How To Get A DBA For An LLC In Missouri In 5 Steps 2022
Many businesses (LLCs, Corporations, or Sole Proprietors/Partnerships) utilize a different fictitious name than their legally registered name. To operate this way requires registering a Doing Business As or a DBA.
If you are a business owner in Missouri who would like to operate under a different name than your legally registered name, you must file a DBA. The great news is, filing a DBA in Missouri is simple. This guide will assist you with the process.
It is important to understand Missouri’s requirements for filing a DBA, as the laws vary from state to state. Some states require registration at the state level only, while others allow you to file with the county or city authority. However, several states require you to register your DBA with more than one government level. And certain states have the additional requirement of publishing your DBA in a newspaper or legal publishing.
Our state-specific guides will assist you with the necessary steps to file a DBA for your company in your residing state. For Missouri business owners, simply follow the steps below to register your DBA.
What Is A Missouri “Doing Business As” (DBA) Name?
A Missouri DBA (doing business as) allows sole proprietorships/partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and any other business structure to operate under a name other than the business’s legally registered name. If you wish to open a business bank account in a name other than your legal entity, registering your DBA is a requirement.
Section 417.200 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri requires anyone doing business under a name other than their legal entity to file a fictitious name registration with the Secretary of State’s office. Once approved, you can begin using your DBA as your company’s name.
How Do I Choose A DBA Name For My Missouri Business?
There are various reasons why a company may want to operate publicly under a different name. Maybe the name you originally registered your business under no longer aligns with your corporate mission, or in the case of a sole proprietor, you prefer to use a fictitious name rather than your personal name. Whatever the reason, your DBA is a critical part of your company’s brand identity. Here are a few tips to help you choose a DBA for your business:
- Ensure you pick a name that is not owned (a registered trademark) by any other business whose products or services are similar to yours.
- Check to see if the URL is available; this makes it easier for your customers to find you online. Having a name that is easy to spell and remember will also help your customers find you online.
- Pick a name that aligns with and reflects your company’s vision, mission, and overall brand identity and messaging.
- Choose a scalable name. You may wish to expand your products or services in the future; having a name that can scale with your business, and doesn’t limit you, will make this growth easier.
Choosing a unique and memorable name is critical to differentiate your business from the competition. While choosing your name, start by checking Missouri’s business entity database to see if other local businesses are already using your desired DBA name. A critical step (as mentioned above) is ensuring you don’t select a name that will infringe on a registered trademark. Use the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) search tool to verify your desired name isn’t registered by a company whose products and services are in the same market/categories as yours.
Missouri has several guidelines for fictitious names.
Your DBA must comply with the following:
- Don’t use a name that is already being used by another business, or a name that is similar to one already in use.
- Your fictitious name should not include any phrase or word that implies your business represents a government agency.
- If your company is a limited liability company, a corporation, or a partnership, you are free to include suffixes such as inc., corp LLC, Ltd among others, after your DBA name. If not, do not include a business entity suffix after your fictitious name.
- Your fictitious name should not contain phrases or words that imply your business is a financial institution. Avoid picking names that include words like “Bank,” “Trust,” and “Savings.” That said, it is important to seek legal advice.
How Do I Register A DBA In Missouri?
Registering a DBA name in Missouri is a straightforward process. Here is a step-by-step guide to obtaining a DBA name for your Missouri business.
Step 1: Form your business
Registering and doing business under a fictitious name is not the same as forming a business. If you register a fictitious name without first registering your business as an LLC, corporation, or other legal entity types, Missouri will recognize your business as a sole proprietorship.
Step 2: Pick a name for your DBA
Once you have registered your legal entity, you can proceed with your DBA registration. Use the tips above to select a memorable and unique name that aligns with your company’s vision and mission.
Step 3: Conduct a name search
As mentioned above, use the following tools to ensure your name complies with Missouri’s DBA guidelines, doesn’t infringe on a registered trademark, and isn’t in use in Missouri.
- Missouri’s business entity database
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Missouri’s Office of the Secretary of State’s DBA guidelines
Step 4: File your registration
You can register your DBA online or via email with Missouri’s Office of the Secretary of State. Visit the Missouri online portal. Fill out the “Registration of Fictitious Name form to file online or download the forms and submit them via email or mail.
You will be required to provide basic information, including:
- DBA name being registered
- Business address
- Names and addresses of owners
- Percentage ownership of each owner
- Original signature of owners
Step 5: Send your registration
As mentioned before, you can fill out the form online or download it and send it via email or mail. Whichever way you choose to send the registration, you must include a $7 Missouri filing fee.
The mailing and branch office addresses are as follows:
- Corporations Unit
James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
- Corporations Unit
600 W Main St.
Missouri State Information Center, Room 322
Jefferson City, MO 65101-0778
- U.S. Customs & Post Office Building
815 Olive Street, Suite 150
St. Louis, MO 63101
- Kansas City State Office Building
615 E. 13th St., Fifth Floor, Rm 513
Kansas City, MO 64106
- Springfield State Office Building
149 Park Central Sq., Rm 624
Springfield, MO 65806
After Filing Your Missouri DBA
Once you have filed your Missouri DBA registration form, there is a 1–4-week processing period. After you receive the confirmation, you can start using your DBA name as your assumed name.
If your fictitious name registration marks the beginning of your business journey, then you still have a few more steps to take before you can start using your name. These steps may vary depending on the type of business you are launching, but could include:
- Creating a logo, website, social media pages, and other marketing tools
- Open a business banking account
- Get business insurance
Once you have registered your Missouri DBA, you will need to maintain the registration. This requires filing a renewal every six months (there is a $7 renewal fee).
If you need to amend or correct any information associated with your DBA, including address and other contact information, you’ll have to file an amendment and pay a $7 amendment fee. To correct errors on a recently filed application, use the “Registration of Fictitious Name form.
If there is a change in ownership of a business with an existing DBA name, Missouri requires you to cancel the existing DBA registration. The new owners must then re-file. To cancel your fictitious business name, file a “Cancellation of Registration of Fictitious Name” form. This must be done in compliance with the fictitious name act.
Following the guide above will ensure your Missouri DBA registration will go smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A DBA name is not a business entity and therefore is not required to have a separate EIN or Tax ID. Your EIN or Tax ID will remain the same as your legal entity’s.
Registering a Missouri DBA requires a $7 filing fee. You will be required to pay a renewal fee of $7 every six months. Any corrections or updates to your registration will also cost $7.
If you plan to operate your business under a name different from your legal entity, you will need a DBA. For instance, if you want to operate your business using the name “John’s Wood Carving” and your LLC is registered under the name “John Smith, LLC”, you will need to register “John’s Wood Carving” as a DBA.
The Fictitious Name Act does not offer any name protection. Other businesses can use the same name you are using elsewhere around the country. If you wish to protect your name, you will have to register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (a trademark attorney can assist with this process).
You can have as many DBAs as you want in Missouri as long as each name complies with the state requirements. You can also create multiple DBA names to specify and distinguish product lines.
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- Uspto.gov. (2018). Search trademark database. [online] Available at: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/search [Accessed 27 Nov. 2021].
- John R.Ashcroft, SEARCHING FOR A BUSINESS ENTITY A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO USING THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S ONLINE BUSINESS FILING SYSTEM (RegSys).[online] Available at: https://www.sos.mo.gov/CMSImages/Business/SearchingforEntitiy.pdf
- Justia Law. (2019). 2019 Missouri Revised Statutes :: Title XXVI – Trade and Commerce :: Chapter 417 – Trademarks, Names and Private Emblems :: Section 417.210 Registration, when and how — contents — cancellation of fictitious name — ownership reflected in registration, when — registration effective and expiration dates — renewals, contents, effective date. [online] Available at: https://law.justia.com/codes/missouri/2019/title-xxvi/chapter-417/section-417-210/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2021].