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  1. Colorado Business Registration
  2. Colorado DBA / Trade-Name

Colorado DBA / Trade-Name

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Jonathan Feniak, Esq., MBA

By Jonathan Feniak, Esq., MBA

    Doing Business As

    The term DBA is an abbreviation for "doing business as." A company will file a DBA in Colorado when it wants to conduct business using a name that is different from the official name of the LLC or corporation. In this respect, a DBA acts as a second name, commonly referred to as the trade name.

    When is a DBA Required?

    A business entity or sole proprietor is required to register its DBA with the Colorado Secretary of State within 30 to 60 days of using the name. This time frame acts a grace period during which a company can use its chosen DBA without any registration. After the 60 days have passed, you must either stop using the trade name or file a DBA. There are also some additional specific situations when a DBA becomes necessary.

    Sole proprietors have to file a trade name or DBA if they want to operate their company using a name that is not their own. For example, if John Doe has a company as the sole proprietor and does not want to call the business "John Doe," he would need to file a DBA.

    Corporations and LLCs must file a DBA if they want to operate their businesses with a name that is not identical to that of the company. For example, the business may be named "Great Business LLC" but wants to call itself "Great Biz". It would file a DBA for "Great Biz".

    Sometimes, a business may want to use a name that another business already has the rights to. In this case, a DBA may allow the business to use the name without facing potential trademark infringement lawsuits from the other business.

    Finally, before you enter into any agreements that utilize the trade name, you must file a DBA. This means that you will not be able to accept payment, sign contracts, or open up a business bank account with your trade name until you have filed the DBA.

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    Choosing a Trade Name

    Before you select the trade name you want to file, you must first consider the Colorado regulations that place limits on the name you can use. Start by checking the Records Search on the Secretary of State website to see if a company is already using the name you want to use. Colorado regulations state that you cannot have a DBA that is similar to the name of an existing business. This is not only poor business practice, but Colorado considers it to be confusing for the general public and prohibits it.

    You also must avoid any name that is similar to previously existing DBAs in Colorado that were dissolved during the last 120 days.

    Additionally, you cannot choose a DBA name in Colorado with phrases such as "Incorporated," "Corp.," or "Corporation."

    Information Required for Filing

    You can find the appropriate forms to file your Colorado DBA by visiting the Secretary of State website. The specific form that you will need to use varies based on your sole proprietorship or entity status, with different forms for different business forms, including:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Email address
    • Chosen DBA designation
    • A section describing the business that you want to use the DBA name for

    It is crucial that you select the proper form. You must also ensure that you fill out the required information correctly. Accidental errors or false information can lead to future complications.

    If you want to use a DBA name that is similar to a previously dissolved DBA name, it is possible to delay your DBA designation’s effective start date for as long as 90 days. The 90-day-period loophole lets you remain compliant with the 120-day limit on previously used DBA names, but will put you at the front of the line when the previously used DBA becomes available.

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    Renewing a Trade Name

    It is important to note that within Colorado, a DBA must be renewed at regular intervals. Renewal requirements may vary, so it is best to confirm the necessary interval on the Secretary of State's website to be safe.

    Taxes

    You should also note that if you file a DBA to give your business a trade name, this does not have any impact on your business’ taxation. Everything will be reported via the original entity name and tax ID number.

    To ensure your Colorado DBA filing goes off without a hitch, it is wise to work with an agency familiar with the intricacies of this particular filing. To file a DBA for your Colorado LLC, click the Order link at the top of our website. If you have not yet registered your business entity, we can do that for you as well. For more information about Colorado LLCs, including articles of organization, EINs, sole-proprietorships, and Colorado business licenses, check out the rest of our blog.

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