How to File a Washington State DBA

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Registering a Washington State DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name, is a simple process that you complete with the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service.

Our How to File a DBA in Washington guide will help you get started on branding your small business.

Important!

A DBA is used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

How To Use This Guide

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

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.

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How to Set up a DBA in Washington

Step 1: Start With a Washington DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, head over to Washington’s Department of Revenue website to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered Washington 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 Washington, 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 find more information about the Washington 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 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 Washington DBA

In Washington State, you register your DBA with the Department of Revenue. You can file online at the Washington Department of Revenue’s online portal, or you can complete the business license application form.

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

  • Ownership structure
  • Unified Business Identifier (UBI)
  • Business opening date and place of incorporation
  • Estimated gross annual income
  • Date of first employment

A 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 Business License Application

You can submit your application on the Washington State Department of Revenue's website.

In-Person

You can file your application in person at the Washington Department of Revenue office.

Mail

State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Fees

  • $19 Business Application Fee
  • $5 Trade Name Fee

Manage Your Washington DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Washington Business Licensing Service: 1-800-451-7985

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your Washington trade name does not expire.

Change Your DBA

You can change the name of your DBA online or by using the registration form and checking the box next to “change trade name.”

Withdraw Your DBA

You can cancel your trade name online or by completing the business information change form. You can also email or fax the Business Licensing Service to request cancellation.
BLS@dor.wa.gov
Fax: 360-705-6699

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 MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

FAQ DBA Washington

Can I file a DBA online in Washington State?

You can file your DBA online at Washington Department of Revenue's website.

How do I change my DBA in Washington?

You can change the name of your DBA online or by using the business license application form and checking the box next to “change trade name.”

How can I withdraw my DBA?

You can cancel your trade name online or by completing the business information change form. You can also email or fax the Business Licensing Service to request cancellation.

How often should I renew my Washington DBA?

Your Washington trade name does not need to be renewed.

When is a DBA required in Washington?

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

You can transfer ownership of your trade name online or by filling out the business license application form and checking the box next to “ownership change.”

Is my Washington State 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. 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 expenses 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 Washington DBA