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Washington DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Washington DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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Washington DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Washington under a name other than your own, you will need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Washington DBA, “Doing Business As, or Assumed Name, but is officially referred to as a Trade Name. 

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

Related: How to start a business in Washington

Who needs to register for a Washington Trade Name?

Washington Statutes 19.801 outlines the requirements for registering for a Trade Name, and these requirements vary depending on the type of business entity.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common business structures to register for a Washington DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name. If the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Trade Name registration.

For example, if Helen Wheels starts an auto repair business operating under her legal name, Helen Wheels, she doesn’t need to register. However, if she decides to name her business Helen’s Auto Repair or even Helen Wheels Auto Repair, she will need to register.

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register for a Washington DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register 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 Washington corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

What are the steps to file a Washington Trade Name?

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in Washington. Names can be searched on the Washington Secretary of State’s website.  

Learn how to do a business name search in Washington.

Step 2: Fill out the Business License Application Form

A Trade Name is obtained by filling out the Business License Application from the Washington Department of Revenue.

The form asks for information such as the owners’ contact information, ownership structure, Unified Business Number (UBI), and the date the business started.

This form can be submitted online or filed by mail.

Step 3: Submit the Form

Submit the filing fee and form to the State of Washington Business Licensing Service. 

If mailing, send the form to:
State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the State of Washington at 800-451-7985 or  BLS@dor.wa.gov.

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.

Washington Trade Name FAQs

How much does a Washington Trade Name cost?

The cost to register a Washington Trade Name with the Washington State Department of Revenue is $5. If you are starting a business, the $5 Trade Name fee is in addition to the $19 business license application fee.

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

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Washington Trade 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 Washington?

After registering the Trade Name, can someone use my business name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Washington, it does very little to stop someone else from operating that business name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Related: How to trademark a business name

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.

There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to apply for an EIN

Are there any words you can’t use in a Trade Name?

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

  1. Washington Statutes 19.80 ↩︎

Washington DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Washington DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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