How to Get a DBA for an LLC in Wisconsin

If you want to run your business under a name that is different from your legal name, to get a DBA may be a good solution. 

It will allow you to use the new limited liability company’s name without making changes to the Articles of Organization and registering a separate company. You will save money, time, effort and at the same time expand your business opportunities.

The other advantage of using a DBA is its accessibility. The legal process of registering a DBA for your Wisconsin LLC is quite simple. To get a fictitious name quickly, you need to follow a certain sequence of steps. 

This article will help you better understand what a DBA is, outline its pros and cons, and disclose the nuances of the process of obtaining and using it. Also, we’ve prepared answers to the most common questions concerning the use of a DBA for an LLC in Wisconsin.

What is a DBA?

A DBA is a name that can be used interchangeably with the main company name. For example, for its products or services.

The term “DBA” is an abbreviation and means: “doing business as”. Sometimes terms like “fictitious name” or “trade name” are used along with “DBA”. But they all mean the same thing.

Sometimes first-time entrepreneurs confuse DBA registration with the creation of a new legal entity. However, to get a DBA for your Wisconsin LLC is not the same as to start your own business or company. A DBA cannot be registered, without a legal entity.

In addition, The state of Wisconsin does not provide exclusivity for DBA names. This means that other companies may register that name as the main name for an LLC or corporation. 

If that option doesn’t seem appropriate for you, it would be worth thinking about forming a separate LLC rather than filing for a DBA. Of course, this will require a little more work and expenses. But instead, you will get guaranteed protection of your name.

The DBA is valid for 10 years from the date of filing. After this period, you will need to resubmit the documents to continue using an assumed name. If you do not plan to use the DBA in your business, you don’t need to renew it.

There is no limit to the number of trade names for one company, but they must all be properly registered.

Who needs to register the DBA?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to register a Trade Name in Wisconsin, but the most popular are the following:

  • To differentiate a new product line from a company’s existing offerings;
  • The opportunity to conduct business under a new name without amending the Articles of Organization;
  • Changing the name of the company, originally associated with a particular city or state (especially relevant when expanding the LLC, etc.)

In most cases, individuals and partnerships serve as entities to register for a DBA. However, for LLC it is also relevant. A new name that can be used without registering gives your business freedom to express itself.

Steps to file a DBA in Wisconsin

Step 1 – Verify Name Availability

Before you file documents to register a DBA name for approval, you should check that the name is available. Use the business database to make sure that other companies have not already registered the name you chose.

Step 2 – Fill out the Form

If the name search shows that the desired DBA name is free, you can start filling out the form. To do this, you need to indicate the basic information about the company: 

  • Legal name of the business;
  • Your contact information;
  • Desired DBA name variant, etc.

Step 3 – Notarize the Form

Before submitting, the filled-out form must be notarized. If you renew your DBA, you must also send a notarized form.

Step 4 – Submit the Form

If you have filled out and checked the documents, the only thing to do is to file them with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for approval. 

Online

Online registration form is the fastest and most convenient way to get rid of paperwork. 

Visit Wisconsin’s online filing system website, and use their registration of tradename service.

Mail

A good choice for those who prefer to deal with hard copy documents. 

Print the completed form, enclose a check for the mandatory fee, and mail all materials to the address:

Trademark Section
Department of Financial Institutions
P. O. Box 7847
Madison, WI 53707-7847

Walk-In

In case you live in Madison or will be nearby, you can save time by delivering the documents in person to the address:

4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower Madison WI 53705

How much does a DBA cost in Wisconsin?

You will need to pay the filing fee to register Wisconsin DBA Registration Form. The cost is $15 per each DBA, no matter how the documents are delivered.

There is no special tax or other additional costs for DBA in Wisconsin.

In Conclusion

So we’ve covered all the key features of “doing business as” in Wisconsin, and the details of getting it. 

Before making a decision about whether your LLC in Wisconsin needs to register a fictitious name, you should think about the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a DBA for your business. 

The process of registering a DBA name is quite simple, but it has its own specifics. 

Depending on your goals, it may be better to form an additional LLC, obtaining exclusive rights to your name, than to apply for a DBA. 

At the same time, if used correctly, a trade name does become an essential tool for developing your business.


Frequently Asked Question


Does a DBA need an EIN?

No. An EIN is primarily for the tax identification of a business entity, while a DBA is not a separate business structure.

How do I change my DBA in Wisconsin?

You can change your DBA at any time. To do this, you must submit a new application indicating the name you want.

However, if it is about changing contact information, you should fill out a special form and mail it to the address:

Trademark Section
Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7847
Madison, WI 53707-7847

Or you can hand-deliver the documents to the address: 

4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower, Madison WI 53705. 

What are other names for a Wisconsin DBA Name?

There are several variants of names for a Wisconsin DBA Name, the most common of which are :

– Wisconsin Alternate Name;
– Wisconsin Business Name;
– Wisconsin Assumed Business Name;
– Wisconsin Fictitious Name;
– Wisconsin Assumed Name;
– Wisconsin Trade Name.

What is the difference between Registering a WI DBA Name and Reserving a WI Company Name?

Even though both Registering a DBA Name and Reserving a Company Name can be a part of the company startup process, they are fundamentally different. 

First, they are applied at different stages of the existence of an LLC. To apply for a DBA, your business must already be formally approved. And Reserving Name is used only before filing Articles of Organization and starting a business.

Secondly, the purpose. Obtaining a DBA allows the company to use an unlimited number of registered alternative names at the same time. And the Reserving Name serves only to retain the LLC name you chose until it is officially assigned to your company.

Does a DBA need a registered agent?

No. A DBA is not a separate business entity like an LLC and therefore does not need a registered agent. 

At the same time, each LLC is required by law to designate a registered agent regardless of the fact of DBA registration.

Does the state of Wisconsin require the publication of a DBA name?

No. Unlike some other states, in Wisconsin, you do not have to publish a registered DBA name.