How to Get a Washington DBA Name

Unlock your full advertising potential when you file for a fictitious name for your Washington business. Discover the benefits of a DBA and how to file for one.
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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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You’ve finally created a new business in the state of Washington. You’ve submitted your business license application, provided the necessary business information, taken care of name registration, and covered the relevant state fees.

You realize your business name isn’t the most fitting for your company. Perhaps the name doesn’t reflect your company’s activities ideally, or it inconveniently includes your own name. In such cases, filing a DBA will be the best move. Read on to learn everything business owners and entrepreneurs should know about registering a DBA in the state of Washington.

DBA in Washington: Key Takeaways

  • Your Washington trade name, also known as a DBA, allows you to do business under an alternative company name.

  • A DBA doesn’t change your company’s status or offer additional rights or protection. It’s merely a different name for your Washington business.

  • Your Washington DBA registration should start by conducting a business name search. This will help you get a unique assumed name for your company.

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What Is a DBA?

A Doing Business As (DBA) name is an alternative name for a company. It’s also known as an assumed or fictitious name. In the state of Washington, the common term for a DBA is a registered trade name.

Getting a DBA is a straightforward way for a business to change trade name details without affecting its business entity status or legal name. A DBA name is also an excellent way for sole proprietors to avoid revealing their identity to the public, thus granting them more privacy.

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How to File a DBA in Washington

Getting a Washington DBA can be pretty straightforward if you know which steps to take. In particular, there are three stages to this process:

  • Performing a business name lookup

  • Filing the DBA with the Washington Department of Revenue

  • Taking care of any necessary follow-up

Here are the details of the process.

The state of Washington requires DBA names to be unique and distinguishable from existing names. In that regard, similar rules for filing legal business names apply to filing a DBA. If you’re wondering how to find out whether a DBA name is available, you can use our free business name search tool.

Alternatively, you can look through the Washington Department of Revenue database. This tool will allow you to search by business name, UBI, and business license number.[1]

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

While in some states, the office of the Secretary of State may receive DBA filings, registering your trade name in Washington will go through the state’s Department of Revenue. You can complete the process online through the state agency’s website. You download the required form and send it filled out at [email protected].

It’s also possible to file your DBA in person or via mail. 

Furthermore, you can designate the assumed name on your Business License Application. In this case, you’ll be able to get a DBA simultaneously with the rest of your business information, including a registered agent name, tax ID, and other documents like your Articles of Incorporation.

To get your DBA filed this way, fill out the Business License Application form and send it to the following mailing address: 

  • State of Washington Business Licensing Service, 

  • P.O. Box 9034,

  • Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Note that filing a DBA will come with a $24 trade name fee.[2]

You can also avoid the hassle altogether and let an online filing service take care of your Washington DBA.

Step 3 — Follow Up

The state of Washington doesn’t require you to renew your DBA name. In other words, you can use the assumed name indefinitely until you decide to file for cancellation or change it to a different name.

Whenever you decide to cancel your DBA, you can do so by a written request sent to the same address as your application. This service will come without a filing fee.

Washington DBA Name Restrictions

All business names, as well as Washington DBAs, need to comply with particular conventions and adhere to state-mandated rules and restrictions. In particular, a DBA should be different from a registered business name or trademark. Several other rules apply here, too.

If you include a business type identifier, it must correspond with the actual structure of your company. In other words, only a limited liability company can use “LLC” in its DBA, and only corporate business entities may use “Corp.”[3]

A DBA name also can’t refer to any illegal activity, nor can it contain obscenities or other prohibited language. Your DBA also can’t imply a connection with state agencies or services if that connection doesn’t exist. Finally, you can’t put terms like “bank,” “insurance,” “college,” etc., if your company isn’t certified as a financial, insurance, or educational institution.

DBA Washington Tax Considerations

Filing a DBA doesn’t impact most aspects of your company. For instance, the state of your personal asset protection will remain unchanged, and the same goes for the business entity type and tax consideration.

Simply put, when you get a DBA, you’ll only have the possibility of operating under a different name than the one you’ve registered. No additional tax considerations will apply.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Since getting a DBA isn’t mandatory under Washington law, nor does it reflect on your company structure, it is reasonable to ask why you should consider getting a DBA at all. The answer is that an assumed name comes with specific benefits that some business owners may find particularly useful:

  • A DBA can help you maintain a business name that aligns with your company’s current business. Businesses evolve and change their services or product lineups. If your company goes through such changes, filing a DBA to reflect them will be much easier than applying for a new legal name.

  • Sometimes, business owners may need to reveal specific details in their company names. For instance, a sole proprietorship may need to carry the owner’s own name, which can be inconvenient in terms of privacy. A DBA will help you circumvent such regulations and present your company publicly under a more appropriate name, giving you some privacy back.

  • Getting an assumed name for your company can be helpful when dealing with financial institutions. A bank might be more willing to issue a loan or open a new business bank account for a company that operates under a DBA.

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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?

LLCs are specific business entities, like general partnerships, corporations, or sole proprietorships. On the other hand, a DBA is simply a different name for your company that doesn’t relate to your business structure.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

You can get a DBA registered in Washington for the processing fee of $24. It’s worth mentioning that filing for additional DBAs will incur extra costs.

Do I need a DBA for my Washington business?

Registering a DBA for your new business isn’t mandatory in the state of Washington. If you wish to do business under any other title apart from the company’s legal name, a DBA will be the optimal way to go.

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

Whether you call it a trade name, assumed name, fictitious name, or DBA, they all refer to the same thing. The difference is mostly in how particular states refer to DBAs. In Washington, the official term is “registered trade name.”

How long does a DBA last?

A DBA registered in Washington will be permanently active. To make your DBA non-functional, you must file for change or cancellation.

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

You can register as many DBAs as you need for your Washington business. However, chances are you won’t need to use more than one or two. Going beyond that number would make matters unnecessarily complicated and incur additional costs.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

A trademark means a specific term is protected by law, much like a copyright would be. DBAs don’t include such protection. When you file for a DBA, all you get is an alias for your legal business name to use publicly.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

Since a DBA doesn’t reflect on your business structure in any way, it won’t affect your tax status either. Your IRS obligations will stay the same, and your tax ID won’t change. This is because all relevant institutions will view your business as the same company — only the public name will differ.


  1. Washington State Department of Revenue. “Business Lookup.“ Accessed September 06, 2023.

  2. Washington State Department of Revenue. “Business Buletin - Trade Name Registration.” Accessed September 06, 2023.

  3. Washington State Legislature. “Name Requirements for Certain Types of Entities.” Accessed September 06, 2023.

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