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Kentucky DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Kentucky DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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Kentucky DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Kentucky using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Kentucky DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called an Assumed Name. 

To see if you need to register for a Kentucky Assumed Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Kentucky

Who Needs to Register for a Kentucky Assumed Name?

The requirements and need to register for an Assumed Name vary depending on the type of business entity.

A sole proprietorship is the most common business structure to register for a Kentucky DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietor can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering. 

For example, if Greg Smith starts a small business in Kentucky cleaning gutters but doesn’t operate with a specific business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If Greg decides to name his business Greg’s Gutter Cleaning, he will need to register.

A general partnership, corporation, Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Partnership, and Limited Liability Company may register for an Assumed Name. General Partnerships are the most common of these entities to register for a DBA, however, the others usually won’t because they create a unique entity name during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Kentucky corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Kentucky Assumed Name

Sole Proprietorship

Step 1: Obtain the Form

Sole Proprietorships will obtain an Assumed Name Certificate form from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the principal office is located. Some Clerks’ websites have the form available for download, but some require you to pick it up at their office.

Kentucky County Clerk list

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Common information requested on the form includes:

  • Assumed Name
  • Contact information of the business owner
  • Business address
  • Signature

Step 3: Submit the Form

Return the form and file it with the County Clerk’s office along with the recording fee.  They will provide a Certificate of Assumed Name.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

General Partnership, Corporation, LP, LLPs

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

Every name registration must be unique and not too similar to other names on record.  Before filling out the form, you can do a Kentucky business name search on the Kentucky Secretary of State website to see if the name you want is available.

Step 2: Fill out the Certificate of Assumed Name Form

General Partnerships, Corporations, LPs, LLPs, and LLCs – Certificate of Assumed Name

Information requested on the form includes:

– Assumed name being requested
– Legal name of the business adopting the fictitious name
– Type of business entity
– Owner names
– Where the business is organized
– Mailing address

Step 3: Submit the Form

The form can be submitted in person at the Capitol Building. The address is:
Kentucky Office of the Secretary of State
700 Capital Ave.
Room 154
Frankfort, Ky 40601

Alternatively, the form can be mailed to:
Kentucky Office of the Secretary of State
Division of Business Filings
PO Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Kentucky Secretary of State at 502-564-3490 or through their Contact Page.

Kentucky DBA FAQs

How much does a Kentucky Assumed Name cost?

The cost to register the Certificate of Assumed Name for a sole proprietorship varies by county but is generally between $20 and $30.

The filing fee to register an Assumed Name for General Partnerships, Corporations, and LLCs with the Secretary of State is $20.  This registration is renewed every five years.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Kentucky DBA?

An Assumed Name registration can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.

Also, Kentucky business names can’t be registered using words related to banks or cooperatives unless the business is licensed to provide those services or registered as a cooperative entity or words that refer to a government agency such as FBI, Treasury, etc.

Can someone use my business name after registering a Kentucky Assumed Name?

While registering your Assumed Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Kentucky, it does very little to stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states.

If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

What is the difference between a Kentucky Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Kentucky Assumed Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Kentucky?

Kentucky DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Kentucky DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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