Choosing a limited liability company’s name is one of the most important decisions for the owner to make in the start-up process. A good name must not only meet legal requirements, but also be creative and memorable. However, things can change. If, for some reason, you no longer want to use an official name, filing an Illinois trade name will provide you with a DBA, which will solve the problem.
A DBA, or a “doing business as” name, creates additional LLC company names without changing the Articles of Organization. Generally, this tool is used for branding purposes as well as to facilitate bookkeeping and enhance the LLC’s capabilities.
In this article, we will discuss what a DBA is and how to file an LLC name application Illinois. In addition, we’ll take a close look at the specifics of registering a DBA for your Illinois LLC both in person and through a professional online company.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA is an abbreviation that stands for “doing business as”. The terms may vary from state to state. In Illinois, for example, other names can be the following:
- Illinois Alternate Name;
- Illinois Assumed Business Name;
- Illinois Assumed Name;
- Illinois Business Name;
- Illinois Fictitious Name;
- Illinois Trade Name.
A DBA is an add-on feature of sorts that allows you to use alternate business names along with the official one.
If you don’t want to operate under an LLC’s official business name, you can get as many DBA names as you want. There is no restriction on the number, but each name must be properly registered. Keep in mind that this does not create a separate legal entity like an LLC or corporation, and does not affect the company’s tax treatment. There are no separate taxes for a DBA since it is not a business entity.
In most states, a DBA is not classified as an exclusive business name and does not receive legal protection. This means that other companies can legally use your fictitious name and even register it officially. In the state of Illinois, DBA names are subject to the same rules applied to regular business names, including uniqueness. Therefore, no one but you can conduct business under your fictitious name or register LLC in Illinois by listing it in the Articles of Organization.
The DBA validity is limited. After 5 years, you must apply for registration again to avoid any penalties from the state.
Who needs to register for an Illinois DBA?
There are several reasons why you may want to register an assumed name for your LLC. Some of the most common ones are the following:
- The state requires an amendment to the Articles of Organization or register for a DBA if a business entity operates under a name that is different from the official one. It is especially relevant for sole proprietorships and general partnerships that want to do business under a legal name separate from the names of their owners. It applies to LLCs as well;
- To distinguish product lines and retain liability protection, without the registration of a separate LLC;
- A name change is associated with a particular city or state when it comes to expanding the business into a new market.
How to Get a DBA for an Illinois LLC?
The procedure for registering DBAs as “assumed names” for an LLC is different from that for sole proprietorships or general partnerships. To register a DBA for an LLC in Illinois, you must follow these steps:
- Visit the Secretary of State’s website and perform a name search on the state’s business database to check the name’s availability;
- Make sure that the desired DBA name option meets legal requirements such as:
- No words that indicate a connection between the company and the state: “state”, “FBI”, etc.;
- You must have a license to use the terms like “bank”, “insurance”, “attorney”, etc.
- Complete the Application to Adopt, Change, Cancel, or Renew an Assumed Name with the following information:
- Official name LLC (as it is listed in the Articles of Organization);
- Name and address of the business owner;
- Business name being applied for;
- What the business does.
To register an assumed name for an LLC, the ready-made DBA forms for Illinois can be submitted for approval using one of the methods below:
File online is the fastest option for obtaining a DBA in Illinois, available to most entrepreneurs. All you need to do is download the form on your computer and fill it out, according to the easy-to-follow instructions.
Nevertheless, there are several conditions when online registration is not available:
- The LLC is not in good standing with the state;
- The company’s operation has been suspended or stopped;
- LLC documents must be authorized by a number of signatures or power of attorney.
By Mail or In Person
If you prefer hard copy documents, you can print the documents and deliver them to the address:
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
Note that hard copy forms must be notarized and don’t forget to pay the mandatory fee.
Illinois filing fees vary depending on the year you apply:
- $150 for years ending in 0 or 5;
- $120 for years ending in 1 or 6;
- $90 for years ending in 2 or 7;
- $60 for years ending in 3 or 8;
- $30 for years ending in 4 or 9.
It usually takes 10 days to process applications. However, for an additional $50 filing fee, you can order an expedited service, and your documents will be ready within 1 business day.
Should You Hire a DBA Service?
Want to save time or just don’t like to do the paperwork on your own? You can entrust the preparation and filing of your DBA application to a professional online company.
Nowadays, there are several good services for DBA registrations on the market that will do the job for you quickly and efficiently. If you don’t know which one to choose, take a look at two companies that offer the same low price point of $99 and have excellent track records. Both are among the top best business service providers available, with extensive experience in Illinois LLC registration.
- IncFile: if you appreciate customer feedback, IncFile is the best choice, as they have thousands of reviews and most of them are positive. Since its opening in 2004, this company has successfully served more than 250,000 customers, which guarantees its high level of professionalism and reliability;
- LegalZoom: this service is a well-known brand in the business formation industry, and they have a track record of millions of clients. LegalZoom offers two options for DBA services, so you can choose the one with the best value and content.
Since Illinois provides the doing business as (DBA) name protection and exclusive rights, using it in this state is really convenient. Having multiple names for your business allows an LLC in Illinois to greatly expand its opportunities for growth and self-expression. Moreover, the process of registering DBAs in this state is quite simple.
Of course, it is up to you to decide whether to form an additional LLC or get a DBA. Every business is unique and has its own needs. However, creating an LLC takes more time and money than obtaining a DBA.