How to File a DBA in Utah: Complete 3 Step Process
A DBA name (a "doing business as" name) is any name a business uses that is different from its legal name. In Utah, if you do business under a name other than your company's legal name, you must register it with the state's division of corporations.
Filing a DBA name is quick and easy in the state of Utah. Our three simple steps will walk you through what you need to do to make your business name legal. As you go through these steps, keep in mind that a DBA name is commonly called an "assumed name" under Utah law and on government websites.
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Why File a DBA Name in Utah?
You need to file an assumed name registration any time you want to do business under a name that differs from your company's legal name.
If you are already running a business, you might decide to sell a new product or service under a different name. To do this, you will need to register an assumed name with the state of Utah.
Take, for example, a business owner named Pat who runs a clothing company as a sole proprietorship. If Pat would like to open a seperate dry-cleaning business under the name “Pat's Cleaners," this name must be registered with the state.
If you already have an LLC, partnership, or corporation, you might want to do business under a name that is different from the name you registered with the state. An assumed name can be useful if you would like to offer a different product or service or expand into a different geographical area. To do this legally, you must register your assumed name.
If you neglect to register your new business name, you could run into unwanted legal hassles. According to title 42 of Utah's statutes, your business cannot file or respond to a lawsuit under an unregistered assumed name. You may also have to pay a late fee for failing to register the name. Registering your assumed name is easy in the state of Utah. It's a good idea to do so right away to prevent expense and inconvenience.
Does a DBA Provide any Legal Protection?
No. An assumed name is helpful for branding purposes, but it is not an actual business entity. You do not receive a business license, a trademark, or any liability protection simply by registering your assumed name.
If you are just starting your business, you will need to form a new business entity. A limited liability company (LLC) is a good choice for most new businesses. LLCs are flexible and simple to create. However, if you have a large number of investors, or would like to issue stock, you will need to incorporate.
Both corporations and LLCs are limited liability entities. If you have an LLC or a corporation, you receive liability protection for your personal assets. This means that your house, vehicles, and other personal property have protection from debts, lawsuits, or other obligations that could arise in the course of business. You will not receive these protections if you have a sole proprietorship.
If you start an LLC or a corporation, you should consider getting a business credit card for minor expenses. This can help to protect your limited liability status by keeping your personal finances separate from your company's costs.
When you form an LLC or corporation in Utah, you receive an employer identification number (an EIN). This is like a Social Security Number for a business. The IRS uses this number to identify companies for tax purposes. Further, you can open a bank account for your company and hire employees using an EIN.
If you run your business as a sole proprietorship, you will need to apply for an EIN if you would like to hire employees. If you do not have employees, you can run a sole proprietorship and pay your business taxes under your own Social Security Number.
Step 1: Conduct a Utah DBA Name Search
Your Utah assumed name must be unique, and it must follow the Utah business name requirements. To see if your name is unique, you should start by running a search on Utah's business name search website. After doing this, you should do a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO's) trademark database. This will help you avoid infringing on another company's federal trademark rights.
Next, you should do a quick screening search on the internet. Just type your assumed name into your favorite search engine to see if there are any matches. To avoid infringing on another company's unregistered trademark, you should choose a name that is unique and that you cannot easily find on the internet. If you plan on using your assumed name for a website, you should also check the domain name availability.
Remember that filing an assumed name registration does not secure federal trademark rights for that name. If you would like stronger protection for your company's name nationwide, you should consider applying for federal trademark protection. To be successful, you will need to have a name that is distinctive. The USPTO offers further information to help you understand what makes a strong trademark.
Utah Naming Requirements
When it comes to assumed names, there are several restrictions and requirements under Utah law. In addition to requiring uniqueness, these rules generally prevent businesses from claiming incorrect affiliations and statuses. Your trade name must:
- Be different from any other trademark or registered name in the state of Utah
- Not imply that your business's purpose is one other than the purpose you named in the application
- Not contain any words that would confuse the business with a state agency
- Not indicate that you are affiliated with the United States Olympic committee. The exception to this would be if you have special written permission from the Olympic Committee.
- Not contain an incorrectly used business entity suffix. This would include inc., incorporated, LLC, or any variation of these.
- Not contain the following words: institute, institution, university, or college. If you need to use one of these words, you will need to seek written permission from the Division of Consumer Protection.
Step 2: Register Your DBA with the Division of Corporations
After you have completed a thorough search and are satisfied that your assumed name is unique, you can go ahead and register it.
You can register your assumed name online through Utah's business registration website. If you have not used this service before, you will need to create a new account using your email address.
If you would prefer filing by mail, you can fill out the assumed name registration form, print it, then mail or fax it to the division of corporations. You can find their contact information on their website.
Your assumed name registration will require some basic company information. This business information should be easy to gather. You will need to provide:
- Your requested assumed name
- Your business's purpose
- Your business entity's number if it is already a registered business
- Contact information for your business, the owners, and the registered agent
In addition to these business details, you will need to submit a $22 filing fee to complete your application.
Step 3: Renew Your DBA
After you have filed your assumed name, the registration is valid for a period of three years under Utah law. You should receive a notice warning you of your assumed name expiration. But it's a good policy to file your renewal early so you don't risk expiration. You can renew your DBA at the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code website.
If you fail to renew your assumed name, the division of corporations will eventually move your name onto an inactive name list. To avoid this, you should mark your calendar to renew your assumed name registration before the three-year anniversary of filing.
If something comes up and you need to make modifications to your assumed name registration, you can do this online too.
Use a Simple Process To Register Your DBA
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If you would like some additional assistance with business names, business structures, licenses, or other issues, a local business attorney can help.
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