Last Updated: February 16, 2024, 12:14 pm by TRUiC Team

How to File a DBA in Washington DC

Registering a DBA, known in Washington D.C. as a trade name, will establish your business’s branding. DBAs are a simple way to start growing your business.

We’ll show you how to register a Washington D.C. DBA below.

Or, you can save time and use a trusted DBA service.

Recommended: Register your DBA and establish your brand with LegalZoom. Packages start at $99 (plus state filing fees).

Learn how to file a DBA Washington D.C.

Register a Trade Name in DC

Registering a Washington D.C. trade name, also known as a DBA, is easy!

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

First, visit the Link to CorpOnline 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.

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

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 Washington D.C. DBA

Your Washington D.C. trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection. You can file online with the 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

Recommended: Use a reputable service. LegalZoom offers a hassle free DBA filing package starting at $99 + State Filing Fees.

File a Washington D.C. Trade Name

OPTION 1: File Online With DC CorpOnline

File Online

- OR -

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

Download Form

$55 Filing Fee

Mailing Address:
Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection
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 Licensing and Consumer Protection: 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 Licensing and Consumer Protection
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 Licensing and Consumer Protection
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 Licensing and Consumer Protection
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.

DBA Washington D.C. FAQ

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.

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.

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.

A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

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.

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.

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.