How to File a DBA in Ohio

Image of a man searching how to file a D B A in Ohio online.

Filing an Ohio DBA, also known as a trade name, is a simple legal process that you complete with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Follow the steps below to complete your Ohio Trade Name Registration.

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

How To Use This Guide

Use our free guide below to file for a DBA in Ohio:

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

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How To Set up a DBA in Ohio

Step 1: Start With an Ohio DBA Business Name Search

First, note that there is a difference between a “trade name” and a “fictitious” business name in Ohio. Trade names must be distinguishable from other business names, while fictitious names don’t have to be.

Because of this, trade names are protected by the state from being used by other businesses in that state. Fictitious names are not. This guide will focus on Ohio Trade Name Registration.

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

TIP: Our business name generator tool is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are still working to create the perfect business name or website address.

In Ohio, your trade name should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, or etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," "banque," "banker, "trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.

You can read more about Ohio business name guidelines here.

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

In Ohio, you register your DBA with the Secretary of State. You can file online at Ohio’s online business portal or you can complete the name registration form.

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

  • Whether you are filing for a trade name or a fictitious business name
  • The business structure of the applicant (partnership, LLC, etc.)
  • General nature of the business
  • Business owners’ names and addresses

A DBA does not offer any legal 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 Ohio Trade Name Registration Form Online

File Your Ohio Trade Name Registration Online


Submit Your Ohio Trade Name Registration Form By Mail

Regular Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Expedited Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216

Fees

  • $39 Filing Fee
  • $100 additional for expedited (two business days) processing
  • $200 for 1-day processing
  • $300 for 4-hour processing


Manage Your Ohio DBA


DBA Questions

Call the Ohio Secretary of State: (614) 466-3910


Renew Your DBA with the State

Your Ohio trade name must be renewed every five years. The renewal fee is $25. You can complete the process online or mail the completed form to:

Regular Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Expedited Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216


Change Your DBA

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete the change of registrant name form. Submit the form online or mail it to:

Regular Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Expedited Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216


Withdraw Your DBA

To cancel your trade name, complete the name reservation/transfer/cancelation form. The fee is $25. File the form online or mail it to:

Regular Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Expedited Filing:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216

Need Help Filing Your DBA?

Have A Professional Service File Your DBA For You

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

We recommend using ZenBusiness ($95 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Ohio?

You can file your DBA online at Ohio's online business portal.

How do I change My DBA in Ohio?

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete the change of registrant name form.

How can I withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your trade name, complete the name reservation/transfer/cancelation form.

How often should I renew my Ohio DBA?

Your Ohio DBA should be renewed every five years by submitting the renewal form.

When is a DBA required in Ohio?

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

How do I transfer my DBA in Ohio?

To transfer your trade name, complete the name reservation/transfer/cancelation form.

Is my Ohio DBA protected from being used in other places?

If you file for a trade name in Ohio, it is protected from being used by other businesses in the state. Fictitious names are not protected. 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 a corporation.

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.

Useful Links for Your Ohio DBA