When setting up a business, legal responsibility applies to the name of the business, and most states require companies to formally register for a fictitious business name, or "DBA" (doing business as) in order to operate under a name other than the owner's legal name. For business owners in Dallas, understanding the rules and regulations surrounding the DBA filing process and how to successfully obtain a fictitious business name is essential. Here are the top 5 things to consider when filing for a fictitious business name in Dallas.

1. Understand the Requirements

In Dallas, as in most jurisdictions, a DBA must be applied for and approved before any business can legally operate under a fictitious business name. To do this, business owners must register the name with their local county office, or with the State of Texas. In Dallas, the process requires the applicant to submit a completed Form 502, "Application for Fictitious Name" to the Dallas County Clerk. The form should include the business's name, the address of the business, and the names of all of the people or entities involved in the business.

2. Research the Availability of Your Name

Before applying for a DBA, business owners should make sure that the name they've chosen is available. In Dallas, business owners can do this by searching the county clerk's website for existing DBA filings. Business owners should also conduct an extensive trademark search to ensure that their desired name isn't already being used by another business. A trademark search can be conducted with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or through an online trademark search engine.

3. Decide on Your Business Structure

When filing for a DBA, business owners must decide on their preferred business structure. In Texas, the most common structures are a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, or a corporation. When selecting a business structure, it's important to choose the option that best fits the needs of the business and provides the most liability protection for the business owner and other principals.

4. Get an EIN

After filing for a DBA, business owners must also get an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. An EIN is required for any business with more than one owner and for any business that has employees. An EIN allows a business to file taxes, open a business bank account, and obtain any other privileges or benefits that would require the company to prove its legal standing.

5. Hire an Attorney

Obtaining a DBA in Dallas can present certain legal challenges, especially for business owners who don't have experience with the process. For this reason, it's always best to consult with an attorney or a business attorney who can advise the business owner on all aspects of the DBA filing process. Not only can a business attorney help the business owner ensure that the DBA filing is completed correctly, but they can also provide input on the most suitable business structure, ensuring that the business is compliant with all relevant laws and that it's protected against potential liabilities.

By understanding the requirements, researching the business name for availability, deciding on the business structure, obtaining an employer identification number, and consulting an attorney, business owners in Dallas can successfully apply for a fictitious business name and legally operate their business.


Fictitious Business Name,

DBA Filing,

Dallas County