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In California, a corporation or partnership must file for a "doing business as" name, or DBA, if it operates under a name other than its legal name. A sole proprietorship must file for a DBA if it uses a name that does not include the owner's surname, according to the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. You only have 40 days after your business launch to file for your DBA.
Considerations Before Filing
File your fictitious name in the county in which your business is located. If you have, or plan to have, multiple locations, you must file in the city or county of your principal place of business. If your principal place of business is out of the state, you must register in Sacramento County.
The Filing Process
Obtain the DBA registration form from your county clerk's office or download the form from the county clerk's website. The registration form, which varies by county, requires basic mailing information, the location of your business, your "doing business as" name, the names and locations of any co-owners, and the status of your business, such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability corporation. Registrants must also submit a notarized Affidavit of Identity and a registration fee. All forms and fees can be delivered by mail or in person with a valid ID. For four consecutive weeks, you must publish the information in a local newspaper. Within 30 days of the last publication, file a publication affidavit with the county clerk.
- Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development: Registering a Fictitious Name
- Legal Zoom: California DBA/Business Names
- Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk: Affidavit of Identity Form Requirement (AB 1325)
- City and County of San Francisco: Office of the County Clerk: Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Filing Instructions
Nicole Manuel is a finance and economics writer with a degree in economics and more than six years of professional writing experience. She is also a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) known as The Personal Eco-nomist, who specializes in helping people live healthy, abundant lives on a budget.