NY Business Certificates – Know Your “Doing Business As” Responsibilities

NY Business Certificates – Know Your “Doing Business As” Responsibilities

D.B.A. or “Doing Business As” is not only a cool bar in the East Village, it also refers to individuals (sole proprietorships), partnerships, corporations and other entities that do  business under a name different from their real name.  For example, Joe Smith operates a computer service business under the name “Computer Geeks to the Rescue,” (fictional example) and Town Sports International, LLC operates a popular gym under the name “New York Sports Club” (real life example.)

If you are starting a business, but don’t want to form a legal entity yet (corporation or LLC), a business certificate gives you the ability to call your business something other than your personal name.

When you do business under a name different from your real name, you have to file a business certificate either with the county clerk of your county or with the Secretary of State in Albany.     Here are the rules:

1. For Individuals and Partnerships

If you conduct business under an assumed name as an individual (sole proprietor) or partnership, you must file a “certificate of assumed name” or “business certificate” in the county in which you conduct business.  Such certificate basically has to set forth the real name and the address of your business and certain other information ( New York General Business Law Section 130(1)(a) .)

In New York County, you have to file your business certificate with the County Clerk in the basement at 60 Centre Street.  The necessary form can be purchased at the little coffee shop on the first floor next to the security lines at the entrance (on your right when you first come in).  The filing fee is $100.  For more information see here.

If you have more than one business under assumed names, you can file more than one business certificate.

2. For Corporations and other Entities

If you conduct business under an assumed name as a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, you also must file a business certificate (New York General Business Law Section 130(1)(b).)

This time, however, you have to file the certificate with the Secretary of State.  The filing fee is $25.  However, for corporations it can become expensive.  They collect an extra $100 for each county within New York in which the corporation does business and an extra $25 for each county outside of New York City, with a maximum fee of $1,950.

For more information, including a pdf form with instructions, see here.

Important to Know: “A certified copy of the original certificate, or if an amended certificate has been filed, then of the most recent amended certificate filed shall be conspicuously displayed on the premises at each place in which the business for which the same was filed is conducted.” (§130 Gen Bus. Law) 

Important to Know: A certified copy of the original certificate, or if an amended certificate has been filed, then of the most recent amended certificate filed shall be conspicuously displayed on the premises at each place in which the business for which the same was filed is conducted. (§130 Gen Bus. Law)

Post updated April 2012

About Imke Ratschko


Imke Ratschko is a New York Attorney helping small businesses, business owners and entrepreneurs with all things "Small Business Law," such as litigation, contracts, business owner disputes, shareholder and operating agreements, sale or purchase of a business, investors, and starting a business. You can reach her at 212.253.1027.

19 comments

  1. todd martin

    currently the appl. fee for business cert. is $120.00, not $100.00.

  2. Logan Susnick

    What if you have a New York S corp doing business online under a different name? Do you still have to file a DBA for all the New York counties?

  3. the bus. cert. filing fee is $100 but you pay $10 for certified copies and usually you get 2, one for the bank to open a bank acct. and the other for you to keep for your records, that why you usually pay $120

  4. I’m not sure but I may have read on one of these legal sites that you would have to go through an additional publication process for each D.B.A. you file, consequently incurring an addition $1k+ fee for each one. Is this true?

  5. Why file anything? There is no punishment or even an agency specified to complain to in the law.

  6. Rachel Cook

    I am an individual who will be using an assumed name for my company. I am located in NYC. The forms all ask for “Entity” and “Assumed Name”. Please clarify. Am I (Individual) the Entity? and my companies name the “assumed name”?
    Thank you

  7. Its amasing how even my Harvard Law buddies don’t know how to do this …! I’ve been opening and closing DBAs and EINs for years – while doing legitmate business! Good luck all u rookies! ;)

  8. Thanks for sharing this info article with us….Good job.

  9. Great article — but the link is broken where you write “For more information, including a pdf form with instructions, see here.”
    It says they moved their website, but I don’t know which form you were linking to?
    Thanks!
    -Michael

  10. I have the same question. We are starting an internet business in NYS where we will be selling both digital info and tangible products. We will be selling our products under the name (DBA) of our URL, and not our S-corporation entity name.
    What if you have a New York S corp doing business online under a different name? Do you still have to file a DBA for all the New York counties? Or just in the county where your business is located and has a physical presence (address)?
    We plan to sell our products statewide (as well as nationwide).

  11. What do small business owners have to do?

  12. Great article — but the link is broken where you write “For more information, including a pdf form with instructions, see here.”
    It says they moved their website, but I don’t know which form you were linking to? Thanks!

  13. you have highlighted some really valuable points..thanx

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  16. I am interested in the answer to Lynn’s question.
    I am also planning on selling local services and online products. And I have considered a dba for those products.
    It would seem like overkill to have to file in all those different counties…but I wouldn’t put that sort of this past NY.

  17. Hi,
    Can I file for more than one DBA if I am sole proprietor?

  18. What if you have a New York S corp doing business online under a different name?

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