Archive for March, 2013
Whether you are a sole proprietor or an LLC or corporation, if you do business under a name other than your own (or that of your LLC or corporation), Virginia law requires you to register that doing business as (DBA) name, also referred to as a fictitious business name. There are many reasons why business owners use a name other than their own and often depends on the form of entity.
For example, a sole proprietor may want to use a different name so that they can market under something that sounds more "business like" than just their individual name. A corporation or limited liability company (LLC) may want to use marketing that is more in line with their product name rather than their company name. But regardless of the motivation, Virginia law requires registration and this post is intended to describe the process of registering your DBA/fictitious name in Virginia.
There are three basic steps involved:
- First, you need to file a document called a "Certificate of Fictitious or Assumed Name" in the Circuit Court of the Virginia county or city in which you intend to use your DBA. This can be done by mail or in-person but keep in mind that the county and city process for this can vary from location to location. For that reason, it is a good idea to call the Clerk's office for that specific Circuit Court, or visit their web site, to see if they require the use of a specific form or allow you to draft your own. The Certificate must either be notarized or witnessed by a Clerk to be valid. There is a filing fee that is due with the Certificate, which also may vary from place to place. If you are a sole proprietor, the process stops here and you're done. If you're an entity (LLC or corporation), you need to move on to step two…
- Once you have filed the Certificate, you need to obtain a certified copy of that Certificate from the Circuit Court. This can be done at the time of filing and usually adds a fee of $2.50 or so to the cost.
- Mail the certified copy of the Certificate to the Virginia State Corporation Commission with a check for $10. This places the DBA on file with the State Corporation Commission so that if someone searches it, they will see that your company has registered it.
The State Corporation Commission will send you a receipt for your filing, which you should keep with your company records.And you're now ready to promote that DBA name.