Alabama fictitious name registration is required when an Alabama company plans to conduct business under a different name than it has already registered. In most states, this is known as a "doing business as," or DBA.

In the state of Alabama, it is mandated by law that your business already be using the other name you want to use when you file a DBA. This is a distinguishing characteristic for the state of Alabama. In most other states, you can't operate a business under a DBA name until the proper registration has taken place.

Since you can use a DBA name without first having to register it in the state of Alabama, this means you only need to file a DBA if you are a foreign entity that wants to do business under a different name. Because of this, sole proprietors along with general partnerships are exempt from having to file for a DBA. If you are operating a corporation or a limited liability company, however, you will need to file for a DBA. This also applies to limited partnerships.

How to File for a DBA in Alabama

Just the same as other states, the first step you need to take when filing a DBA in Alabama is to conduct a search to make sure the name is not in use by another company. Once it has been verified that the name is not being used by another company, you can then fill out an Application for Registration of Foreign Corporate Name. The verification to ensure the name is not being used by another company takes place by doing a search in the Government Records Inquiry System.

How to Start the Process for a DBA

There are several ways you can start the process for a DBA in Alabama:

  • Call the Alabama Corporations Call Center to start the process of filing a DBA.
  • Go online and print a name reservation form and mail it in.
  • Go online and print a name reservation and fax it.

Does an Alabama Fictitious Name Registration Impact Tax Status?

It's important to note that when filing a DBA in the state of Alabama, it will not impact the tax status of your company.

Does a Business Owner Have to File for a Fictitious Business Name?

The state of Alabama is quite lenient when it comes to registering a name for your business. Most times, it is left up to you as a business owner as to whether or not you want to register a fictitious name. You don't have to if you don't want to.

You as the business owner get to decide what name you want to use when incorporating your company. For example, if your name is Zachary Robinson and you own a welding shop, and you choose to name it Robinson Welding, the state of Alabama will not consider this business name as being fictitious since your last name is part of the business name. On the other hand, if you were to choose the name of the business to be Lighting Welding, the state would then deem the name as being fictitious, so you would need to file a DBA.

Is a DBA Considered an Alias?

A DBA is commonly referred to as a trade name or an alias. It's also considered an assumed name.

Tip to Remember When Choosing Whether to File a DBA

Just because you search the state's database and determine the name you want to name your company is not being used by another business doesn't necessarily mean it's not being used. It simply means no other company has registered the name. Because of this, it's always a good idea to file a DBA for your company's trade name to ensure all other businesses are aware that you are using the name. It also helps mitigate instances of trademark infringement.

Registering a DBA can also prove beneficial if you are involved in a lawsuit because it will help you show that you were the first entity to register the name.

If you don't want to go online to download the proper DBA form, you can call 334-242-5324 and speak with a staff member at the Business Services Department. Simply ask for the form to be mailed to you, and then you can mail it back in.

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