DBA Form 201 Instructions

Small businesses have often been called the backbone of the American economy. Indeed, small businesses comprise the majority of businesses in the nation. To be recognized as a small business owner, an individual in the state of New York must fill out a legal form designating himself as the sole proprietor of the business. Any person who plans to conduct businesses for profit under a name other than her own must file several copies of Form 201, the “doing-business-as” form, which legitimizes the business operation.

When and What to File

Individuals who seek to make profit from a business by an “assumed” name or as a business entity must file Form 201. The business certificate will list your name as the sole proprietor and the name under which you are doing business. The name of your business is often called a DBA, or “doing business as,” which indicates that the business is controlled by a sole proprietor and does not include any other owners. Any store that sells business forms will have Form 201 for sale. You need to purchase three copies, as copies must be filed to the clerk’s office and the bank, with the final copy available for display at your business.

Naming Your Business

Although filing a business certificate will give you a certain amount of freedom in choosing a name, you may not choose a name for your business that implies more than one owner. The list of words you cannot use in such a business changes frequently. You may not, for example, use words such as corporation, LTD or limited, incorporated, group or consultants. Moreover, you cannot designate your business as a limited liability corporation or partnership. Before you file, research the names that you may not use; otherwise, you risk wasting money on the forms!

Filing Form 201

To file your Form 201, you need to have the copies of the form notarized near the bottom, beneath the acknowledgment you are required to sign. You can then take the papers to the county clerk’s office and pay a fee (in cash or by money order or credit card) for certification. As of 2009, fees are usually $120 for the filing, plus $10 for the certification of each copy. You must file all forms in the county where your business is based.