DBA in Indiana
Indiana has been hailed as one of the best places to do business, especially if you’re a startup. Housing is affordable, the taxes imposed on businesses are low, and there’s a diverse economy characterized by numerous opportunities to do business in different industries.
If you’re an entrepreneur already running your own business, or planning to start a new venture, Indiana is a good place to do that. But don’t just start any business—you need to have a good business name to attract customers and stay in their minds.
Business names, however, are usually stuck with what you registered them as. Thankfully, there’s a way for you to use another name for your business in Indiana: DBAs. Here, we’ll discuss what these are and how you can take advantage of the benefits they bring.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” is a fictitious name you can register for business use. They serve as aliases or alternative names in case you don’t want to operate using the name your business had when it was registered with the state. DBAs are called differently depending on the state. Some refer to DBAs as trade names, fictitious names, or fictitious business names. In Indiana, DBAs are referred to as “assumed business names” or “assumed names.”
Unlike Indiana LLCs, DBAs are not separate entities. They also do not take the place of the business’s original name given upon registration when the state. They are aliases that can be used for several purposes, benefiting you and your business.
What Are The Advantages Of A DBA In Indiana?
DBAs provide your business with certain advantages to help you reach more customers. Here’s a quick look at the benefits an assumed name can provide your business:
It helps establish your brand
DBAs are primarily used to help businesses establish their chosen brand and identity early. Instead of using the business’s legal name as registered in the papers, you can use a name more fitting to your products, services, offerings, and overall design.
Take the example of the Catholic healthcare system, Franciscan Alliance, Inc. This company operates 11 hospitals and employs more than 18,000 employees, all under the name “Franciscan Health.” The name it uses to operate represents its services far better than the legal name it had during registration with the state.
It adds more privacy for your business
DBAs can be used to hide your personal information from your business’s promotional materials like posters and flyers. This is considerably beneficial to sole proprietorships and general partnerships whose owners want to keep their personal information private.
They help businesses diversify and expand
Businesses looking to introduce new products or open a side venture featuring other services can use DBAs for the purpose. Instead of going through the process of creating a completely new business entity, you can apply for DBAs to represent these new ventures. By doing this, you can operate these side ventures under the umbrella of your main business, making it more convenient and cost-effective.
They are used when franchising
If you plan to purchase a franchise from a well-known brand, you will need to get a DBA for it. This is because of how franchises work.
Let’s say you decide to purchase a franchise from Poke Burri, a highly acclaimed poke bowl and sushi burrito restaurant based in Atlanta, and you plan to open it in South Bend. You first need to register the business in the state with a name that goes like “Poke Burri Franchise 23 South Bend.” You must then file for a DBA to use the name “Poke Burri.” This allows you to operate the restaurant under a more recognizable name.
Open bank accounts for your business
The state of Indiana doesn’t require businesses to get DBAs—but most banks do. When opening a business bank account, the DBA name is used to distinguish your business transactions. Having a separate bank account for your business helps you manage your finances more effectively and avoid confusion with personal funds. If you operate multiple ventures, using individual DBAs allows you to keep their finances separate with dedicated bank accounts.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A DBA In Indiana?
While DBAs offer much in terms of benefits, they do not give much in terms of downsides that could badly affect your business. What they have are limitations that could become disadvantages if not handled properly.
For one, DBAs do not protect your personal assets from lawsuits. These are just assumed names used in place of your business’s real name. Unless your business is an LLC or a corporation, you must get insurance in order to protect your personal assets from being used as payment for court losses.
Next, you cannot just use any name that you can come up with. Every DBA has to comply with Indiana’s naming restrictions, which include the following:
- Words or terms that are normally used for governmental agencies, such as “Justice Department,” “FBI,” “Treasury,” “Internal Revenue Service,” and so on.
- Words that are used for financial institutions such as “bank,” “banc,” “trust,” “financial,” “insurance” and so on, unless you get prior approval from the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions.
- The word “medical” or its variations, unless your company is a professional corporation with a licensed physician among shareholders.
How To Get A DBA In Indiana
That said, Indiana’s process for getting DBAs depends on your business’s structure. Here’s what you need to do to get a DBA for your business:
If you run a sole proprietorship or general partnership
Search for your preferred DBA name
First, visit the Indiana Secretary of State’s website to verify the availability of your preferred DBA name. Then, visit your county recorder’s office to verify if the DBA is still available in your county.
File your Indiana DBA with the county recorder
After verifying your preferred DBA name’s availability both at the state and county level, you must then file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the county recorder’s office. This should be filed at the county where your business is located and operating.
If you run an LLC, Corporation, or other incorporated business
Search for your preferred DBA name
First, visit the Indiana Secretary of State’s website to verify the availability of your preferred DBA name. Indiana requires DBAs to be unique and compliant with the naming restrictions mentioned above. Prepare a few you’d want to use for your business.
File your Indiana DBA with the Secretary of State
After verifying your preferred DBA name’s availability, file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State’s office. You can choose to do this online or submit the form by mail or in person. If you prefer in-person or mail submission, make sure that you send it to the Business Services Division.
How Much Does A DBA Cost In Indiana?
Indiana DBAs cost differently depending on the business structure applying for them.
- For sole proprietors and general partnerships, DBAs cost $35.
- For LLCs, corporations, LPs, and LLPs, the DBA costs $20 if filed online, and $30 if filed by mail or in person.
- For non-profits, DBAs cost $26 if filed by mail or in person, and $10 if filed online.
Indiana DBAs do not expire, meaning all of these are one-time fees only
Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA
Here are the most commonly asked questions about forming a DBA:
Indiana typically takes 15 days to completely process DBA applications. The duration could be longer depending on the workload the county recorder has at the time of your application. Indiana does not offer expedited services, so make sure to file earlier if you need your DBA quickly.
Yes. You can file as many DBAs as you need in Indiana. Make sure to go through the filing process for each, along with paying the required filing fees.
No. DBAs do not protect your personal assets from lawsuits. They are mere aliases or alternative names you can use for your business if you don’t want to use its registered name.
Yes. To make changes or amendments to your DBA, you must complete a Certification of Assumed Business Name form and re-submit it to the office where you filed to register first. You must also pay the same fees you paid when you initially registered your DBA.
Yes, although the process varies with the business’s structure. If your business is a sole proprietorship, you must fill out the Dissolution of Doing Business As form (also called the “Dissolution Of Firm Or Partnership Engaged In Business Under Name Other Than Their Own” form) and submit it to the county recorder’s office where you first filed your DBA. Remember to have the form notarized.
If your business is an LLC or corporation, you must complete the Cancellation of Assumed Business Name form and file it either online or in-person.