How to Register a Trade Name in Washington DC

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

Registering a Washington DC DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name, is a simple process that you complete with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

A DBA won't protect your personal assets. Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Learn more in our DBA vs LLC guide.


Learn How to Register a Trade Name in Washington DC yourself in two simple steps:


Or, use a professional DBA service:

four point eight out of fiveMyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee)

four point five out of fiveSwyft Filings ($99 + state fee)

DBA DC - Follow These Steps to Complete Your DC Trade Name Registration

Step 1: Start With a Washington DC DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, search the Washington DC business license verification website and the business registration database on Washington DC’s online web portal to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered Washington DC 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. You can also use our free logo generator tool to make a logo yourself! No design experience necessary!

In Washington DC, your trade name should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., 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.

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

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Step 2: Complete the DC Trade Name Registration Process

In Washington DC, you register your DBA with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). You can file online at the DCRA’s Corporations Division CorpOnline Web Portal or you can complete the trade name registration form.

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

  • Name and address of owner registering the trade name
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • Type of organization applying for a trade name

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 Trade Name Registration Form

File Online

Mail

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Fees

  • $55 Filing Fee

Manage Your Washington DC DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: (202) 442-4432

Renew Your DBA

Your Washington DC trade name needs to be renewed every two years. The renewal due date is April 1, with the first renewal due by April 1 of the second year from the year of registration. The filing fee is $55. You can renew online or by filling out the renewal form and mailing it to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Change Your DBA

You can change your trade name by filling out the amendment form. Mail the completed form and the $55 filing fee to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Withdraw Your DBA

To cancel your trade name, complete the trade name cancellation form and mail it and the $55 fee to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Need Help Filing Your DBA in DC?

Have A Professional Service File Your DBA in DC 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 MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

DC Trade Name Registration FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Washington DC?

You can file online at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Corporations Division CorpOnline Web Portal

How do I change my DBA in Washington DC?

You can change your trade name by filling out the amendment form. Mail the completed form and the $55 filing fee to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

How can I withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your trade name, complete the trade name cancellation form and mail it and the $55 fee to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

How often should I renew my Washington DC DBA?

Your Washington DC trade name needs to be renewed every two years. The renewal due date is April 1, with the first renewal due by April 1 of the second year from the year of registration. The filing fee is $55. You can renew online or by filling out the renewal form and mailing it to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

When is a DBA required in Washington DC?

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

How do I transfer my DBA in Washington DC?

You can transfer your trade name to a new owner by filling out the trade name amendment form. The fee is $55. Mail the completed form to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

 

Is my Washington DC 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 your name is not protected in Washington D.C. 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 DC DBA