How to File a DBA in Texas

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

Registering a Texas DBA, also known as an assumed name or fictitious name, is a simple process and it's done at the county and state level depending on the type of business structure you have. To learn more about why you may need a DBA read our What is a DBA article.

How To Use This Guide

1) DBA for an incorporated business

Incorporated businesses file their assumed name certificate at the State and County levels. Incorporated business include LLCs, corporations, LLPs, foreign entities, and more.

2) DBA for an unincorporated business

Unincorporated businesses file their assumed name certificate at the County level only. Unincorporated businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, estates, and real estate investment trusts.

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 business.

 

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

 

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

Registering a DBA for an Incorporated Business

Incorporated businesses must file their DBA at the State and County levels. That is, you must file your DBA with both the secretary of state and the county clerk’s office. 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 on over to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to make sure your name isn't taken by— or too similar to— another registered Texas 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 as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

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

 

Step 2) Register Your DBA With the County Clerk

Registere your DBA with the County Clerk

If your business is incorporated, then you are required to file at the State and County level. Knowing which County to file in is simple:

  • If you have a principal office in Texas, then you should always file your DBA in the County that your principal office is located in.
  • If you don’t have a principal office in Texas, then you should file your DBA in the County where your Registered office is located.
  • If you don’t have a registered office or principal office in Texas, then you should file your DBA in the county where the principal place of business is located.

We will give you step-by-step directions to get a Harris County DBA. If you need to file in a different county than Harris, the first thing to do would be to get in touch with the county clerk for instructions.

You can find your counties' contact information here.

How to File for a Harris County Assumed Name

How to file for a harris county assumed name

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

Harris County would also like you to search their assumed name database before you start the filing process. Once this is completed, it’s time to move on to the paperwork.

First, complete Form 205. Then, have the form notarized. You must submit the original form, with original signatures, to the County Clerk’s office or apply in person:

Walk-In 
You can complete your form with the deputy county clerk at any of Harris County’s 10 locations. Normal business hours are Monday thru Friday 8am to 4:30pm.

By Mail
Diane Trautman
Harris County Clerk
P.O. Box 1525
Houston, TX 77251-1525

Payment and Fees

Payment and Fees

The costs to file for your assumed name certificate are:

  • $15.00 for first owner, $.50 each additional owner if your form is already notarized.
  • $15.00 for first owner, $.50 each additional owner + $1 witnessing fee for each owner if your form has not been notarized.
  • You can find every available payment option here.

Manage Your Harris County DBA

Change Your DBA. To make changes to your assumed name certificate, you must complete the full registration process again.

Withdraw Your DBA. You can find Harris County Assumed Name Certificate withdraw forms here.

Renew Your DBA. Your assumed name certificate (DBA) must be renewed every 10 years.

Step 3) Register Your DBA with the Secretary of State

Registere your DBA with the Secretary of State

The final step for registering a DBA for an incorporated business is to file with the Texas secretary of state.

The first thing you will want to do is get your hands on Form 503— the Assumed Name Certificate. This form is available for download on the Texas Secretary of State website.

After you get your copy of the assumed name certificate, you can start by reading the instructions on pages 1-3. When you’re ready to fill out the form, the following information will need to be listed:

  • Assumed name
  • Legal name
  • Business structure and file number
  • Where the business was formed
  • Principal office address
  • How long you will use the assumed name- 10 years from the date of filing is the maximum in Texas
  • Counties where the assumed name will be used

How to file for a harris county assumed name

Next, you will need to submit a duplicate copy of your Assumed Name Certificate to the secretary of state. You should not send the original and the form does not need to be notarized.

By Mail
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, Texas 78711-3697

By Fax
(512) 463-5709

When submitting by fax, you must include Form 807 with credit card information.

Walk-in or Non-USPS Carrier
James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos
Austin, Texas 78701 

Payment and Fees

Payment and Fees

  • Fees: $25 for each assumed name certificate.
  • Payment Types: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express (2.7% convenience fee applies), Checks, Money orders, and LegalEase accounts. Checks and Money Orders should be made payable to the Texas Secretary of State.

Manage Your DBA

Change Your DBA. To make changes to your assumed name certificate, you must complete the full registration process again.

Withdraw Your DBA. Texas refers to this as Abandonment of an Assumed name. You can submit this form to complete the process. The fee to file this form is $10.

Renew Your DBA. Your assumed name certificate (DBA) must be renewed every 10 years.

Registering a DBA for an Unincorporated Business

Unincorporated businesses are required to file only at the County level. The following types of businesses are considered unincorporated:

  • Sole Proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Estates
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts

 

Step 1) Start With a DBA Name Search

Start with a DBA name search

If you haven't already, head on over to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website to make sure your name isn't taken by -- or too similar to -- another registered Texas 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 as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

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



Step 2) Register Your DBA with the County Clerk

Registere your DBA with the County Clerk

If your business is unincorporated, then you are only required to file at the County level. You will need to know which county or counties you need to file an assumed name with.

Knowing which county to file in is simple:

  • If your business has an office or premises of any kind, then you will file in the County or Counties where your business office(s) are located.
  • If your business doesn’t have an office or premises of any kind, then you must file in any County where you might conduct business or services.

We will give you step-by-step directions to get a Harris County DBA. If you need to file in a different county than Harris, the first thing to do would be to get in touch with the county clerk for instructions. 

You can find your counties' contact information here.

How to File for a Harris County Assumed Name

How to file for a harris county assumed name

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

Harris County also wants you to search their assumed name database before you start the filing process. Once this is completed, it’s time to move on to the paperwork.

Harris County DBA Forms:

1. Form 02-07 A: for 1-3 Owners
2. Form 02-07 B: for 4-13 Owners
3. Form 02-07 C: for 14 or More Owners

Walk-In

You can complete your form with the deputy county clerk at any of Harris County’s 10 locations

Normal business hours are Monday thru Friday 8am to 4:30pm.

By Mail
Diane Trautman
Harris County Clerk
P.O. Box 1525
Houston, TX 77251-1525

Payment and Fees

Payment and Fees

The costs to file for your assumed name certificate are:

  • $15.00 for first owner, $.50 each additional owner if your form is already notarized.
  • $15.00 for first owner, $.50 each additional owner + $1 witnessing fee for each owner if your form has not been notarized.
  • You can find every available payment option here.

Manage Your Harris County DBA

Change Your DBA. To make changes to your assumed name certificate, you must complete the full registration process again.

Withdraw Your DBA. You can find Harris County Assumed Name Certificate withdraw forms here.

Renew Your DBA. Your assumed name certificate (DBA) must be renewed every 10 years.

DBA FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Texas?

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


How To Change My DBA in Texas (Sec of State)

If there is a material change in the DBA information, a new assumed name certificate should be filed. The new certificate should be filed within 60 days of the changes.

Contact your county clerk for county specific instructions for changing your DBA.


How Can I Withdraw my DBA?

Contact your county clerk for county specific instructions for withdrawing your DBA.

Texas refers to withdrawing your DBA as Abandonment of an Assumed name. You can submit this form to complete the process.


How Often Should I Renew My Texas DBA?

All assumed name certificates, whether at the state or county level, are good for 10 years from the date of filing.


When is a DBA required in Texas?

A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name. In the case of a sole proprietorship or partnership, you must file a DBA if you are operating your business under a name that isn't the name of you or your partner's.

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 to 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.

When would it be good to do a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’ legal name. If you are simply interested in rebranding your company or focusing on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a much simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

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?

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 business.