How to Get an Alabama DBA Name

Although filing for a DBA is similar nationwide, there are specific rules to follow when getting an Alabama DBA. Read on to learn more.
Alabama Birmingham | Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated January 18, 2024
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
Share this guide

Whether you’re forming a limited liability company (LLC) or already have an enterprise, getting a fictitious business name or doing business as (DBA) name may make sense. An Alabama DBA clarifies that you’re operating under a different name from your enterprise’s legal name. 

This article will explain the Alabama DBA registration process.

DBA in Alabama: Key Takeaways

  • Alabama doesn’t require a DBA, but registering one offers numerous branding benefits.

  • You must file a DBA with a town hall clerk in your Alabama county.

  • A DBA doesn’t influence your tax status or business type.

Elevate Your Business Branding With an Alabama DBA

Protect your privacy and gain a new business name with our all-in-one DBA filing service.

Secure My DBA

What Is a DBA?

A DBA or fictitious business name is a name that allows you to do business under a different name from your entity name or personal name.[1] Also known as an assumed name or trade name, a DBA provides business owners tremendous flexibility.

For instance, a DBA can be the pseudonym of different branches within your LLC or corporation. Let’s say you’re in the restaurant business, and the name of the parent organization is “Restaurants Alabama, LLC.” However, a DBA like “Delish Diner 24/7” is catchier and more memorable. Registering a DBA allows you to use this name without forming an LLC from scratch.

Many people consider a DBA a business structure, but this isn’t true. A DBA merely differentiates the name under which you operate from your entity or personal name. On the other hand, a business structure dictates how you pay taxes and perform other essential activities.

A view of Mobile, Alabama | Swyft Filings

How to File a DBA in Alabama

The first step is to find out if the desired Alabama DBA is taken. The only way to do so is to run a business name search, which lists any companies with the same assumed name.

There are many ways to perform your name search. Our business name search tool is a great option. It’s 100% free, easy to use, and will let you know in under an hour whether your desired name is available.

Free Alabama Business Name Search

Enter your desired Alabama company name to see if it is available with our free business name search.

Technically, you can have the same DBA as someone else, but only if it’s not trademarked. If it has trademark protection, the other business owner may sue you for infringement.[2] Don’t skip this step and take your time to determine if the desired assumed name is already in use.

On this note, it’s critical to understand when you register your DBA, it’s not trademarked from day one. Instead, you must file a trademark request with the Alabama Secretary of State or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Only when you receive approval is your DBA protected from unauthorized use.

Step 2 — File Your DBA With the County Clerk’s Office

Once you’ve selected your DBA, it’s time to file it with your county clerk’s office. To register your name, you’ll need to prove that you’ve operated under the DBA. You can use different materials to prove this, such as decals, business cards, flyers, brochures, and labels.

The body that registers trade names in Alabama is the Secretary of State. You can use their portal to submit your request online. Or you can download and fill out the Application to Register or Renew a Trade form. Some of the information you’ll need to provide includes:

  • Date when you first used the DBA in Alabama

  • Examples of use

  • How you plan on using your DBA[3]

After completing the form, apply by mail:

State of Alabama

Office of the Secretary of State

Trademarks Division

P.O. Box 5616

Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Or in-person:

State of Alabama

Office of the Secretary of State

Trademarks Division

11 South Union St., Suite 224

Montgomery, AL 36130

The state filing fee is $30 for in-person submissions and $31.20 for online registrations, payable via credit card. Don’t forget to notarize the request before the submission.

Step 3 — Publish Your DBA Name

Some states, including Alabama, require you to publish your DBA name after approval. But what exactly does publishing a trade name mean? It comes down to notifying the public about your assumed name in a local newspaper.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The town hall approves your DBA.

  2. You receive a Certificate of Registration of Fictitious Name stating that the DBA is officially associated with your entity.

  3. You contact a local newspaper and send them a copy of the certificate, asking them to publish the DBA.

  4. After publication, you hand in an Affidavit of Publication to your County’s Probate Court to verify the release.

The publishing process may take a while, but you won’t have to do it throughout the lifetime of your DBA. Instead, you need only do it once a week for three weeks after the approval.

Step 4 — Follow Up

In Alabama, you need to renew your DBA every five years.

The renewal procedure is pretty much the same as the original application. You must complete and submit the Application to Register or Renew a Trademark, Service Mark, or Trade Name in Alabama. The price is $30 for in-person filing and $31.20 for online filing.

The only difference between a renewal and the original application is the number of examples you’ll need to prove you’re using your DBA. For the initial submission, you’ll need to present multiple use cases. For renewals, you need to include only one instance.

The coast of Alabama | Swyft Filings

Alabama DBA Name Restrictions

Regarding your DBA name, availability shouldn’t be your only priority. You also need to make sure the name doesn’t violate the following Alabama rules:

  • Must not contain any bank or insurance-related words unless permitted by the Alabama Banking Commissioner’s Office

  • Must not contain words that imply your company is offering unauthorized products or services

  • Must not contain professional designations (e.g., attorney) unless licensed by the relevant government or state agency

  • Must not contain words that may make others confuse you for a government agency, like Treasury, Department of Transport, or Food and Drug Administration

DBA Alabama Tax Considerations

Even though a DBA doesn’t alter your tax status, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay special attention to your taxes. 

Certifying a trade name doesn’t create a separate business entity. No matter how many DBAs you have, your LLC or corporation operates under a single employer identification number (EIN). You need a new tax ID or EIN only when you change the ownership structure, which doesn’t happen when getting a DBA.[4]

Selling a product or service under a DBA doesn’t exempt you from paying sales tax. You must still return sales tax to the Department of Revenue to avoid penalties.[5] 

If you’re a sole proprietor or general partnership, a DBA doesn’t protect your personal assets in the event of litigation. To ensure liability protection, you’ll need to transition to an LLC.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Now, you know how to get a DBA, but why should you apply for one in the first place? Quite a few reasons, in fact:

  • You want to sell products or services under a more appropriate name for your industry.

  • You want to sell additional products or services without starting a new business.

  • You wish to open a business bank account, and one of the conditions is to have a DBA.

  • You’re a sole proprietor who doesn’t want to do business under their personal name.

Register Your Alabama DBA in Minutes
  • Gain Privacy: Hide your personal name and details when marketing your business.

  • Improve Branding: Choose a DBA that easily informs your audience about what you have to offer.

  • Expand Services: Operate multiple businesses without creating separate entities for each one.

Secure My DBA


What’s the difference between an LLC and a DBA?

An LLC is a type of business structure, whereas a DBA or trade name is the fictitious name of your company. It enables you to start selling a new product or service under a different name without creating an entirely new enterprise.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

The cost of getting a DBA varies by state. In Alabama, if you submit the trade name form in person, you must pay a $30 state fee. The DBA filing fee for online submissions is $31.20.

Do I need a DBA for my Alabama business?

Technically, no. You don’t need a DBA for your Alabama corporation or LLC, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t register one. It allows you to separate your personal name from your company name if you’re a sole proprietor. It also eliminates creating a new company to offer a product or service under a different name.

What’s the difference between a trade name, assumed name, and a DBA name?

There are no differences. The terms trade name, DBA name, and assumed name are different ways to say the same thing. They all mean a fictitious business name.

How long does a DBA last?

The length of a DBA depends on your state. If you’ve registered a DBA in Alabama, you must renew it by submitting the Application to Register or Renew a Trademark, Service Mark, or Trade Name form.

Is there a limit to the number of DBA names I can have?

No. Entrepreneurs can have as many DBAs as they want. The key is ensuring every DBA is available and doesn’t clash with Alabama’s trade name guidelines.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

No. A DBA isn’t the same as a trademark, be it a state or federal trademark. A DBA is merely an alter ego of your company under which you provide a product or service. A trademark, on the other hand, is a word, symbol, or phrase that grants legal protection, distinguishes your business, and prevents unauthorized use of your brand name.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

No. A DBA doesn’t affect the tax status of your business. The lack of tax amendments makes it a great way to streamline the expansion of your enterprise.


  1. U.S. SBA. “Choose Your Business Name.” Accessed October 6, 2023.

  2. USPTO. “About Trademark Infringement.” Accessed October 6, 2023.

  3. State of Alabama. “Instructions for Application to Register/Renew Trademark, Service Mark, or Trade Name in Alabama.” Accessed October 6, 2023.

  4. IRS. “Do You Need a New EIN?” Accessed October 9, 2023.

  5. Alabama Department of Revenue. “FAQs.” Accessed October 9, 2023.

Originally published on January 18, 2024, and last edited on January 18, 2024.
business types

Learn more about each type of business

No matter the business type, Swyft Filings can help you form your new company.