How to File a DBA in Alabama

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Registering an Alabama DBA, also known as a trade name, is a simple process that you complete with the secretary of state. In Alabama, you are not required to register a trade name for your business in order to use it. In fact, you must already be using it before you file your registration.

To learn more about why you may need a DBA, read our What is a DBA article.

Or Use A Professional

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

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Step 1) Start with a DBA Name Search

WebsiteIf you haven't already, head on over to Alabama's Secretary of State website to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered Alabama business. Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique name.

Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.

Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2) Begin Operating Under Your Trade Name

Begin Operating Under Your Trade Name

Alabama requires that you have actually operated under your trade name before you can register it. So, if you'd like to register and protect a trade name in Alabama, you need to start using it right away. 

Alabama will require three "specimens" of your trade name being used. Some examples of acceptable specimens include:

  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Labels
  • Decals

Specimens must be unaltered and legible. The trade name application will ask where and when you used the trade name for the first time, so keep track!

Step 3) Register Your DBA with the State

Mail in the FormIn Alabama, you register your trade name with the Secretary of State. You can file online at Alabama's Secretary of State website or you can complete the application to register or renew a trade name form.

The application will ask for your desired trade name and information about your business, such as:

  • Section 6: How the trade name will be used
  • Section 8: Mark type
  • Section 11a: Date when and state where the name was first used
  • Section 11b: Date when the name was first used in Alabama
  • Section 13: Examples of the name being used in your business

 

A DBA does not offer any protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.



Submit Your Application

 

Walk-In

State of Alabama
Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
11 South Union St., Suite 224
Montgomery, AL 36130

Mail

State of Alabama
Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Fees

$30 Filing Fee
Alabama provides a credit card authorization form here.

Manage Your Alabama DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Alabama Secretary of State’s trademarks division: 334-242-5325

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your Alabama DBA should be renewed every five years. You can renew online or by completing and mailing the trade name registration or renewal form. Mail the completed form and the $30 fee to:

State of Alabama
Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Change Your DBA

Call the Alabama Secretary of State’s trademarks division: 334-242-5325.

Withdraw Your DBA

Call the Alabama Secretary of State’s trademarks division: 334-242-5325

FAQ

Can I file a trade name online in Alabama?

You can file your DBA online at Alabama's Secretary of State website.

 

How often should I renew my Alabama trade name?

Your Alabama DBA should be renewed every five years. You can renew online or by completing and mailing the renewal form.

 

When is a trade name required in Alabama?

A trade name is not required in Alabama. However, you may want to register one to protect the name of your business.

 

How do I transfer my trade name in Alabama?

To transfer ownership of your trade name in Alabama, you must fill out and submit this form and have it notarized. Mail the completed, notarized form and the $30 filing fee to:

State of Alabama
Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

 

Is my Alabama trade name protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent trade names that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but your name is not protected outside of Alabama. It is possible to create a federal trademark for a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

 

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expense and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.

 

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is An EIN from our friends at TRUiC.

 

Can a DBA become an LLC?

Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

 

Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?

A DBA can only have "Inc." in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is incorporated. Incorporated businesses include LLCs, corporations, and Limited Partnerships to name a few.

 

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

It’s always best to consult an attorney. Usually, the best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.

Need Help Filing Your DBA?

How to File a DBAA professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.