How to Get a Minnesota DBA Name

Although filing for a DBA is similar nationwide, there are specific rules to follow when getting a Minnesota DBA. Read on to learn more.
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Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated January 17, 2024
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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DBA stands for “doing business as,” and you’ll need to file for a Minnesota DBA if you plan to operate your company under a name that differs from its legal name. Also known as a “trade name,” “assumed business name,” or “fictitious business name,” a DBA Minnesota provides several advantages. 

This guide will explore what DBAs are and how to get one.

DBA in Minnesota: Key Takeaways

  • A Minnesota DBA or “assumed business name” is an alternative name under which a business can operate.

  • To file for a DBA in Minnesota, business owners must file a Certificate of Assumed Name form with the Secretary of State.

  • The DBA filing fee in Minnesota will vary depending on whether you file online or by mail.

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What Is a DBA?

Before filing for a Minnesota DBA, business owners must understand what it is and isn’t. 

A DBA Minnesota is not a business structure, nor will it affect your business’s tax obligations or operations. It’s not like an LLC, for example. Instead, a DBA, or “doing business as” name, is a name that business owners can use instead of its legal name. 

For example, a sole proprietor named Jacob Heinz would have to use his name as his business’s legal name. He might prefer to use a DBA or assumed name to protect his privacy and make his business more marketable.

However, sole proprietors aren’t the only ones who can use a DBA or fictitious business name. Various other types and sizes of businesses can also file for a DBA and use an alternate name to market and run their companies. 

How to File a DBA in Minnesota

Acquiring a Minnesota DBA or fictitious business name involves several steps. Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the DBA filing process, including information on the required DBA paperwork and filing fee.

Like other states, Minnesota has certain naming guidelines when filing for a DBA or “doing business as” name.[1] Specifically, your name must be unique, differing by at least one letter or numeral compared to other existing business names in the state.

So, the first step in filing for your Minnesota DBA is to conduct a business name search. It will let you see what names are available and which have already been claimed. It’ll also help you avoid the mistake of accidentally using a name already used by another business. 

You can begin your name search with our free business name search tool. It’s fast, easy to use, and convenient. Alternatively, the Minnesota Secretary of State also has an online name search tool for business owners to use.[2] 

Free Minnesota Business Name Search

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

Remember: a DBA is not the same as a trademark, so it won’t give you exclusive rights over your chosen Minnesota business name.

Step 2 — File Your Certificate of Assumed Name Form

After picking out an assumed name for your small business, the next step of DBA filing is the paperwork.

DBA paperwork in Minnesota is similar to other states but has some notable differences. Instead of a fictitious business statement, you’ll need to fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name. And, instead of filing at your county clerk’s office, you’ll file your DBA Minnesota directly with the Secretary of State.

You’ll need to enter your desired assumed name on the form, along with other details, like the place of business and the names and addresses of all business owners. 

You can choose to fill it in and file it online. This is the most convenient but expensive option, with a filing fee of $50.

The other option is to file by mail, fill in the form by hand, and mail it to the Minnesota Secretary of State Business Services. If you opt for a mail filing, you’ll only have to pay $30, although you can pay $20 more for expedited service.

Step 3 — Publish Your DBA Name

The next step of DBA registration is to publish your Certificate of Assumed Name form in a local newspaper. 

Your “doing business as” or DBA name must be published in a qualified legal newspaper for at least two consecutive issues in the county of the principal place of business. The newspaper should then provide an affidavit of publication for your fictitious business name or trade name, which you should keep for your records.[3]

Step 4 — Follow Up

With the fees paid, DBA paperwork filled in, and publication requirements met, your DBA Minnesota should be ready to use. However, it’s important to note that a Minnesota assumed name won’t last forever. 

You’ll have to renew your startup or business name each year. The assumed name annual renewal process involves simply filling out a form, and there’s no fee as long as you file on time.

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Minnesota DBA Name Restrictions

There are a few rules and restrictions to bear in mind when filing a Minnesota DBA. 

The law states that any assumed business name should not contain any business suffixes, like LLC or Inc., unless they are appropriate and match the company's business structure. A DBA is not a business structure, like a limited partnership or nonprofit, so using such terms isn’t allowed, as it could cause confusion.

In addition, any words related to financial institutions, like “bank” or “credit union,” shouldn’t be used. 

Don’t forget that a DBA in Minnesota is not the same as a trademark. It may help prevent companies in your local county and state from copying your name, but it doesn’t give you exclusive ownership rights over that name.

DBA Minnesota Tax Considerations

It’s normal for business owners to worry about possible tax changes or impacts on their personal assets when making changes to their business, like setting up a DBA. But does a “doing business as” name impact the tax obligations for your business entity?

Thankfully for business owners, the answer to that is no. A DBA name gives you an alternate business name to operate. That’s all. It doesn’t affect your business structure in any way, nor will it affect your taxes. So you won’t have to worry about applying for a new employer identification number (EIN), for example, or paying any more tax.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

No matter what kind of business you’re running, from a sole proprietorship to a limited liability company, an assumed name can offer a range of advantages. Here are some reasons to consider a Minnesota DBA:

  • Privacy: If you’re running a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you must use your full personal name as the business’s legal name. Getting a DBA lets you effectively hide your name from the public.

  • Banking: For sole proprietors, having a separate business bank account is impossible if you don’t have a “doing business as” name. And you’ll need an account to separate your personal and business assets.

  • Marketing: Many legal business names are excessively long, complex, or hard to market. Having a DBA lets you use words that are more relevant to your business and more eye-catching to your audience, making it easier to market your brand.

  • Multiple businesses: If you plan to set up multiple businesses from a single company without creating a separate business entity each time, you can file for DBAs. Having DBA names for each of your new businesses will let you set them up and start operating them much more quickly and easily.

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  • 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.

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

An LLC is a type of business entity. It stands for limited liability company. A DBA, meanwhile, is just a different or assumed business name to operate under. It stands for “doing business as.” The two are completely different terms, and unlike an LLC, a DBA is not a type of business structure.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

In Minnesota, the filing fee for a DBA is either $30 for filing by mail or $50 if you file online.

Do I need a DBA for my Minnesota business?

Having a DBA is not mandatory, but there are many cases in which you need one. Sole proprietors, for example, need DBAs to open business bank accounts, and other business owners will need a DBA if they intend to run their business under a different name than its legal one.

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

There isn’t any difference at all. They all mean the same thing — an alternate name for a business that differs from its legal name. In Minnesota, the term “assumed business name” tends to be favored.

How long does a DBA last?

In Minnesota, each DBA certificate will last for only one year, so you have to go through a renewal process each year to maintain your name.

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

No, there isn’t any upper limit regarding the amount of DBA names you can have. However, you will have to fill in the paperwork, pay the fees for each name you want to make, and publish each in a legal newspaper.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

No, a DBA offers no trademark protections and is not equivalent to a trademark. It simply gives you a recognized alternative name for your business, which can be helpful for marketing or opening a business bank account. A trademark gives you exclusive rights and ownership over your name.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

No, a DBA doesn’t affect your business’s tax status or obligations. It just gives you a company name different from its legal name.


  1. Minnesota Secretary of State. “Name Availability Guidelines.” Accessed October 30, 2023.

  2. Minnesota Employment and Economic Development. “Naming Your Business.” Accessed October 30, 2023.

  3. Minnesota Secretary of State. “Assumed Name/DBA.” Accessed October 30, 2023.

Originally published on January 17, 2024, and last edited on January 17, 2024.
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