How to Register a DBA in Wyoming (Step-by-Step Guide)
Starting a new business in Wyoming can be stressful. There are countless legal terms to learn and many forms to fill in. This can be especially stressful for small business owners who might not have dedicated admin staff to help with these tasks. One of the most important decisions many small businesses and startups will make in their early stages is naming their business. A well-thought-out name can be an excellent marketing tool that can go some way to dictating the success of your business. This article will look at DBAs. We will unpack what a DBA means, its advantages and disadvantages, when and if your business may need one, and how you can apply for one in Wyoming. This article will simplify what can be a difficult and jargon-heavy process.
What is a DBA?
The DBA acronym, meaning “doing business as,” refers to a company or individual conducting business operations under a fictitious name. They are also referred to as “fictitious business names,” “assumed names,” and “trade names.”
DBAs are viable if a business wants to use a more marketable trade name than its official title. A DBA allows a business to use a different name while still being legally accountable for the business under its legal name.
For instance, if John Smith operates a sole proprietorship that sells handmade candles, he can register a DBA name, such as “The Candle Co. by John,” to promote his products and services instead of using his own name.
The process for registering a DBA varies by state. Generally, the process involves
- Selecting a unique business name
- Verifying its availability
- Filing the appropriate forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or county clerk’s office.
- Paying a filing fee associated with the registration process.
Wyoming DBA name registration
Choose your name
First, you have to choose a name for your business. When thinking of a name, it is important to stay compliant with the state regulations to clear the first hurdle of the DBA process. Wyoming has published a guide on” “How to choose a company name.”
The main points are the following:
- You must choose a unique name that is distinguishable from other businesses.
- If you choose an “inactive” name, it must have been inactive for two years.
- You cannot use entity suffixes such as “LLC” or “Inc.” unless that business is an LLC or corporation.
- Department of Education approval is needed for words like “academy,” “college,” “education,” and “school.”
- Division of Banking approval is needed for words like “bank,” “banker,” and “trust.”
Check name availability
You must confirm that your proposed name is unique and distinguishable. To do this, go to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website and conduct a business search. You must consider a different name if your name is already in use.
After you have chosen your name and confirmed that it is unique, we recommend buying the website of your new name. A business site is a useful marketing tool, and if you are not quite ready to start your website, buying the domain prevents others from using it.
Register your name
Before you file your trade name forms, you have to make sure that:
- The trade name should be in use before registration.
- If the applicant is a business entity, it should be registered and in good standing with the Wyoming Secretary of State before applying for the trade name.
- The application for the registration of a trade name must comply with Wyoming statutes 40-2-101 through 40-2-109.
The trade name application form has to be filled in and mailed in. The form can be completed digitally, but there is no option to email or complete the form online.
The form will require the following information:
- Trade name to be registered
- Name of applicant
- Business and mailing address
- Business Entity
- Nature of business
Before you submit your form, it is important to:
- Have your forms signed and notarized.
- Ensure forms are complete. The Secretary of State’s Office cannot process incomplete forms.
When you have confirmed your forms are complete, you must mail them to the following:
Wyoming Secretary of State
2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 700
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0020
Pay your filing fees
Include a filing fee of $100 payable to the Wyoming Secretary of State when you submit your forms.
Payment can be made through a check or money order.
Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA
- Your trade name is valid for ten years and must be renewed six months before expiration.
- The renewal fees are $50.
- Complete the renewal form and mail it to the secretary of state.
- If you wish to change your trade name, you must withdraw your old registration and complete a new form.
- If you want to cancel your name, you must complete the cancellation of trade name form.
- The cancellation fee is $10.
- The completed form must be mailed to the secretary of state.
Obtain an EIN
The IRS distributes Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) to businesses across the USA for tax purposes.
Sole proprietors do not need to apply for EINs; they can use their social security number as their tax id.
However, if a company employs staff or has a separate business bank account, it will require an EIN.
One can obtain an EIN online or by mail application.
Open a business bank account
Once you have received your EIN, you can open a business bank account in your newly registered name.
Maintaining a distinct business account allows you to differentiate your business finances from your personal assets, making receiving check and credit card payments easier.
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?
The following groups may benefit from filing a DBA:
- Sole proprietors: Business owners who operate without creating a separate legal entity. A DBA allows them to use a different name for marketing their products or services, allowing them to adapt to market changes more effectively.
- Partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a name other than their partners’ names. Filing a DBA can help partners represent their partnership and increase brand recognition.
- Corporations: Companies that wish to use a name different from their legal name or diversify their business activities under multiple names. For example, suppose a corporation has a subsidiary that sells software named “Tech Solutions LLC” but also wants to sell hardware. In that case, it can file a DBA for “Tech Hardware” to differentiate between the two business activities.
Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?
A DBA is required when:
- You wish to operate your business under a name different from your personal or your company’s legal name.
- You want to use a more memorable, descriptive, or marketable name for your products or services.
- Your business is a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, or LLC that plans to conduct business under multiple names.
- You want to test new products or markets without altering your legal name.
When might a DBA not be needed? A DBA may not be necessary if:
- You operate your business under your personal or your company’s legal name.
- You are a single-owner LLC that does not need to do business under a name different from your name or the legal name of your LLC.
How long does it take to process a DBA?
Processing time is currently 15 business days.
If I am in a rush, is there an expedited service?
Currently, there is no expedited service in Wyoming.
Is a DBA mandatory in Wyoming?
DBAs are not mandatory in Wyoming.
Can I reserve a name in advance?
Yes, names can be reserved in advance. To reserve a name, complete this form and return it to the secretary of state. It costs $30 to reserve a name and is reserved for 120 days.
Do I have to advertise my DBA in a local newspaper?
It is not necessary to advertise your new DBA name. Some states mandate this, but Wyoming is not one of these. However, there are many associated benefits to advertising your name.
Can I file my DBA online?
All DBA filing is completed with the secretary of state and must be mailed in. There is no option to complete forms on the Wyoming e-portal.
Find out how to register a DBA in your state
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