New York Business Lawyers

The Basics of the New York DBA aka “Doing Business As”

by / Wednesday, 24 March 2010 / Published in Headline, Startup & Corporate

Businesses like rock stars often want to set aside their real name and have a separate persona in the marketplace.  The typical route to do that in New York is to register and form a corporation or LLC.  Sometimes however, a single individual (aka “sole proprietor”) or partnerships do not, for whatever reason, wish to form such an entity.  And usually, a sole proprietor or a partnership carries the same name as the people in it: for example, “John Doe”, or “Jack & Jill.”  Most of us don’t want to have a business name the same as our given name.  In that case, how do businesses without business entities get their own special name?

Enter the D.B.A. or “Doing Business As” certificate.  With it, individuals, partnerships (and, as discussed below, even corporations and other entities) can do business under an alias name.

I. NEW YORK DBA EXAMPLES

  1. Fictional: An individual named Bob Seagate builds custom furniture, but does not want to call is Bob “Seagate Furniture.”  Rather with a DBA, he chooses to call it “Pandora’s Cabinet.”
  2. Real:  Cellco Partnership operates the largest wireless subscriber network n in the US better known as Verizon Wireless.

II. HOW-TO SCENARIO ONE–Individuals and Partnerships Doing Business in any New York State County

First off, individuals and partnerships cannot simply stamp DBA on their business cards.  There is a filing that is absolutely essential.  If you conduct business under an assumed name as an individual or partnership, filing a “certificate of assumed name” or “business certificate” in the county in which you conduct business is a must.  That certificate simply states the real name and the address of the business and certain miscellaneous information. See New York General Business Law Section 130(1)(a).

Many readers will be operating in New York County and will have to visit the County Clerk at 60 Centre Street.  The filing fee is $100.  More information can be found here.

III.  HOW-TO SCENARIO TWO–Registered Entities Such as Corporations and LLC’s Doing Business in New York State

There are times when a registered business entity wishes to do business under a name separate and apart from the registered business name (often a large holding company may have multiple brands and locations.)  In that case a filing with the New York State Department (as opposed to a county clerk filing above) is in order.  See New York General Business Law Section 130(1)(b).

The filing fee starts at $25 (but can get expensive), as an additional fee of $100 for each county within New York in which the entity does business is added, and an extra $25 for each county outside of New York City is added.  Instructions can be found here.

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