How to Get a Montana DBA Name

Although filing for a DBA is similar nationwide, there are specific rules to follow when getting a Montana DBA. Read on to learn more.
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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 February 29, 2024
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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As a business owner in Montana, you’re required to create an official business name when completing your formation documents. But that official name may not be the name you want to use in your branding.

Enter a Montana DBA — a fictitious business name under which you can operate. Read on to discover the ins and outs of a DBA, Montana’s rules for creating one, and why you may need this type of name.

DBA in Montana: Key Takeaways

  • The Secretary of State handles all DBA filings in Montana.

  • Your DBA lasts for five years, after which you need to refile if you wish to keep it.

  • Montana only allows you to file for your DBA online, meaning there’s no physical form to complete.

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What Is a DBA?

A DBA, or “doing business as” name, is a fictitious business name for which entrepreneurs and business owners can apply when setting up or operating their companies. Think of it as an alternative name for your business that you can use for branding when your official name isn’t usable.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations can set up a DBA, called an assumed name in Montana, at any point. For instance, an LLC owner might use a DBA to rebrand themselves as “Montana Fisheries” when their official name is “Montana Fish Holding Company, LLC.”

It’s also important to note that a Montana DBA does not affect your business structure. They aren’t the same thing, meaning no matter your structure, you can apply for a DBA name without any issues. No restructuring of the company or its tax obligations needs to take place.

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How to File a DBA in Montana

You can file for a DBA to change the legal name of your business at any point during the setup or ownership of the company. The DBA application process is fairly straightforward — just follow these steps to apply for your assumed business name.

Regardless of the type of business you create, you must choose a name that’s unique to your company. That rule applies when creating a Montana DBA, too. You can’t use a name if another company in the state is using it in either an official or fictitious capacity. 

You can run a name search with the Montana Secretary of State’s Business Search database. The tool instantly shows you whether a Montana DBA you’re considering is available.

Free Montana Business Name Search

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

2. File Your DBA With the Secretary of State

Some states require business owners to file a fictitious business name statement containing various aspects of their business information as part of setting up a DBA. However, this step isn’t required for Montana DBA registration. 

Once you know that your Montana DBA is available, you move on to the DBA filing process. Montana makes this easy — all filings are taken care of via the Secretary of State’s website.

Once there, you’ll discover the state’s ePass service, through which you can submit articles of incorporation, assign a registered agent for your company, and handle the paperwork and state fees for creating a DBA.

Specifically, you must complete the Registration of Assumed Business Name (ABN/DBA) form via the service, which you submit alongside a $20 filing fee directly on the platform.[1] The form asks for the following information:

  • Basic description of your business

  • Company’s structure, such as “sole proprietorship” or “limited liability company”

  • Contact information

Finally, it’s worth noting that having a DBA doesn’t provide automatic trademark protection to your chosen name. Though no other company in Montana can use your assumed name, businesses in other states can. To prevent that, you can apply for a trademark.[2]

3. Follow Up

As nice as it would be to have the filing of your DBA paperwork be a “one-and-done” task, that isn’t the case in Montana. The state requires you to periodically check in with a renewal of your assumed name to confirm that you’re still using your Montana DBA.

You can do this via the ePass service you used to create your assumed name. The state requires you to renew the name every five years from the registration date, and you must pay a filing fee of $20. You will also receive a notification of the pending expiry of a DBA name no less than 90 days before the deadline.[3]

You don’t have to involve the local county clerk’s office. It’s all handled at the state level, with your renewed DBA being valid across Montana for five years.

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Montana DBA Name Restrictions

Though your DBA name does not impact your business structure, many restrictions that applied when choosing your official name apply to your assumed name. These include the following:

  • Your assumed name can not be the same as any other business name used in Montana.

  • You can’t imply that your business entity is anything other than what it is with your assumed name. For instance, somebody who has a limited partnership can’t use their Montana DBA to imply that they have an LLC or corporation.

  • Your business can’t imply that you’re part of a federal agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service, or that you provide professional or financial services your company doesn’t offer.

DBA Montana Tax Considerations

Given that applying for an assumed business name means no changes are made to your business structure, you can rest assured that you don’t need to worry about extra tax considerations. For instance, you don’t have to apply for a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID when you get approval for a DBA name.[4]

Furthermore, the name has no positive or otherwise impact on the protection offered to your personal assets by your business entity. For instance, an LLC owner still gets the protections the LLC structure provides, whereas a sole proprietorship gets no additional protections.

In short, a “doing business as” name in Montana has no impact on your tax obligations whatsoever.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Now that you know how to apply for an assumed name in Montana, there’s one more question to answer — why?

Most companies apply for a DBA because their official business name isn’t suitable for building a brand. Take a limited liability company as an example. Montana’s business naming conventions state that an official business name for an LLC needs to have some indicator (such as initials) that the company is an LLC.

That’s not the case with a DBA — you can create a name without stating that you have an LLC.

Similarly, somebody operating a sole proprietorship can use a DBA to get a more “official” sounding name rather than using their own name as the company’s moniker. This makes the business owner more credible in the eyes of clients, and may make it easier to apply for a business bank account.

On the other hand, you may no longer be happy with your official business name, but you don’t want to go through the long-winded process of setting up a new business structure to change it.

Using an assumed name, you can start trading under a moniker that you prefer without having to make wholesale changes to your official business structure. Think of it as a quick and relatively easy way to make a major change. Of course, your official business name is still in place, but your assumed name can be used instead.

Register Your Montana 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.

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

An LLC is a business entity, whereas a DBA is simply an alternative or fictitious name for a business entity. As such, a DBA does not affect how you structure your company or pay taxes.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

Getting a DBA in Montana costs only $20 in filing fees. You must pay an additional $20 every five years to renew your claim to your DBA.

Do I need a DBA for my Montana business?

No, you can operate a business in Montana without a DBA or assumed name, and there’s no legal requirement to have one. But you may find getting one useful for branding or if you’re a sole proprietor.

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

All three are synonyms, meaning they typically mean the same thing. For instance, Montana calls “doing business as” (DBA) names “assumed names.”

How long does a DBA last?

Your Montana DBA lasts for five years before you need to file forms to renew it. The Secretary of State should deliver a notice for renewal 90 days before the official deadline.

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

Montana has no legal restrictions in place for the number of assumed names you can file.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

No, a DBA is not a trademark. For instance, your Montana DBA prevents other companies in the state from using your assumed name, but it doesn’t offer out-of-state protection. You’ll need a trademark to protect the name outside of Montana.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

Not at all, as your company’s tax status is determined by its structure.


  1. Montana Secretary of State. “Forms.” Accessed November 6, 2023.

  2. Montana Secretary of State. “Rule: 44.5.141.” Accessed November 6, 2023.

  3. Montana Code Annotated 2021. “Term And Renewal Of Assumed Business Name Registration.” Accessed November 6, 2023.

  4. Internal Revenue Service. “Do You Need a New EIN?” Accessed November 6, 2023.

Originally published on February 29, 2024, and last edited on February 29, 2024.
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