How do you file a DBA in Wyoming?
Whether you run a business that is owned by an INC or LLC or you are a sole proprietorship; if you want to operate under a name that is different than your own, in most states you would file an assumed business name or DBA (Doing Business As) with the state or county in which you were operating.
But, if your INC, LLC, or sole proprietorship is located in Wyoming, you do NOT have that option. That’s correct, neither the Secretary of State (which handles INC & LLC filings) nor the County Clerks/Courts offer an option for registering a business name that is different than your own.
So, if you operate a business in Wyoming, regardless of who owns it, under a name different than your own, what should you do? Do you have any other alternatives to filing a DBA, since this is not available?
This article was written to give you options for DBA filing in Wyoming.
What is a DBA/Assumed Business Name Anyway?
When you (again “you” could be a person or “you” could be an entity, such as an INC or LLC) are operating a business under a name which is different than your own, traditionally you would file a public document announcing that you are using this fictitious or assumed name: In other words, you are “doing business as” another name. For instance, if you had a corporation, “ABC, Inc.” which wanted to operate under the business name, “ABC Realty”, often the answer would be to file a DBA. That is, “ABC, Inc. doing business as ABC Realty.” This action is like raising a flag so that others can see the name that you are using. Filing a DBA with either county or state government often makes this process “official”. In fact, in many states, this “official” act of filing is actually required. However, in Wyoming, it is not required, and currently, neither the state (i.e. Secretary of State of Wyoming) nor do the Counties of Wyoming offer any sort of process for DBA registration.
Other reasons for a DBA
Even though it is not required in Wyoming, what if you needed or wanted some sort of official recognition of your business name? For instance, if you wanted to open up a new business and you wanted your customers to write checks in your business name, rather than your personal name, how would you do this? Or maybe you have an entity name that is really general (like our example above with ABC, Inc.) and your entity will own and operate a business which has a slightly different name (i.e. ABC Realty), how would you do this in Wyoming? Still, you may have other reasons for wanting to establish a business name which is different that your own.
Alternatives to the DBA in Wyoming
Regardless of the reasons why, if your business is in Wyoming, you must look to other alternatives than the DBA.
Form an LLC (or INC)
The simplest and often the only action you may be able to take to have your business name officially recognized in Wyoming, maybe to form an entity in Wyoming. For instance, if you wanted to collect checks from your customers in your business name and not your personal name, your bank will not let you do this unless you have something official establishing that name and that connects you to that name. In Wyoming, your only choice may be to form a new LLC or INC using that name. Even if you already formed an INC or LLC, and that entity wishes to operate a business of a different name, it (the entity) might want to form another INC or LLC to own and operate that particular business. It is not uncommon to see an entity, often referred to as a holding company, which owns other entities, each owning a separate business.
Filing a Trade Name in Wyoming might be one of the best alternatives to the non-existent DBA. Unlike a DBA, with a trade name registration (filed with the Secretary of State of Wyoming), you are actually saying “Hands off: this is my property!” Again, a DBA is just an announcement that you are using a name, but that announcement doesn’t confer any ownership of the name. However, a trade name does just that. Consequently, filing a trade name in Wyoming comes with several requirements:
– Name must be available – It cannot already be used in Wyoming
– Must be using name – To register a trade name with the state, you must already be using that name (i.e. on a website, a brochure, signage, business cards, etc.)
– Business must be located in Wyoming – To register a trade name for your business in Wyoming, your business must be physically operating in Wyoming. This is not the same as forming an entity in Wyoming. Your business must be physically present (i.e. have operations, such as a store front) in Wyoming.
Other State or County Registration
Although your business may not be able to register an assumed name or DBA, with one of the state or county agencies, there are other registrations that your business may need to make anyway which involve also listing of your fictitious business name. Below are a few considerations.
State Filing Fees & Maintenance Costs
Part of your consideration should be the state filing fees, along with the costs to maintain your entity in that state. Once again, select your state from the drop-down menu to read about both of these areas.