How to Get a Kansas DBA
If your business operates under any name other than its legal name, that’s considered a Kansas DBA. You can use a DBA to market your business using a snappier name or to appear more professional. Any business can adopt a DBA, including Kansas sole proprietorships, general partnerships, LLCs, and corporations. Unlike most other states, Kansas doesn’t register DBAs. However, that doesn’t mean your business can’t use one. Here, we’ll go over the ins and outs of adopting a DBA in Kansas.
Your Kansas DBA Guide:
What is a Kansas DBA?
A DBA—which stands for “doing business as”—allows you to do business under a name that isn’t your legal business name. For example, if you own a business called Evergreen Window and Vinyl Siding Cleaning LLC, but you decide that the name is too long, you might adopt the DBA “Evergreen Cleaning.” In other states, DBAs are also referred to as trade, assumed, and fictitious names.
Why Use a DBA in Kansas?
There are many reasons to adopt a DBA—here are some of the most common:
You’re a Kansas sole proprietor
A sole proprietorship is an informal business structure where the business is owned by one person and isn’t registered with the state (unlike, for example, an LLC). There’s no legal separation between a sole proprietor and their business, so the business’s legal name is simply the full name of the sole proprietor.
So, if you’re a sole proprietor and you don’t choose to go by a DBA, you’ll be doing business under your own name—which isn’t always desirable. With a DBA, you can operate under a more professional name or one that better advertises your services or products. For example, instead of Ryan Maple, you can use the DBA “Custom Camper Design.”
To market your business
If you’re rebranding or expanding your business’s offerings, you might find that your business name needs to evolve along with your business. You may think that means starting a new business with a new name—but it doesn’t have to. Instead, you can use a DBA. So, if you own Green Lightning Landscapers LLC and your business changes direction, you can go by the DBA “Green Lightning Arborist” or “All Natural Landscaping.”
Popular ways to promote your brand and maintain your professional image with a DBA include:
- On websites and social media accounts
- On signs, business cards, and other marketing materials
- In commercials and advertisements
- On merchandise
- To open a business bank account (Note: some banks will require proof of DBA registration)
- To make and receive payments
To do business under your domain name
Let’s say you get the domain GoGreenLightning.com for Green Lightning Landscapers LLC, and then you start advertising and taking payments under the name GoGreenLightning.com. In this case, your domain name functions as a DBA. Although DBAs aren’t registered in Kansas, you’ll need to be careful to ensure that you don’t accidentally use your DBA in instances where you should use your business’s legal name, such as on your taxes or when signing contracts.
Note: There’s no way to prevent other businesses in Kansas or another state from using your DBA. You can apply to trademark your DBA name at the federal level for stronger legal rights to your name.
How to Get a DBA in Kansas
Since Kansas doesn’t have a process to register DBAs with the state, all you need to do to get a DBA in Kansas is to pick a name and start using it. However, there are a few things to consider before jumping in.
First off, you cannot use any name that already belongs to a formal business entity like an LLC or a corporation. You can check to see if the name you want is being used by a registered business using the secretary of state’s Name Availability Status search tool.
Although Kansas has no rule against two businesses using the same DBA, you may not want to use the same name as another business. Since the Name Availability Status tool doesn’t allow you to search for DBAs, you may want to perform an additional search for your desired name using an online search engine, local yellow pages, or business associations.
Additionally, you can check trademarked names at the state and federal level with the secretary of state’s Trademark/Service-mark Search and the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
Once you’ve found an available name, you can just start using it—print up those business cards and launch that Instagram account. Just make sure that you use your business’s legal name when signing legal documents and filing taxes.
Using a DBA vs. Starting a Business
Although using a DBA and starting a business may seem similar, they’re actually quite different. Using DBA doesn’t create a business or change the structure of your existing business—it just allows your business to use an alternative name.
Since a DBA isn’t a separate business entity, you must file taxes under your business’s legal name. You’ll also need to sign contracts with your legal and DBA names for transparency.
So, how do you start a business in Kansas?
- Sell a product or service. To start an informal business, like a sole proprietorship or general partnership, the only thing you need to do is sell something. However, keep in mind that you may need to get a business license, depending on your line of work.
- Register your business with the state. You’ll need to file formation documents (Articles of Organization or Incorporation) with the Kansas Secretary of State to create a business entity like an LLC or a corporation. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee.
DBA vs LLC in Kansas
Unlike a DBA, a Kansas LLC is a legal business entity that allows its owners to have liability protection. LLCs are considered legally separate from their owners, and this separation prevents owners from being held personally responsible for the business’s debts and lawsuits.
If you own an LLC, you’ll have liability protection regardless of whether or not you use a DBA. By contrast, if you own an informal business structure, like a sole proprietorship, you won’t have any liability protection, DBA or not.
To easily and affordably shield your personal assets—property, cars, savings—from being seized in the case your business is sued or owes debts, form an LLC. And, if you hire Northwest to be your Kansas registered agent and form your LLC for you, we’ll list our information in place of your personal information wherever possible to increase your privacy.
Protect Your Assets with a Kansas LLCGet Started Today!
Kansas DBA FAQs
Is registering a DBA required in Kansas?
No. In fact, Kansas doesn’t register DBAs. However, you can still use one as long as you probably identify your legal business name and DBA on legal documents.
How much does it cost to register a DBA in Kansas?
Nothing—because you can’t register a DBA with the state of Kansas. (You can still use one, though.)
Do I need a separate bank account for my DBA?
No. Because a DBA isn’t a business, you don’t need a separate bank account dedicated to your DBA. However, for bookkeeping purposes and to keep your finances organized, you may choose to open a business bank account for your DBA. Find out more about opening a business bank account as a sole proprietor.
Can I sign contracts with my DBA?
Unfortunately, no. You’ll need to sign contracts with your legal business name. You should list your DBA alongside your legal name on contracts, but you can’t sign with your DBA alone. Otherwise, the contract might not hold up in court.
Can I buy a domain name using my DBA?
When it comes to purchasing a domain name for your website, you may or may not be able to do so under your DBA. Some domain registrars permit you to buy a domain with your DBA, but others require you to use your business’s legal name
Do I need a separate EIN for my DBA?
Nope. Using a DBA doesn’t create a business entity, so you don’t need to get a new or separate EIN.
What is my legal business name?
Your business’s legal name is the name that is listed on its government documents (for example, state and tax filings).
For formal business entities like LLCs, corporations, and non-profits, a business’s legal name is the name on its formation documents, including the company’s entity identifier (“Company Name, LLC,” “Company Name, Inc.,” etc.).
For sole proprietors, a business’s legal name is its owner’s legal name.
For general partnerships, a business’s legal name is either the partners’ last names or a name the partnership has given itself in a written partnership agreement.