsman is required for words such as common-interest community.
- Approval is required to use the following words: college, university, and higher education.
Check name availability
Once you have chosen your name and complied with Nevada law, you can search to see if your name is taken.
Although names do not need to be unique in Nevada, choosing a unique name has many benefits.
To search for business names in use in Nevada, go to SilverFlume, Nevada’s business portal, and conduct a business search.
Once you have checked the state-wide search, we recommend checking with your county clerk to see if the name is in use.
Once you have decided on your name, we recommend buying the web domain of your new business name. Even if you are not ready to launch your website, buying the domain prevents others from using it, and it will be a useful marketing tool in the future.
Register your name
DBA names in Nevada are often referred to as fictitious firm names. Filing your name is done at the local level. Although filing is done locally, DBA regulations are managed by the state. This means that the filing process is similar across all counties.
Identify which county you need to apply with. You need to apply in every county in which you do business. Use this list to find the information you need.
The process of applying for your fictitious firm name in Clark County is slightly different depending on your business type.
Fictitious firm names must be registered by mail or in person, and there is no option to file online in Clark county. The form must be mailed or turned in at the clerk’s office.
There is a form for each business type;
- Fictitious name
- Company name
- Address and contact details
It is important to note that the same form is used for renewals, so check the new certificate box at the top of the form.
When you have filed in the form mail or deliver it in person to:
Clark County Clerk’s Office
Regional Justice Center, 5th Fl.
200 Lewis Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Clark County Clerk’s Office
P.O. Box 551604
Las Vegas, NV 89155-1604
Pay your filing fees
The DBA filing fees depend on which county you file in.
To file your name certificate costs $25.
Each certified copy costs $6, whereas an uncertified copy costs $0.50.
Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA
Your county sets the process of renewing, amending, or withdrawing your DBA.
- Your new fictitious name is valid for five years.
- After five years, you must renew it for a fee of $25.
- If you want to amend your DBA, you must file a new form.
- If you are merely changing an address or contact details, use this form.
- If you want to withdraw your name, file this withdrawal form, it will cost $20.
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.
However, you should apply for an EIN if you hire employees or plan to open a business bank account. This can be done 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 checks and credit cards as payment.
- Naming regulations can be found here
- Nevada business search
- List of county clerks
- Nevada DBA Statute
- Clark County list of FFN forms
- Clark County – certificate of assumed or fictitious name – sole proprietor
- Clark County – certificate of assumed or fictitious name – partnerships
- Clark County – certificate of assumed or fictitious name – registered entities
- Clark County – general information
- Clark County – amend the address
- Clark County – terminate fictitious name
Advantages and disadvantages of a DBA
There are many advantages to registering a DBA:
- Customizable name: A DBA can be altered more quickly than a legal business name, allowing business owners to change their name according to their evolving products and services or market conditions. It also allows multiple names to target different products and markets, increasing the scope and customer base.
- Clear financial separation: Filing for a DBA allows business owners to establish a business bank account under the company name instead of a personal account. This separation allows for more transparent financial records, prevents confusion, and protects personal assets. It also makes it easier to receive cheques and card payments.
- Brand recognition: A well-crafted DBA name is often more descriptive and memorable than a legal name. It helps in brand recognition, business promotion, and marketing and advertising the products or services easier.
- Cost-effective: DBA registration is usually less expensive than other business structures, such as limited liability companies (LLCs). It is a more affordable option for small business owners and entrepreneurs that want to create a unique identity without spending too much money.
However, there are a few downsides to registering a DBA:
- Personal liability: DBAs do not provide legal protection or personal liability protection, meaning that the business owner is personally responsible for all debts, obligations, and lawsuits related to the business. It exposes the owner to the risk of personal bankruptcy, as the owner is solely responsible.
- Legal and administrative burden: Using a DBA name requires registering the name with the relevant government agency, which can be time-consuming. The legal and administrative burden increases with multiple DBAs, requiring the owner to maintain and update legal documents periodically.
Who needs a DBA?
- Sole proprietors: These individuals own businesses without creating a separate legal entity. A DBA can help them use a different name for marketing their products or services and provide them with more flexibility to adapt to market changes.
- Partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than their names. Filing a DBA allows partners to enhance brand recognition.
- Corporations: Business entities that want to use a name different from their legal name or conduct business activities under multiple names. For instance, a corporation with a subsidiary that sells software named “Tech Solutions LLC” but wants to sell hardware can file a DBA for “Tech Hardware” to distinguish the two business activities.
- Limited liability companies (LLCs): These flexible business structures allow owners to limit personal liability and protect their assets. LLCs can also register 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:
- Operating under a different name: If you plan to use a name that differs from your legal or company name, then a DBA may be necessary.
- Multiple business names: Corporations, LLCs, sole proprietorships, and partnerships that operate under numerous business names may need a DBA to keep their branding and legal structures distinct.
- Test new products or markets: A DBA can be useful for testing or entering new markets without changing your legal name.
A DBA may not be necessary if:
- Operating under the legal or personal name: A DBA may not be necessary if you operate under your or your company’s legal name.
Do I need to file with the secretary of state as well?
You do not need to file with the secretary of state. You file at the local level, and it will be then referred to the state.
How long does it take to process my DBA?
The processing time varies from one county to another. Processing can take anywhere from 7-10 business days or even more.
Do I need to advertise my DBA in a local newspaper?
Advertising your DBA in Nevada is not required, but there are many benefits to letting the local community know your intention to conduct business.
Does my new DBA give me a business license in Nevada?
A DBA doesn’t give you a business license. It merely allows you to operate under a different name. Depending on your business type, you may need to apply for extra licenses.
Do I need to notarize my forms?
Notarization depends on your county. Recently Clark county has stopped asking for the forms to be notarized. Inquire with your county clerk.
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