File a DBA in North Dakota – 4 Basic Steps for 2024 Guide

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    Are you curious about the importance of obtaining a DBA in North Dakota and the steps involved in its registration? Look no further, as we have all the information you need.

    The abbreviation “DBA” stands for “Doing Business As,” which allows entrepreneurs to use an alternative name for their business. This alternate name can be used for marketing, sales, and legal purposes. In some states, this is also referred to as a fictitious name, assumed name, or trade name.

    It’s important to note that a DBA doesn’t establish a formal business structure like a Limited Liability Company (LLC) does. Therefore, it doesn’t provide equivalent advantages either. Registering an LLC in North Dakota often proves more beneficial due to the tax benefits and legal protections it offers.

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    What Is a North Dakota DBA?

    In the state of North Dakota, individuals, partnerships, or corporations have the option to register a Doing Business As (DBA) name. This registration allows them to conduct business using a name different from their official legal business name. 

    Commonly referred to as a trade name or fictitious business name, filing for a North Dakota DBA typically involves submitting the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State or an appropriate agency.

    Registering for a DBA is crucial for businesses that wish to operate under an alternate name while maintaining transparency and compliance with legal requirements. 

    It’s important to note that obtaining a DBA doesn’t establish a separate legal entity; rather, it serves as a public record of the business’s chosen alternative name. This assists in identification and provides legal recognition for companies utilizing this naming practice.

    Do I Need a DBA in North Dakota?

    In order to operate legally in North Dakota, it’s mandatory for sole proprietorships, general partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), or out-of-state businesses that frequently conduct transactions in North Dakota using a name other than their legal name to submit a DBA (Doing Business As) filing with the North Dakota Secretary of State.

    Who Needs a DBA?

    In North Dakota, all individuals operating as sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, LPs, and LLPs are required to file for a Doing Business As (DBA) registration if they conduct business under a name other than their full legal name.

    The advantages of obtaining a DBA vary depending on the structure of your business and your personal preferences.

    • For New Businesses: North Dakota mandates that new ventures secure a DBA prior to commencing operations under an alternate name. However, it’s advisable for all new businesses to register a DBA.
    • Sole Proprietors: Without a DBA, the business name defaults to the proprietor’s personal name, as they and their business share the same legal identity.
    • LLCs: In North Dakota, all LLCs are obligated to register a DBA when establishing a new business entity separate from their primary LLC. Failure to do so would mean every new business entity owned by the LLC would operate under the LLC’s legal name.
    • Corporations: DBA registration provides corporations the flexibility to conduct business across different sectors. In North Dakota, corporations intending to operate under a trade name different from their corporate name must register a DBA.
    • Franchises: Franchises utilize DBAs to operate under a name distinct from their corporate identity. For instance, if you invest in a franchise like Long John Silver’s, initially formed as 4512 Long John Silver’s LLC, you would need to file a DBA in North Dakota to operate under the shortened name of Long John Silver’s.

    A Doing Business As (DBA) registration is particularly advantageous for small business owners and startups. It grants businesses the flexibility to choose any desired business name.

    By registering a DBA, entrepreneurs can avoid the costly and complex procedure of establishing a separate limited liability company solely for naming purposes.

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    Why Hire a Professional Service to File a DBA in North Dakota?

    Registering a DBA in North Dakota requires several crucial steps to ensure a successful and smooth registration process. It’s essential to avoid any mistakes during these procedures, as they could lead to application rejection or more severe consequences. 

    State authorities in North Dakota have the power to impose fines or even shut down your business if you improperly use a name in legal or business contexts.

    To alleviate uncertainties and concerns associated with the entire DBA process, professional services can be of great assistance. These services have extensive knowledge of North Dakota’s specific requirements and can help you select an appropriate name before initiating the necessary paperwork. 

    Additionally, these companies offer various services, such as LLC filing, which can prove beneficial as your business expands.

    After conducting thorough research, we have identified the top professional services that cater specifically to your DBA needs in North Dakota:

    Step 1. Start With a North Dakota Trade Name or Fictitious Name Search

    Trade names and fictitious names in North Dakota must be both unique and compliant with the state’s business name regulations.

    Begin by visiting the website of the North Dakota Secretary of State to conduct a search for your prospective DBA name, ensuring it has not already been claimed.

    Subsequently, familiarize yourself with North Dakota’s criteria for naming. It’s important to note that trade names and fictitious names in North Dakota should not contain:

    • Any suffix indicating a business entity, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is legitimately structured as such
    • Terminology suggesting the company was established for illegal purposes

    We suggest verifying the availability of your chosen name as a web domain (URL). While you may not be currently planning to launch a business website, securing the URL can prevent others from acquiring it in the future.

    Step 2. Register Your North Dakota DBA

    In North Dakota, there are two categories of Doing Business As (DBA): a fictitious name designated for partnerships and a trading name applicable to other business types such as corporations and LLCs.

    Both North Dakota trade names and fictitious names can be registered online through the North Dakota Secretary of State’s platform.

    The Trade Name Registration form necessitates the submission of the following details:

    • The trade name intended for registration
    • Type of entity seeking to register the trade name
    • Indication if the trade name will be utilized by a franchisor
    • A brief description of the business

    On the other hand, the Fictitious Partnership Name Certificate form mandates the provision of the following information:

    • The fictitious name intended for registration
    • Type of partnership involved
    • A brief description of the business
    • Names of the partners

    To register a Trade Name or Fictitious Name, you can utilize the North Dakota Secretary of State’s FirstStop website for online submission, or alternatively, download a Trade Name Form (suitable for sole proprietorships, LLCs, and Corporations) for mailing or faxing.


    $25 Filing Fee

    Submit Your Trade Name Registration ND Form:


    Secretary of State

    State of North Dakota

    600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108

    Bismarck ND 58505-0500

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    Step 3. Utilize Your DBA Name in North Dakota

    After finalizing the details of your DBA in North Dakota, it becomes essential to promote your new business or any changes made to an existing business name. The official recognition of your DBA not only enhances the status of your enterprise but also conveys a strong sense of professionalism.

    Regardless of whether North Dakota requires an official publication for fictitious names or not, local newspapers serve as effective platforms to announce your new name. Contact your county clerk’s office to gather information about any regulations you must comply with regarding duration and content.

    Most newspapers are familiar with local publishing requirements and often have predefined templates for such advertisements. Your responsibility is to provide the legal name of your business, the intended DBA name, and relevant contact information.

    The cost of publication will vary depending on the frequency you choose and the county where you operate. Once terms are agreed upon, confirm the dates when your company will be featured in the newspaper and ensure accurate publication. If any information is missing or incorrect, promptly notify the newspaper.

    Step 4. Manage Your North Dakota Trade Name or Fictitious Name

    Renewal of Your State Trade Name or Fictitious Name

    The registration for your North Dakota trade name or fictitious name is valid for five years from the registration date. Renewal forms will be sent by the Secretary of State at least 60-90 days prior to the expiration.

    Changing Your Trade Name or Fictitious Name

    To modify your trade name, you need to terminate your current registration and file for a new one.

    Cancellation of Your Trade Name or Fictitious Name

    There isn’t a specific trade name cancellation form provided by the Secretary of State. The registrant must compose a cancellation request for the trade name and submit it along with a $10 fee to the Secretary of State.

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    Best DBA Filing Services to Register Fictitious Name in North Dakota – ND DBA

    Explore top-notch services for registering a fictitious name in North Dakota.

    Business Rocket logo

    BusinessRocket presents itself as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to register a Doing Business As (DBA) in North Dakota. This platform is specifically designed to support entrepreneurs and business owners, providing them with an intuitive and user-friendly experience. 

    By simplifying the complex paperwork involved in DBA registration in North Dakota, BusinessRocket offers online tools and step-by-step guidance.

    The main goal of BusinessRocket is to streamline the entire process by helping users navigate legal requirements and ensure that their chosen business name is unique, all while adhering to North Dakota regulations. 

    Through features such as document preparation and filing assistance, BusinessRocket facilitates a seamless DBA registration process, assisting individuals in establishing their presence within the state of North Dakota.

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    Northwest Registered Agent logo

    When it comes to legal services, one can trust Northwest, a reputable company that specializes in various areas, including DBA filings in North Dakota. 

    As a registered agent service provider, Northwest offers the advantage of having a physical address in North Dakota, which meets the state’s requirements for businesses operating under an alternative name.

    Apart from assisting with DBA filings, Northwest Registered Agent also provides additional compliance services like submitting annual reports and forwarding mail. This holistic approach ensures that businesses maintain their good standing with the state while relieving owners of administrative burdens. 

    With these services taken care of by professionals, business owners can focus on growing their enterprises confidently and without distractions.

    >> Visit Northwest Registered Agent Now >>

    ZenBusiness offers a complimentary DBA name search feature specifically designed for North Dakota, enabling individuals to refine their choices effectively. Through the utilization of keywords, ZenBusiness provides numerous suggestions that users can either select directly or draw inspiration from. 

    Upon choosing a name, it takes a mere few minutes to supply ZenBusiness with the required information in order to file on behalf of the user.

    The platform maintains transparency regarding startup expenses and continues to provide assistance even after the DBA application has been submitted. It presents an extensive array of tools aimed at ensuring business compliance and can offer support in managing financial matters during tax season on an annual basis.

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    North Dakota DBA Tax Considerations

    When considering DBA (Doing Business As) filings in North Dakota, it’s important to understand that obtaining a DBA simply alters the name of the business and doesn’t impact its tax status. 

    This means that the filing of a DBA doesn’t create a separate legal entity for tax purposes, nor does it necessitate the acquisition of a distinct employer identification number. Federally, the IRS doesn’t mandate the acquisition of a separate tax ID number solely based on the filing of a DBA.

    North Dakota DBA vs North Dakota LLC

    In North Dakota, individuals or partnerships who wish to have a unique business name without creating a separate legal entity may opt for a Doing Business As (DBA) registration. This registration offers some level of protection and legitimacy to the chosen name.

    On the other hand, establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in North Dakota provides increased legal protection and structure, ensuring that personal assets of owners are shielded from business liabilities. 

    While registering as a DBA is a simpler and more cost-effective way to establish brand recognition, forming an LLC is a more comprehensive option for businesses with aspirations for growth, multiple owners, or those requiring enhanced liability protection and operational flexibility.

    Ultimately, the decision between choosing a DBA or an LLC depends on the specific needs and ambitions of the business at hand.

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    File a DBA in North Dakota – Frequently Asked Questions

    If you’re still unsure about the process of filing a DBA in North Dakota, keep reading to discover the information you need.

    Conclusion – File a DBA in North Dakota

    In conclusion, successfully completing the DBA filing process in North Dakota can be easily achieved by following our detailed four-step guide. For a more streamlined and simplified experience, consider utilizing BusinessRocket, a trustworthy service that simplifies the process of filing for a DBA.

    Place your trust in BusinessRocket as your strategic partner in establishing and strengthening your business identity. By doing so, you will not only save time but also ensure accuracy at every step of the registration process.

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