Colorado DBA

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Doing Business As

The term DBA is an abbreviation for "doing business as." A company will file a DBA in Colorado when it wants to conduct business using a name that is different from the official name. In this respect, a DBA acts as a second name, commonly referred to as the trade name. These are also frequently referred to as Trade Names. Find out more about forming a Colorado LLC, registered a Colorado business and our registered agent services.

When is a DBA Required?

Corporate Structures & Strategies

A business entity or sole proprietor must register its DBA with the Colorado Secretary of State within 30 to 60 days of using the name. This time frame acts a grace period during which a company can use its chosen DBA without any registration. After the 60 days have passed, you must either stop use of the tradename or file a DBA. There are also some additional specific situations when a DBA becomes necessary.

Sole proprietors have to file a tradename or DBA if they want to operate their company using a name that is not their own. For example, if John Doe has a company as the sole proprietor and does not want to call the business "John Doe," he would need to file a DBA.

Corporations and LLCs must file a DBA if they want to operate their businesses with a name that is not identical to that of their parent company.

Sometimes, a business may want use of a name that another business has the rights to. In this case, a DBA may allow the former business to use the name without facing potential trademark infringement lawsuits from the latter business.

Before you perform any agreements that utilize the trade name, you must file a DBA. This means that you will not be able to accept payment, sign contracts, or open up a business bank account with your trade name until you have filed the DBA.

A nonprofit has the option to file a DBA if it wishes. This is not required by law.

Choosing a Trade Name

Before you select the trade name you want to file for in your DBA, you must first consider the Colorado regulations. Start by checking the Records Search for the Secretary of State. You cannot have a DBA that is similar to the name of an existing business. This is not only poor business practice, but Colorado considers it too confusing for the general public.

You also must avoid any name that is similar to previously existing DBAs in Colorado that were dissolved during the last 120 days.

Additionally, you cannot choose a DBA name in Colorado with phrases such as "Incorporated," "Corp.," or "Corporation."

Despite the rules regarding avoiding similar names, registering a trade name does not provide any protection for that name. While the DBA cannot be the same or similar with a registered one, it can be identical to any trade name with registration. Even with that legal ability to have the same trade name as another company, whichever business filed first may still have the ability to file a suit based on trademark protection via common law.

Information Required for Filing

The DBA registration form requires the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Chosen DBA designation
  • A section describing the business that you want to use the DBA name for

Information Required for Filing

You can find the appropriate forms to file your Colorado DBA by visiting the website for the local Secretary of State. The specific form that you need to use varies based on your sole proprietorship or entity status, with variations for:

  • A sole proprietorship or individual
  • A jurisdiction like a state, trust, or estate
  • A general partnership or other entity without reporting
  • A reporting entity
  • A converted entity or a delinquent or dissolved reporting entity
  • A domestic partnership of a limited nature

It is crucial that you select the proper form. You must also ensure that you fill out the required information correctly. Accidental errors or false information can lead to future complications.

If you want to use a DBA name that is similar to a previously dissolved DBA name, it is possible to delay your DBA designation’s effective start date as long as 90 days. The 90-day-period loophole lets you remain compliant with the 120-day limit on previously used DBA names.


It is important to note that within Colorado, a DBA must be renewed at regular intervals. Some sources report this is each five years, but most report it is an annual renewal. It is best to confirm the necessary interval to be safe.


You should also note that if you file a DBA to give your business a trade name, this does not have any impact on your business’ taxation. Everything will be reported via the original entity.

To ensure your Colorado DBA filing goes off without a hitch, it is wise to work with an agency familiar with the intricacies of this particular filing.

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