How to File a DBA in Kentucky

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Registering a Kentucky DBA, also known as an assumed name, is a simple process. You will need to register at the county level or with the Kentucky Secretary of State depending on your business structure and the rules of the counties you do business in. To learn more about why you may need a DBA, read our What is a DBA article.

How To Use This Guide

First, Choose Your Business Type:

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual that isn't formally organized.

LLC, Corporation, or LLP

If your business is an LLC, Corporation, or LLP, the information to set up your DBA can be found here.

Use A Professional Service

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

4.4 out of 5 starsLegalZoom ($99 + state fee) for the most popular DBA filing service available.

4.6 out of 5 starsMyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a more personalized DBA filing service.

Registering a DBA for Kentucky Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietors are required to file their DBA with the appropriate county clerk's office.

sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual that isn't formally organized. If you run a business and file taxes under your own name, you are a sole proprietor.

DBA doesn't 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.


SKIP AHEAD

If you need to create a DBA for an LLC or Corporation, you can click here to skip ahead.

Step 1) Start With a DBA Name Search

Start with a DBA name search

If you haven't already, head over to the Kentucky Secretary of State website to make sure your name isn't taken by— or too similar to— another registered Kentucky business.

Make sure your name complies with Kentucky naming rules:

  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your business.

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.

If you need extra guidance with naming your business, we can help.

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) Register Your DBA with the County Clerk

Register your DBA with the County ClerkIf your business is a sole proprietorship, then you are required to file a certificate of assumed name with the appropriate county clerk’s office(s).

Knowing which county to file in is simple: you must file in any county where your business conducts or transacts business.

We will give you step-by-step directions to get a Fayette County DBA. If you need to file in a different county than Fayette County, you’ll have to get in touch with the county clerk for instructions.

You can find your counties' contact information here.
 

How to File a Fayette County DBA

At this point, you should’ve already chosen a name for your business and completed the name searches in Step 1 above. You can also search the local records at the county clerk’s office.

Forms

Many counties in Kentucky, including Fayette, do not provide a certificate of assumed name forms. However, they all must meet certain criteria as outlined by Kentucky state statute. These criteria are:

  • The form must include the name being assumed
  • The form must include the real name and address of the individual or entity assuming the name. 
  • The form must be filed in the county where the entity has deemed a resident

You can find a generic form that meets these criteria here.

Submit Your Certificate of Assumed Name

Fayette County Clerk's Office

162 East Main Street

Lexington, KY 40507

Payment

  • $13 Filing Fee

Manage Your Fayette County DBA

DBA Questions

Call (859) 253-3344 for general questions about business certificates, assumed names, and DBAs.

Renew Your DBA 

Your certificate of assumed name must be renewed every five years. The renewal process is the same as the registration process.

Change Your DBA

To change your DBA, you will need to fill out a new registration form.

Withdraw Your DBA

You can withdraw your assumed name by filing a form similar to the original registration form. In addition to the business’ assumed name, real name, and address, this form must include the date when the original was filed.

Registering a DBA for Kentucky LLCs, Corporations, and Partnerships

LLCs, corporations, partnerships, trusts, and foreign entities must file their DBA with the Kentucky Secretary of State

If you are registering a sole proprietorship, go back to that section of the guide.

Step 1) Start With a DBA Name Search

Registering a D B A for an incorporated businessIf you haven't already, head over to the Kentucky Secretary of State website to make sure your name isn't taken by— or too similar to— another registered Kentucky business.

Make sure your name complies with Kentucky naming rules:

  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your business.

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

If you need extra guidance with naming your business, we can help.

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) Register Your DBA with the State

Register your DBA with the StateIf your business is an LLC, corporation, partnership, trust, or foreign entity, you are required to file your DBA with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

Some counties in Kentucky also require you to file a copy of your certificate of assumed name with the county clerk’s office. Check with your local county office to see what the requirements are in your area.

First, print a copy of the certificate of assumed name form.

The application will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:

  • Your business structure
  • State or country where the business was organized
  • Business address


Submit Your Certificate of Assumed Name Form

Walk-In

Room 154, Capitol Building
700 Capital Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601

Mail

Office of the Secretary of State
PO Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-0718

Payment and Fees

Fees

  • $20 Filing Fee

Payment

Checks should be made out to “Kentucky State Treasurer.”

 
Manage Your Kentucky DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Kentucky Secretary of State:  (502) 564-3490.

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your certificate of assumed name must be renewed every five years. You can complete the renewal process online or complete the certificate of renewal of assumed name form and mail it in. The fee is $20.

Change Your DBA

To change your actual assumed name, you will have to file a new registration. To make changes to your business address or owner names, fill out the amended certificate of assumed name form. The filing fee is $20.

Withdraw Your DBA

To cancel your assumed name, fill out the certificate of withdrawal of assumed name form. The fee is $20.

FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Kentucky?

You cannot file a DBA online in Kentucky at this time.

 

How do I change my DBA in Kentucky?

To change the name of your DBA, you will have to file a new registration form. Changes to address or owners’ names can be changed by filing the amendment form

Contact your county clerk for county-specific instructions for changing your DBA at the county level.

 

How can I withdraw my DBA?

Contact your county clerk for county-specific instructions for withdrawing your DBA for your sole proprietorship.

For other businesses, you will need to file the withdrawal of assumed name form with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

 

How often should I renew my Kentucky DBA?

Your certificate of assumed name must be renewed every five years. You can complete the renewal process online or complete the certificate of renewal of assumed name form and mail it in.

 

When is a DBA required in Kentucky?

A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name. 

 

How do I transfer my DBA in Kentucky?

Most transfers can be completed by filing an amendment to change the owner’s name.

 

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.

 

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

Need Help?

Need Help Filing Your D B AA professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.