South Dakota DBA
How to Get a DBA in South Dakota
A South Dakota DBA is any name your business uses that isn't its legal business name. DBAs can be used by all types of businesses, from South Dakota sole proprietors and general partnerships to LLCs, corporations, and even nonprofits. DBAs can be used on all sorts of marketing materials, social media accounts, and even to open a dedicated business bank account. Registering a DBA in South Dakota involves getting a state business ID number, researching your preferred DBA name, filing paperwork with the state, and paying a $10 fee. We’ll show you how it’s done.
Your South Dakota DBA Guide:
What is a South Dakota DBA?
A South Dakota DBA (doing business as) name is simply an alternative name that you can use in place of your legal business name. DBAs are especially popular among sole proprietors, who have to use their first and last names as their legal business name. For example, if Sarah Jones sells hand-crafted cutting boards, a DBA name like “Craft Cutting Boards” tells potential customers more about her business than if she just uses her name. DBAs are also important for franchise businesses. For example, if you own a Wendy’s franchise, the legal name of your business might be “Burger Gals, LLC,” but you’ll need to get a DBA to use the Wendy’s name.
It’s important to remember that a DBA isn’t an actual business. It’s just a name. You can’t file taxes under your DBA name, so you won’t need a separate EIN for your DBA. And unlike formal entities like LLCs or corporations, a DBA won’t give you or your business partners personal asset protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy.
Why Register a DBA in South Dakota?
Plenty of successful businesses operate using only their legal business name. But if you want to use a DBA for your business in South Dakota, you’ll need to register it. If you don’t, the state won’t let your business bring a lawsuit to court (SDCL § 37-11-5).
Here are a some other reasons why you might want a South Dakota DBA:
You want a better name for your sole proprietorship
Sole proprietors can use a DBA to get a business name that better aligns with what they’re selling or the type of service they provide, rather than doing business under their own name. A South Dakota DBA is an easy and affordable way (just $10) to get a name for your business.
Your business is expanding or rebranding
Let’s imagine you have a tutoring business under an LLC. You also plan to branch out into college test prep, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of registering a whole new business with the state. The simple answer is to get a DBA for the test prep part of your business. Your new DBA will allow you to operate two businesses with distinct names, without having to file costly state paperwork or deal with added state filing requirements. Your DBA will allow you to market your new business, get a business bank account, and even take customer payments under your DBA.
You use your domain name as your business name
If your legal business name is “Fast Car Auto, LLC,” but your domain name, “fastcars.com,” is the name you use on business cards, advertisements, social media, customer communication, and other business-related activities, you’ll need to register fastcars.com as a DBA.
Will a South Dakota DBA keep my personal information off public record?
No. South Dakota wants to know who owns the business that registers the DBA, which is why the state asks for the names of the business owner(s) on the DBA application. This means that the information you submit on your DBA application will be public knowledge. The best way to safeguard your privacy is to hire a South Dakota registered agent that will form a South Dakota LLC for you. At Northwest, we can list our information on your state filings wherever allowed, which keeps you from having to include personal information (like your name or address) on the public record.
How to Get a DBA in South Dakota
The process for getting a DBA in South Dakota involves performing a name search, filing an application with the state, and paying the filing fee. However, every business that registers a DBA in South Dakota will first need to get a state-issued business ID number. We go into the steps to get a DBA here.
South Dakota’s Department of Revenue requires any business that makes sales in the state to register with the state. This includes sole proprietors and general partnerships. Registering with the state will give your business an ID number and allow it to collect state sales tax. If you’ve already registered your business with the state, then you already have a business ID number and can skip this step.
To get a business ID number, you’ll need to fill out an online Tax Licensing Application. In addition to basic information about your business, you’ll also need to provide your EIN or SSN, your NAICS code (if applicable), and your business’s primary mailing address. There is no fee to get a tax ID.
Once complete, South Dakota’s Department of Revenue will send you a confirmation email, along with your state business ID number. They will also mail you a tax license certificate that you’ll need to display in your place of business.
Once you have your business ID number, you’ll need to make sure your DBA name is available. Your first step will be to use South Dakota’s Business Information Search. You’ll also want to type your name into a search engine just to make sure no other South Dakota business is using your preferred business name. You might also want to search the USPTO Trademark Database to see if the name has been trademarked at the federal level.
South Dakota also have naming guidelines for all business names. Your name can’t:
- be the same or too similar to the names of registered business entities in South Dakota.
- use words like LLC, Inc., Corp., and other identifiers that suggest your business is a different entity type than it is.
- use words or titles that suggest that the business does something that it doesn’t (doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc…).
- use a word or words that make it appear that your business is a government entity.
South Dakota’s DBA registration can only be completed online, through the South Dakota Secretary of State website. The filing fee is $10. The information you will need in order to complete the registration is:
- Your South Dakota Business ID Number
- Name and address of business owner registering the DBA
It will take the Secretary of State about 1-2 business days to process your registration. In a hurry? You can pay an extra $50 for same-day expedited service.
Registering a DBA vs. Starting a Business in South Dakota
Filing a DBA and starting a business are two separate acts. Starting a business may involve getting a DBA, but it isn’t required. A business is an entity that provides goods or services to customers, often with the aim of making a profit. A DBA is a tool businesses can use to market themselves under a different name. You’ll need a business before you can get a DBA.
There are two ways to start a business in South Dakota:
Sell a service or product. Being in business is as easy as mowing a lawn, painting a house, or baking cookies to sell at your local farmer’s market. Sole proprietors (one owner) and general partnerships (two or more owners) are two of the most popular business types because they are easy to start and require no formation paperwork or filing fees.
Register with the state. To form a registered business entity like an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file formation documents with the state and pay a filing fee.
South Dakota DBA vs. South Dakota LLC
A DBA won’t protect your assets like a South Dakota LLC will. That’s because a DBA is just an alternate name that you can use for your business. An LLC is an actual legal business entity. Both DBAs and LLCs are registered with the state, but only an LLC gives business owners personal asset protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. Registering an LLC creates a distinct legal separation between the business and the owners of the business. It’s this separation that protects the personal assets (401k, car, house, savings) of the LLC owners.
If all you want is a different name for your business, a DBA is probably what you’re looking for. But if you want the type of business entity that will shield your hard earned assets, a South Dakota LLC is probably your best bet, and Northwest can help you get one.
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South Dakota DBA FAQs
Is a DBA required in South Dakota?
Yes. State law requires that any business that uses a name that is not its legal business name register a DBA with the South Dakota Secretary of State.
How do I get a DBA in South Dakota?
Your first step is to make sure no other business is using your preferred DBA. From there you’ll file state paperwork and pay a registration fee.
How much does it cost to get a DBA in South Dakota?
How long does it take to get a South Dakota DBA?
1-2 business days. Same-day expedited service is available for an extra $50.
How long will my South Dakota DBA last?
How do I renew my DBA in South Dakota?
DBA renewals can only be filed within 90 days of the expiration date. Renewals cost $10, and can be completed online with the South Dakota Secretary of State.
Can I change or update my DBA name in South Dakota?
No. You can amend the business address or change the owner of your DBA, but you can’t change the DBA name itself via an amendment. Updates to your DBA can be made online with the Secretary of State. To change your DBA name, you’d need to cancel your DBA and register a new one.
How do I cancel my DBA in South Dakota?
Canceling your DBA is simple. Just go to South Dakota’s Business Name Cancellation page, input the required information, and boom, your DBA is canceled. There is no fee.
Do I need a separate EIN for my DBA?
No. DBAs are just names, not taxable entities. Certain businesses, like multi-member LLCs, corporations, and any business with employees, need an EIN, but you won’t need a separate EIN for a DBA.
Do I need a separate bank account for my DBA?
You can open up a bank account with a DBA if you want to, but it isn’t necessary. Some business owners find that opening separate bank accounts for their DBAs makes accounting easier. Remember, just because a DBA has its own bank account doesn’t mean that it offers any sort of liability protection from lawsuits or bankruptcy. LLCs and corporations protect assets, not DBAs.
How many DBAs can I have in South Dakota?
You can have as many DBAs in South Dakota as your business needs. Each one will cost $10 and need to be renewed every 5 years.
How can I protect my DBA?
To make sure no one else can use your DBA in South Dakota, you can trademark it at the state level. However, state-level protection won’t prevent someone else from using your business name in another state. To protect your DBA on a national level you can apply for a federal trademark.