How to File a DBA in Washington D.C.

DBA Washington D.C.: A person holding a tablet displaying "your name is your brand" File a DBA.

Filing a Washington D.C. trade name, also known as a Washington D.C. DBA (doing business as), is an easy process that is achieved by filing the Washington D.C. TN-1 Trade Name Registration Form with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Follow our step-by-step How to Get a DBA in Washington D.C. guide to get started today.

Important: A DBA is only used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

Follow These Steps to File Your Washington D.C. DBA

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A professional service will handle filing your DBA in Washington D.C., allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

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Getting a DBA in Washington D.C. is Easy

Step 1. Start with a Washington D.C. Trade Name Search

Washington D.C. trade names must be unique and must also meet Washington D.C.'s business name requirements.

First, visit the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Business License Verification website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Washington D.C. naming requirements. In Washington D.C., trade names should NOT include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
  • The words “bank,” “banking,” “credit union,” “insurance,” or words of similar meaning without the prior approval of the Mayor.

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.

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

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2. Register Your Washington D.C. DBA

Your Washington D.C. trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. You can file online with the Corporations Division CorpOnline Web Portal or you can complete the TN-1 Trade Name Registration form.

Some important sections of the form include:

  • Section 1: Name of individual or entity registering the trade name
  • Section 3: Type of Organization
  • Section 6: Registered agent name and address

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.

File a Washington D.C. Trade Name

Option 1: File online with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the TN-1 Trade Name Registration Form by Mail

Download Form


Cost:
$55 Filing Fee

Mailing Address:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Manage Your Washington D.C. Trade Name

General Questions
Call the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: (202) 442-4432

Renew Your Trade Name With the State
Your Washington D.C. trade name needs to be renewed every two years. The renewal due date is April 1, with the first renewal due by April 1 of the second year from the year of registration. The filing fee is $55. You can renew online or by filling out the TN-2 Trade Name Renewal form and mailing it to the address below:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Change Your Trade Name
You can change your trade name by filling out the TN-4 Trade Name Amendment form. Mail the completed form and the $55 filing fee to the address below:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Withdraw Your Trade Name
To cancel your trade name, complete the trade name TN-3 Trade Name Cancellation form and mail it, along with the $55 fee, to the address below:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

After Filing Your Washington D.C. 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.

Need Help Filing Your Washington D.C. DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Washington D.C. DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) 

DBA Washington D.C. 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.

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