How to File for an Ohio DBA

When filing for an Ohio DBA name, be sure to follow state-specific guidelines in the application process. Learn the benefits of this fictitious business name and how to file for it.
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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.

Catherine Cohen
Written by Catherine Cohen
Written byCatherine Cohen
Updated January 18, 2024
Edited by Zachary Ace Aiuppa
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Whether you’re starting a business in Ohio or have one already, you may encounter situations where your current name doesn’t fit your needs or products. The good news is that you don’t have to change your legal business name; filing for a DBA will do the trick. A DBA or “doing business as” name will serve as your fictitious name.

This article will explain everything you need to file for an Ohio DBA, including the requirements and registration process.

DBA in Ohio: Key Takeaways

  • Anyone can use a DBA in Ohio to advertise their business, make social media accounts or websites, change branding, and more.

  • A fictitious name and a trade name are the same in the state of Ohio and require the same DBA forms.

  • You have to register your business DBA name in Ohio with the Secretary of State, unlike some other states where registration isn’t required.

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What Is a DBA?

Before explaining the registration process and everything you need to file for an Ohio DBA, you need to know more about it and what it stands for. A DBA, or “doing business as,” is commonly known as a trade name, assumed name, or fictitious business name in the state of Ohio. A DBA, however, isn’t the same as the legal name of your business entity.

There are various reasons why one would want to file for a DBA. Smaller businesses take this step when they want to market their products online under a different name that isn’t their legal name. A DBA can also benefit sole proprietors, LLCs, new companies, corporations, and franchises.

Business owners, namely sole proprietors, opt for getting DBA to use a more descriptive name for their business and what they offer, considering their legal business name is their personal name. Adding a new brand or using DBA as a domain are other reasons why this assumed name could be beneficial.

Suppose your business adds a new service, but that service isn’t represented in the business name. In that case, a DBA allows you to register the fictitious name with the new brand without changing the legal one.

Lastly, knowing the difference between a DBA and a business structure is essential. A DBA is only an alias for your company; it’s not a separate legal entity like an LLC, for example.

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How to File a DBA in Ohio

Now that you understand all the benefits of a DBA, you can file a DBA name for your business in Ohio. Making sure the desired name is available for use is one of the first things to consider, followed by filing paperwork with the Secretary of State. The following section will break down each of these steps.

The first step of filing for a DBA in the state of Ohio is ensuring no one else has the same fictitious name you want for your business. You can do this in a few ways, including conducting a thorough name search. Ensuring the uniqueness of DBA is a requirement in Ohio.[1]

You can use our business name search tool to check if your desired Ohio DBA name is available. You can also search on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

In addition, your DBA can’t include business entity suffixes such as LLC or Corp unless your business is a corporation or limited liability company. The assumed name can’t have profanity, financial institution terms such as “bank,” or any terms implying a connection to any government agencies in the United States.

A good practice is checking if the DBA name is available as a web domain and checking the U.S. trademark database. If someone trademarked the name or has a similar trademark to the one you want, your registration won’t be approved due to possible confusion.

Step 2 — File a Fictitious Business Statement

After you’ve done a name search of the desired DBA for your Ohio business and made sure it’s unique and available, you can move on to the next step of registration. The state of Ohio requires you to file a fictitious business statement only with the Secretary of State. You can file for this statement online on the Secretary of State website or in person by filing a name registration form.

The fictitious business statement confirms your registration and must include the following information:

  • The Ohio trade name

  • Business owner’s name

  • Type of business

  • Business address and other important information

  • Nature of your business

  • Business shipping and mailing address

  • Business owner’s signature

  • Entity number

If you’re sending the fictitious business statement by mail, the address is:

  • Ohio Secretary of State

  • P.O. Box 670

  • Columbus, OH 43216

Step 3 — Paying Filing Fees and Submitting Application

While some states require you to file your DBA with the county clerk’s office, the state of Ohio doesn’t. It’s enough to file the registration form with the Secretary of State only. After doing so, you will have to pay a $39 filing fee.[2]

Ohio offers expedited services for an additional fee. Approval of the forms in two business days costs $100, while a one-day processing pricing is $200. Business owners who pay $300 will get their paperwork and a DBA name approved in four hours. You can pay these costs with cash or a credit card.

It can sometimes be complicated to gather all the necessary information and paperwork, but we can help file your Ohio DBA for you. This way, you can focus on more important tasks and manage your Ohio business while we handle the DBA registration.

Step 4 — Follow Up

The last and necessary step for maintaining and keeping the DBA name of your company and other business entities in Ohio active is the follow-up. The process consists of renewing the registration application when it expires. Some states don’t require renewals, as filing for a DBA name lasts for life.

However, this is not the case with Ohio. In this state, the name registration form expires after five years. Before expiration, you must submit a renewal registration application and pay a fee of $25. You can do this online or by sending the form to the address below.

  • Secretary of State

  • P.O. Box 670

  • Columbus, OH 43216

Besides renewing the registration application, the only other documents you’d need to fill out are for changing or canceling the DBA name of your small business or corporation. The change of DBA name form and Name Cancelation form would need to be sent and filed with the Secretary of State in Ohio at the same address mentioned above.

For any general questions about the business’s name, call the Ohio Secretary of State at (614) 466-3910.

Ohio DBA Name Restrictions

The state of Ohio doesn’t allow business owners to have similar DBAs. When you submit the registration and file for an alias business name, the Secretary of State provides you with exclusive rights to that DBA.

Furthermore, ensuring you have a trademark for the trade name is essential. You should always do this with legal help. Trademarking your DBA makes sure no one else uses the exact assumed name as your business in Ohio.[3]

When you submit your registration form with the Secretary of State, your company’s trade name is compared to other businesses for similarities. For example, if you want to call your Ohio business a “Sales Corp,” the title won’t be approved if the “Sales LLC” name already exists.

Some trade name restrictions for your business include:

  • Type of business structure as a part of the “doing business as” names, such as LLC or Corp, if your business isn’t that entity type

  • Offensive words, profanities, racial, gender and ethnic slurs

  • Banking-related words such as “bank,” “trust,” “savings,” “trust company,” “credit union,” and “deposit,” unless they are allowed by the Superintendent of Financial Institutions

  • Government-related words, such as “Federal” and “United States,” which would imply a connection with government agencies

On the other hand, foreign language is allowed as an assumed name for your Ohio business. For example, if a business is already called “L’amour,” you can use its English version for your company name and file for the DBA “The Love.”

DBA Ohio Tax Considerations

The importance of differentiating DBA and a business structure is best explained regarding taxes. Your DBA isn’t a separate business entity and, as such, doesn’t require a new tax ID number. It doesn’t change your tax liability; it only changes the name of your business. The IRS or Internal Revenue Service won’t need to issue you a new Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Unlike an LLC, which legally separates business from the owner and company members, protecting personal assets and providing legal protection, a DBA registration can’t do that. If you’re a small business owner and need to introduce a new brand or product, filing for DBA can solve the issue.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Getting a DBA benefits many types of businesses in Ohio, whether a new small business, a corporation, a sole proprietorship, or a limited liability company.

Here are some of the reasons why you should get a “doing business as” name:

  • Introducing a new brand: If you want to expand your services and present a new line of products, you don’t have to create a new business. Getting a DBA is enough.

  • Obtaining banking advantages: When you have a DBA, you can open a separate business bank account. This allows you to have a better overview of your finances. Also, some Ohio banks require that a business has a trade name registration before opening a business bank account under your company’s name.

  • Gaining better business representation: In the case of sole proprietorship or general partnerships, you can separate the name of your line of products from your personal name, which serves as a company name. This allows your customers to see what you’re offering or selling instantly.

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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 separate business entity with its own obligations and rules, taxes, etc. On the other hand, a DBA only serves as an alias or fictitious name for your business.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

The cost is different in each state. In Ohio, trade name registration costs $39.

Do I need a DBA for my Ohio business?

You only need a DBA for a business operating in Ohio if you want to operate under a different name than your official name.

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

They are all fictitious names that business owners use to operate under. This name differs from the one a business submits upon initial registration.

How long does a DBA last?

This also depends on the state where your company operates. In the state of Ohio, the DBA name lasts for five years, after which you need to submit a renewal form and pay the filing fee of $25.

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

There is no limit on how many DBA names your business can have. However, most opt for only one or two DBAs, considering the filing fee and renewal fee in Ohio. Each one needs a separate registration form.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

A DBA serves as an assumed name for your company’s brand, while on the other hand, a trademark protects your business’ branding under the law.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

A DBA doesn’t affect your tax status, as this is not a separate business entity but only a fictitious name for the company.


  1. Ohio Secretary of State. “Guide to Name Availability.” Accessed September 4, 2023.

  2. Ohio Secretary of State. “Filing Forms and Fee Schedule.” Accessed September 4, 2023.

  3. Ohio Secretary of State. “Register Your Trademark or Service Mark in Ohio.” Accessed September 4, 2023.

Originally published on November 16, 2023, and last edited on January 18, 2024.
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