How to Get a DBA in Utah
A Utah DBA is any name a business uses that is different from its legal business name. You can use a DBA in all sorts of ways, including to market your business, open a business bank account, pay vendors, or take payment from customers. All types of businesses can register DBAs, including Utah sole proprietors, general partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and more. Utah DBA registration is pretty straightforward, costs just $22, and lasts for three years. Below, we show you how to register a DBA in Utah.
Your Utah DBA Guide:
What is a Utah DBA ?
A DBA is a nickname that business owners can use in place of their legal business name. However, a DBA is just a name for your business and not a business itself. With a DBA, you’ll still file taxes under your legal business name and the business’ EIN (or in the case of sole proprietors, a SSN).
Popular ways to use a DBA include:
- Websites and social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, etc…)
- Advertising (billboards, print media, radio, television, etc…)
- Business cards, company letterhead and merchandise
- To open a business bank account
- Setting up a point-of-sale system
DBAs are also used by franchise businesses. For example, if you own a Subway franchise, the legal name of your business might be “Sal’s Sandwiches, LLC,” but you’ll need to get a DBA to use the Subway name.
Why Register a Utah DBA?
Utah law (UT Code § 42-2-10) dictates that any business that uses a DBA without registering it with the state will not be able to sue, prosecute, or maintain any action in a court of law. Additional penalties may also be assessed to any business that doesn’t register a DBA.
There are other reasons why you might want a Utah DBA:
You’re looking to expand or rebrand your business. A DBA can be beneficial if you hope to rebrand or expand your business and don’t want to create a new company from scratch. For example, if you own a dog sitting business, but want to expand into dog training, you can get a DBA to use a new name for you training business. With this new DBA, you can market you dog training business to a new demographic. Essentially you can now operate two businesses with two distinct names, just by registering a DBA. If your dog sitting business is a formal entity like an LLC or corporation, your training business, which is really just a DBA and not a separate business, will receive liability protection under the umbrella of the state-registered entity.
You want a different name for your business. Sole proprietors are their business, which means the legal name of the business is the first and last name of the owner (ex: John Smith). General partnerships run into a similar problem, having to use the combined last names of the partners (ex: Smith and Jones). If you don’t want to do business using your name, a Utah DBA is the most affordable option (just $22) to get a new name for your business. You’ll be able to use your DBA on all sorts of marketing materials like social media accounts, business cards, and even a dedicated business bank account.
You use your website domain name as your business name. Imagine you have a registered business name in Utah, “Crystals By Krystal, LLC.” However, your domain name, “hardcorecrystals.com,” is the name you use as your customer-facing business name (business cards, letterhead, checks, advertisements, social media, etc…), you’ll need to register a DBA.
Will a DBA keep my personal information off the public record?
No. Utah requires DBA registration so that the state knows who is operating what business. The state’s DBA application requires the name and address of the business owner(s) to be listed. The best way to keep your private information off public record is to hire a Utah registered agent to form a Utah LLC. Not only will an LLC allow you to choose a business name you want rather than doing business under your name, but if you hire Northwest, we’ll use our information, where allowed, in place of yours on all public filings.
How to Register a DBA in Utah
If your business uses a name that isn’t its legal name, it will need to register a Utah DBA. We go over the steps here:
DBAs must follow state naming laws (UT Code § 42-2-6.6). In general, this means that your DBA can’t:
- be the same or overly similar to other business names already registered in the state.
- include an entity identifier like “LLC,” or “Inc.,” if the business is neither.
- use words like “bank,” “cooperative,” “association,” or any name (like a government agency) that could mislead customers.
To make sure your preferred DBA name is available, you’ll need to use Utah’s Division of Corporations business search to see if any other business is using the name. It’s also a good idea to perform an online trademark search of your DBA name to make sure it isn’t registered at the federal level. While you’re at it, you might want to search online to see if any Utah business is using your DBA name, or something similar. It never hurts to double and triple check that a business name is available.
Utah’s Business Name Registration/DBA Application is what officially registers your DBA with the state. You can fill out the application online, or print a paper copy and mail, fax, or file it in person. Online filers will need a UtahID if they don’t already have one. The information you’ll need in order to complete the application is:
- DBA name that is being applied for
- Purpose of business (taco truck, handmade jewelry, tutoring, etc…)
- Business address
- Registered agent name and address
- Name and address of business owner/applicant
- Entity number (if a registered business)
- Signature of business owner or applicant
Note: Entity numbers are assigned to Utah businesses when they register with the state. Registering with the state will allow your business to collect state sales tax. This means that if you haven’t yet registered your business with the state, you’ll need to do so through Utah’s OneStop Online Business Registration.
Utah allows for online, mail, in person, and faxed DBA filings. The filing fee is $22 no matter how you file. Online filings will be processed in about one business day. If you are mailing, faxing, or hand delivering your application, the processing times can be about 6-7 business days (add time for mail). In a hurry? You can pay $97 + the $22 filing fee to have your paper application processed in 1-2 business days. Save your money, file online.
Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
PO Box 146705
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6705
Heber M. Wells Building
160 East 300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Faxed filings will need to fill out a cover letter form to send in along with their application.
How Do I Renew a Utah DBA?
Utah will send your business a renewal notice 60 days before your DBA’s expiration date. You have two options, renew online with Utah’s Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, or renew using Utah’s Annual Report/Renewal Form and file by mail, fax, or deliver it in person. The cost to renew a DBA is $18.
Can I update my DBA in Utah?
Yes. It costs $13 to change your DBA information. You can file a paper copy of the DBA Registration Information Change form by mail, in person, or fax. The fastest way (1-2 business days) to change your DBA information is to renew online with Utah’s Division of Corporations and Commercial Code.
How do I cancel my Utah DBA?
To cancel your Utah DBA, you’ll need to mail, fax, or deliver in person a Letter of Cancellation to the Division of Corporations. The cancellation letter must include the following information:
- Address of the business
- Entity number of the business
- Name of the applicant(s)/owner(s)
- Correct name of the business to be canceled
- Signature(s) of the applicant(s)/owner(s)
There is no fee to cancel a DBA in Utah.
Registering a DBA vs. Starting a Business in Utah
Registering a DBA should not be confused with starting a business in Utah. A DBA is a tool businesses can use to market themselves under a different name. Starting a business may involve getting a DBA, but it isn’t required. You’ll need a business before you can get a DBA.
There are two ways to start a business in Utah:
Sell a product or service: Being in business is as simple as getting paid to provide a product or service. 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 formal state paperwork or fees.
Register your business with the state: State-registered entities like LLCs and corporations offer liability protection to their owners in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. To form a business entity like an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file formal registration documents with the state and pay the required fee.
DBA vs. LLC in Utah
A DBA is just a name for your business. It doesn’t protect your personal assets like a Utah LLC will. An LLC is a legal business entity that gives business owners liability protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. Forming an LLC creates a legal entity that is separate from its owners. A DBA is a tool that an LLC can use to operate under a different business name, but a DBA does not offer any liability protection.
If you’re a sole proprietor or in a general partnership and all you want is a business name, a DBA is often all you need. However, if asset protection and a business name are what you crave, a Utah LLC is the way to go, and Northwest can help you get one.
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Utah DBA FAQs
Is registering a DBA required in Utah?
Yes. Utah requires any business that uses a name different from its legal name to register that name with the state or face potential financial and legal penalties.
How do I register a DBA in Utah?
You’ll need to make sure no one else is using the DBA name and that it adheres to state naming guidelines. The final step is to fill out Utah’s Business Name Registration/DBA Application and submit it to the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, along with a $22 registration fee.
How much does it cost to get a DBA in Utah?
How long does it take to get a Utah DBA?
Online filings are processed in about one business day. In person and faxed filings can take up to seven business days to be processed. Mailed filings will take longer due to postal times.
How long does a Utah DBA last?
Do I need a separate bank account for my DBA?
No. Getting a DBA doesn’t create a new business, so you’re not required to get a new bank account. However, there are some reasons why you might prefer to open a new bank account for a DBA. You may want to keep your brand names financially separate from each other. In that case, it might be simpler to have two business bank accounts.
Do I need a separate EIN for my DBA?
No. A DBA is just a name for doing business, not a new entity. But if you have a multi-member LLC, corporation, or any other business with employees, you will need to get an EIN from the IRS.
How many DBAs can I have in Utah?
Utah allows businesses to have as many DBAs they want. Each DBA will need to go through the same registration process.
Can I sign a business contract with my Utah DBA?
Since a DBA is just a name and not a legal entity, you’ll need to use the legal name of your business in order to enter into any contract. You’ll also want to be transparent that your business operates with a DBA.For example, if Tom Smith is a sole proprietor using a DBA, he’d sign a contract “Tom Smith, DBA Big Time Auto Repair.” Similarly, an LLC with a DBA would have an authorized member or manager from the LLC sign their name, the LLC’s name, and then the DBA name.
What is my legal business name?
Your legal business name is the name that appears on your business’s government documents (state filings, tax filings, etc.).
- For formal business entities like LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits, a business’s legal name is the name listed on its formation documents, including the company’s corporate identifier (“Company Name, LLC,” “Company Name, Inc.,” etc.).
- For sole proprietors, a business’s legal name is the owner’s legal name.
- For general partnerships, a business’s legal name is either the partners’ last names or a name the partnership gave itself in a written partnership agreement.