How to File a DBA in Michigan

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Registering a Michigan DBA, also known as an assumed name, is a simple process done at the county level or with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) depending on your business structure.

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

How To Use This Guide

Create a DBA for your LLC, Corporation, or LLP

LLCs, Corporations, LLPs and Foreign Entities file their certificate of assumed name with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Create a DBA for your Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Estates, and Real Estate Investment Trusts file their certificate of assumed name with the County Clerk’s office

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 Michigan LLCs, Corporations, and LLPs

Incorporated businesses must file their DBA with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The following business types are considered incorporated:

  • For-profit Corporations, Non-Profit Corporations
  • Professional Corporations, Professional Associations
  • Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Any Foreign Filing Entities

If you are registering an unincorporated business, like a sole proprietorship or partnership, skip ahead to the DBA guide for unincorporated businesses below.

 

Step 1) Start With a DBA Name Search

Start with a DBA name search

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

Make sure your name complies with Michigan 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. You can see a list of restricted words here. Learn more about Michigan naming guidelines here.

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

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

 

Step 2) Register Your DBA with the State

Registere your DBA with the County Clerk

If your business is incorporated, you are required to file your DBA with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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:

  • Line 1: Your current legal company name
  • Line 2: Company identification number

You can also file online.

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 Certificate of Assumed Name Form

Walk-In

2501 Woodlake Circle
Okemos, MI

Mail

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909

Payment and Fees

Fees

  • $10 filing fee for corporations and limited partnerships
  • $25 filing fee for LLCs
  • $50 for 24-hour processing, $100 for same day, $500 for 2-hour, $1,000 for 1-hour

Payment

  • Online with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Mail by check or money order.
  • In person by all of the above.
     

Manage Your Michigan DBA

DBA Questions 

Call the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: (517) 241-6470

Renew Your DBA with the State 

Your certificate of assumed name expires on Dec. 31 of the fifth full calendar year following registration.

Withdraw Your DBA 

You can find the Certificate of Termination of Assumed Name form here.

Registering a DBA for Michigan Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships

Unincorporated businesses are required to file with the appropriate County Clerk’s office(s). The following types of businesses are considered unincorporated in Michigan:

  • Sole Proprietorships
  • Partnerships

Step 1) Start With a DBA Name Search

Start with a DBA name search

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

Make sure your name complies with Michigan 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. You can see a list of restricted words here. Learn more about Michigan naming guidelines here.

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) Register Your DBA with the County Clerk

Registere your DBA with the County Clerk

If your business is unincorporated, then you are required to file a certificate of conducting business under an 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 an Oakland County DBA. You can find information about registering an assumed name in Oakland County here. If you need to file in a different county, you’ll need to contact the county clerk for instructions.

You can find your county’s' contact information here.

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.
 

How to File an Oakland County DBA

At this point, you should have already nailed down your DBA name and completed the name searches in Step 1 above.

Oakland County suggests searching state and county records before you start the DBA filing process. You can search the Oakland County records here and the Michigan state records here.

Forms

Submit Your Certificate

By Mail or In Person

Oakland County Clerk's Office

Attn: Vital Records
1200 N. Telegraph Dept. 413
Pontiac, MI 48341-0413

Payment

  • $10 filing fee
  • $2 for an out-of-state form if any owner lists an address outside of Michigan
  • The County Clerk accepts check or money order made out to the Oakland County Clerk. Cash, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are also accepted in-person.
  • Out-of-state or starter checks are not accepted.

Manage Your Oakland County DBA

DBA Questions

Call (248) 858-0568 for general questions about business certificates, assumed names, and DBAs.

Renew Your DBA

Your business name must be renewed every five years using the same form.

Withdraw Your DBA

To discontinue your DBA in Oakland County, you must fill out this form and pay a $10 filing fee.

FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Michigan?

You can file your assumed name form online here.

 

How Can I Withdraw my DBA?

Contact your county clerk for county-specific instructions for withdrawing your DBA for your unincorporated business.

For incorporated businesses, you will need to file for discontinuance of your assumed name with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You can find the Certificate of Termination of Assumed Name form here.

 

How Often Should I Renew My Michigan DBA?

Your certificate of assumed name expires on Dec. 31 of the fifth full calendar year following registration.

 

When is a DBA required in Michigan?

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

 

How Do I transfer my DBA in Michigan?

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 Filing Your DBA?

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