Some California businesses must file a DBA in order to operate legally. Not submitting a California DBA filing can have several consequences. We take a closer look at what DBA stands for, who needs it, and what happens if you fail to file.
What Does a “Doing Business As” Registration Mean?
If you’re the owner of a business but your business name doesn’t include your last name, registering a DBA will identify you as the person who owns the business. In addition, the DBA also establishes your exclusive right as the business’s owner to use the business or trade name you’ve chosen.
Does Every Business Need to File a DBA?
No; when discussing who needs a DBA, the law refers to only the following entities and circumstances:
- Sole proprietorships conducting business with a name that doesn’t contain the last name of the owner
- Partnerships using a business name that doesn’t suggest additional owners (such as “& Co.” or “& Associates”), or that don’t include the last names of each partner
- Any LLC, corporation, or limited partnership conducting business under a name not stated in the Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation they filed with the California Secretary of State
What Can Happen if You Don’t Register a Doing Business As in California?
Not filing for a DBA can have several unwanted consequences for a California business.
California statute prohibits a person from conducting business legally until and unless they have followed the DBA registration procedure. If a company that is supposed to file a DBA is found to be conducting business without one, they can incur penalties for doing so.
Your ability to open a bank account in your business’s name, as well as your ability to earn income under your business name can be prevented if you don’t file a DBA.
Without a DBA, you’ll also be unable to create multiple businesses without forming a different entity. For example, if your business has or wants multiple locations, you won’t be able to create a parent corporation and then use a single DBA for those multiple locations.
The validity and enforceability of contracts your business enters into can also be affected if you don’t file a DBA. This extends to contracts entered into by others on behalf of your business.
Finally, not registering a DBA can mean that you, or officers and other agents entering into contracts on your business’s behalf, can be found personally liable for failing to disclose the surname of the business owner.
How to Register a DBA in California
The process for filing a DBA requires several steps, including completing and submitting forms for approval. Any errors or missing information can delay the process and prevent you from opening on time.
FastFilings specializes in how to get a DBA in California. We ensure your forms are not only complete and error-free but filed directly with the issuing office, so you can focus on your business. Get started now. Just visit us online.