Texas Assumed Name Certificate

Real Estate Law For Current or Prospective Property Owners

Texas Assumed Name Certificate

Real Estate Law For Current or Prospective Property Owners

Board Certified Texas Real Estate Law
American Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
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Texas DBA

Having a Texas DBA or Assumed Name Certificate allows business owners, sole proprietors and corporations to operate a business in Texas under a name other than its legal or registered name. An example might be its marketing or trade name.

What is an Assumed Name Certificate?

An “Assumed Name Certificate” may be referred to as a “Fictitious Name Certificate” or “Doing Business As” certificate (DBA).  This certificate is a required document to be filed with the county or state.  It discloses the real name and address of the owner or owners of a business which conducts any business in Texas.

Filing the document is required by state law before any person or business conducts any business in Texas under an assumed or fictitious name. This is required so that consumers and customers of the business know who to sue if there is a problem.

You may also need to provide a bank with a filed Assumed Name Certificate if you plan to open a bank account in the name of your business.

Doing business as document on a desk near a book and pen.

DBA for Sole Proprietorship and General Partnerships

A Sole Proprietorship is a business that is owned by one person, referred to as the sole proprietor. If there are 2 or more owners, it is a General Partnership, not a Sole Proprietorship.

DBA means “doing business as”.

For example: If Jane Smith is doing business as Jane Smith Business, an Assumed Name Certificate is not required because Jane Smith is the real name of the owner.

But, if Jane Smith calls the business Jane Robert Business, an Assumed Name Certificate is needed to show that Jane Robert is really Jane Smith.

A Sole Proprietorship may use an assumed name rather than the last name of the business owner. 

It is important to keep in mind that using an assumed name does not provide any liability protection for a Sole Proprietorship.

If two or more business owners conduct business under any name, an Assumed Name Certificate should be filed with the county clerk to identify the names and address of all owners of the business. This is true even though they are doing business under the name of just one of the owners. All owners need to be identified.

Note: Make sure your liability insurance company includes your assumed name in your liability insurance policy. If the business gets sued you want to make sure the insurance covers the business.

Keep in mind, the use of a marketing or trade name does not change the personal assets liability of this type of business entity as it would if you are forming an LLC or corporation.

DBA for Corporations, Limited Partnerships and LLCs

If a Corporation, Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Company (LLC) wishes to use a marketing or trade name other than its legal name, they are required to file an Assumed Name Certificate with Texas Secretary of State’s office in Austin, Texas. This is required so that any person or entity that may need to sue the business knows who to sue.

When should you use a fictitious name or DBA?

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If you conduct any business or provide any service under an assumed name or a fictitious name, you must file for an Assumed Name Certificate.

Common examples of when you should use an Assumed Name Certificate in Texas are:

  • An individual whose business name does not include their real last name.
  • A business conducted as a partnership and the business name does not include the real last name(s) or other legal name(s) of each joint venturer or general partner.
  • An individual or a partnership with a business name including words such as “Company,” “& Company,” “& Son,” “& Sons,” “& Associates,” “Brothers,” and similar words.
  • The business is a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or a Limited Partnership, and does business under any name other than the name stated in its certificate of formation.

Filing an Assumed Name (DBA) in Texas

The certificate for a person or General Partnership needs to be filed with the County Clerk in the county where you maintain your business or where you conduct business.

For business entities, such as a Limited Liability Company, Corporation or Limited Partnership, the certificate must be filed with the Texas Secretary of State in Austin, Texas.

When to file:

  • Before you start the business in a Texas.
  • It must be re-filed every 10 years.

Are there penalties for not filing?

  • If you conduct business using an assumed name and you do not file an Assumed Name Certificate, there are penalties.
  • If you are sued or if you need to sue someone and you have not filed one, there will be penalties.
  • In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to conduct business or a professional service in Texas under an assumed name with the intention of violating this law.
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Board Certified Residential Real Estate Law
State Bar of Texas

Experienced Texas Real Estate Lawyer

Do you have questions about Assumed Name Certificates?  Email your questions directly to attorney Scott Steinbach at scott@steinbachlaw.com. Or speak with him at 972-960-1850. There is no fee for your call.

The Steinbach Law Firm can prepare an Assumed Name Certificate for your business. Our fee is $300 per certificate.  We provide you with instructions on where and how to file the certificate.

Scott Steinbach is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell.  Peer rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence.