How to File a DBA in Nebraska
A Nebraska DBA (doing business as) is called a trade name. Nebraska trade name registration allows a business to operate under a name that’s different from its legal name.
Nebraska DBA registration won’t protect your personal assets. Forming a formal business structure like an LLC or corporation will give you liability protection along with a business name
Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Learn more in our DBA vs LLC guide.
Use our step by step guide below to get a DBA for your Nebraska business. For a look at DBA filing in another state, check out our other How to Get a DBA guides.
Register a Trade Name in Nebraska
Registering a Nebraska trade name, also known as a DBA, is easy!
A DBA is only used for branding. A DBA doesn't offer any protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For this reason, we strongly recommend that a DBA should only be used by a formal business structure such as an LLC or corporation for the purpose of adding new brands to an existing business.
If you are running an informal business (sole proprietorship or partnership), we strongly suggest forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets. The name of the LLC can be selected to act as the brand name for the business.
Learn How to File a DBA in Nebraska yourself in three steps:
- Start with a Nebraska Trade Name Search
- Register Your Nebraska DBA
- Publish Notice of Your Nebraska DBA
Note: A DBA is only used for branding. We recommend forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets.
Step 1. Start with a Nebraska Trade Name Search
Nebraska trade names must be unique and must also meet Nebraska’s business name requirements.
First, visit the Nebraska Secretary of State's Business Name Search and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.
Next, review the Nebraska naming requirements. In Nebraska, trade names should NOT include:
- Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
- Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," 'banque," "banker, ''trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.
- Any words that imply that the company is organized for any unlawful purpose.
- The word “geologist”
Need Help Choosing a DBA Name?
If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. You can use this tool to generate both business names and domain names.
We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.
Find a Domain Now
Once you reserve a domain name for your DBA, consider setting up a business phone system to help strengthen your customer service and boost credibility. We recommend Phone.com because of its affordable pricing and variety of useful features. Start calling with Phone.com.
Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?
If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.
Step 2. Register Your Nebraska DBA
Your Nebraska trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Secretary of State. You can file online with the Secretary of State’s website or you can complete the hard copy Application for Registration of Trade Name.
The application asks you to provide information about your business, including:
- Type of applicant (individual, corporation, LLC, etc.)
- State under which laws the entity was formed (if not an individual)
- Date of the name’s first usage in Nebraska-use "new" or "upon filing" unless this name has been used in the past. Do not include a future date.
- General nature of business
A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.
Option 1: File Online With the Secretary of State’s Corporate Document eDelivery
- OR -
Option 2: File the Application for Registration of Trade Name by Mail
$100 Filing Fee
Secretary of State’s Office
Business Services Division (Corporations)
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509
Step 3. Publish Notice of Your Nebraska DBA
You must publish a legal notice of your trade name in a newspaper after your name is registered. The notice must be published by a newspaper that circulates in the city or village of the principal location of the business. If there is no newspaper in the city or village, you can use a newspaper in the county in which your business is located.
The notice of the trade name must include information exactly as it is stated on the application.
Manage Your Nebraska Trade Name
Call the Nebraska Secretary of State: (402) 471-4079
Renew Your Trade Name With the State
Your Nebraska trade name expires 10 years after its registration date. You must call (402) 471-4079 to receive a renewal form. The fee is $100, and you cannot renew online.
Change Your Trade Name
You can change the owner’s name, address, and state of incorporation or organization by filing an Application to Amend Trade Name Registration. The fee is $10, and you can mail the completed form to the address below:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509
Withdraw Your Trade Name
You can withdraw your Nebraska trade name by filing a voluntary request for cancellation with the Secretary of State. Call (402) 471-4079 for more information.
If you want to use a professional service to get a DBA for your business we recommend:
Swyft Filings ($99 + state fee)
After Filing Your Nebraska DBA
If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:
- Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
- Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
- Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.
DBA Nebraska FAQ
How many DBAs can I have?
You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.
Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?
DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.
To learn more about EINs and when you need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.
Can a DBA become an LLC?
No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.
Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.
To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.
Can a DBA have Inc. in the name?
A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.
How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?
Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.
When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?
Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.
Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?
Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.
When it states on the DBA application about when the name was first used in Nebraska, what do I put in that field?
The short answer is that it’s almost always correct to use the words “new” or “upon filing” in that section. Do not use a future date that includes a month, year, day, etc, or the filing will be rejected.
99.9% of applicants will be fine doing this. But, if the trade is, in the words of Nebraska legislature: “merely descriptive or misdescriptive, or is primarily geographically descriptive or geographically misdescriptive as applied to the business of the applicant, or (b) is primarily merely a surname”, business owners will need to have used the name for 5 years to apply for a trade name.
What this means in normal speak is that if the name for a taco restaurant is arguably too broad, such as “a taco restaurant” or is a car mechanic with the name “a taco restaurant”, or is a taco restaurant in Michigan but is named “Abe’s Taco Restaurant in Albuquerque” or it’s named “Albuquerque”, or a taco restaurant is named “Smith”, the business owner will need to show that they have been using one of these strange names for the business for 5 years, and that the business name has become distinctive to clientele and the public at large.