After deciding on the best legal structure for your business, the business name needs to be registered.
Registering a business name in Missouri will be different depending on the type of entity. Here we will break down what a Fictitious Name is, who needs to register, the costs to register, and the steps to successfully register a business name.
What is a Fictitious Name?
In Missouri, a Fictitious Name (commonly referred to as a DBA, Doing Business As, Trade Name, or Assumed Name) is a name that a business uses to operate by but is different from its legal name.
Is a Fictitious Name required in Missouri?
Maybe. Section 417.200 of the Missouri Fictitious Name Act requires anyone doing business under a name other than their true name to file a fictitious name registration with the Secretary of State’s office.
The need for a Fictitious Name registration varies depending on the type of business entity.
For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships can operate in the state of Missouri with the owner’s full first and last name(s), making the DBA registration unnecessary. However, if a sole proprietorship or partnership operating in Missouri wants to operate under a different business name, they will need to register for a Fictitious Name.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLC) will register a legal business name when setting up the business entity. If an additional or different name is desired, they choose to operate under a different name, a Fictitious Name registration will need to be filed with the Missouri Secretary of State.
How much does it cost to file a Registration of Fictitious Name in Missouri?
The filing fee for the Missouri Fictitious Name registration is $7 and is good for five years from the date of filing.
How to register a DBA in Missouri
The steps to file a Fictitious Name registration in Missouri are pretty straightforward and are the same regardless of the business entity.
Step 1 – Fill out the FormThe name registration form can be filed by mail or online with the following forms:
File by mail – https://www.sos.mo.gov/CMSImages/Business/corp56.pdf?v=2
File online – https://bsd.sos.mo.gov/loginwelcome.aspx?lobID=1
Information requested on the form includes:
- Charter number (if a corporation or LLC)
- Name to be registered
- Business address
- Ownership information
Step 2 – File the Form
Submit the form and filing fee by mail or online to the Secretary of State.
If submitting by mail, send to:
Missouri Secretary of State
PO Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Is registering a Fictitious Name the same as a business license?
No. A business license is completely different from a Fictitious Name registration. There is no statewide business license. however many towns and cities require one to legally operate. In addition to a business license, your business will likely need to sign up with the Missouri Department of Revenue for the Business Tax Registration.
Also, a Fictitious Name is different from an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a unique nine-digit number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Does registering a Fictitious Name provide any protection?
Registering a Fictitious Name may not stop anyone from using the exact same name that you registered. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can obtain name protection by creating a trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Are there any restrictions to registering a business name?
There are a few restrictions to registering a business name in Missouri.
- A business name can’t be registered with words or phrases that suggest the business is a governmental agency.
- A business entity suffix such as LLC, Corp., or Inc. can’t be used unless the business is registered as that type of entity.
- Words or phrases such as “bank,” “credit union,” “banker,” “trust company,” or “savings bank” can’t be sued unless the business is a registered financial institution.
How is a Fictitious Name renewed in Missouri?
Name renewals must be made six months before the date of the registration’s expiration. The same forms used to apply for a name are the same forms to renew the name. The renewal fee is $7 and will last for an additional five years.