What Is a DBA and Do You Need One in Pennsylvania?

Is your company incorporated under one name, but wants to operate under a different name? This need can arise under a number of circumstances, but if you find yourself in this situation, you will want to know what steps you may need to take to make sure your business is properly operating in accordance with Pennsylvania law. Here, we will talk more about what a DBA is and whether you need one as a Pennsylvania business.

What Is a DBA and Do You Need One in Pennsylvania?

DBA or “doing business as” is a trade name for a business that wants to operate under a different name. When a business files for a DBA, it is permitted registration of a secondary name with the state. Filing for a DBA also makes the name legally valid for operating purposes. The public is put on notice that a specified business entity is conducting business under a secondary name, one other than its primary legal name.

While filing for DBA registration is not legally required under Pennsylvania law, there are notable and significant potential consequences that can arise should a company fail to register a DBA. One main example involves an unregistered company trying to enforce a contract in Pennsylvania court when the contract was signed using its DBA name. The failure to register the DBA name will not void the contract, but the contract will remain unenforceable until the business registers the DBA. On top of this, the business may face a $500 penalty imposed by the court and payable to the Pennsylvania Department of State should it wish to enforce a contract entered into under its unregistered DBA name while it seeks to register the DBA, but fails to do so in a timely manner.

In addition to avoiding some unfortunate, inconvenient, and costly situations, registering a DBA name can make things much easier on a business on a number of levels. When a DBA is registered, the business can open bank accounts under the DBA name. It can also receive payments made to the DBA name and conduct other business matters under the DBA name.

To set up a DBA in Pennsylvania, you should start by searching state records to see if the business name is available. You should also consider the restrictions that are imposed on fictitious name filings. Beware of use of words that indicate you are registering a business associated with an academic institution or engineering firm as well as a banking institution among other types of professional associations.

Once you have selected a permissible business name that has not yet been registered, you will need to state the DBA name to be used along with a short statement about the type of business you run, the address of the principal place of business, and other requested information. The information requested can vary depending on the type of entity associated with the filing. Take care to review the necessary form and instructions.

Business Law Attorneys

Are you grappling with business names and DBA designations? Talk to the dedicated business law attorneys at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace about your options.  Contact us today.