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  • Writer's pictureJoe Dye Culik

When and How Does a Business File an Assumed Business Name Certificate (DBA) in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, whether you are a sole proprietor or a Fortune 500 company, any businesses who use a name other than its full legal name – an assumed name – has to file an Assumed Business Name Certificate. This lists the business’s “real” name, along with the trade name or assumed name. People often refer to this colloquially as a DBA (“doing business as”). Failure to file can result in your business being prohibited from engaging doing business.

The purpose of registering an assumed name is for transparency. If a business does not register, it could be near impossible to track it down in the event it becomes involved in a dispute. The policy of requiring businesses to file Assumed Business Name Certificates promotes openness and accountability.

Where is the Assumed Business Name Certificate filed, and how is this accomplished? What are the laws that are applicable to assumed names? This article explains the answers to these questions.

Until recently, businesses wanting to file an Assumed Business Name Certificate had to file a separate certificate in each county of North Carolina in which it does business. This is a tall order, given that North Carolina has 100 counties. But with the passage of the Assumed Business Name Act, NCGS Chapter 66, Article 14A, effective December 1, 2017, a business can register with all North Carolina counties with a single filing.

Once a complete Assumed Business Name Certificate is prepared it can be filed in your local Registry of Deeds – any registry, rather than each one. The business has the option of listing which counties it should be effective in. There is even the option to select all 100 North Carolina counties. This information is then sent to a searchable statewide database.

An Assumed Business Name Certificate must contain certain information, including the real name, the assumed name, the type of business, the address, and the name of each county that it will do business in. Failure to include all this information will result in rejection.

For businesses that have already filed an Assumed Business Name Certificate, a new one does not need to be filed until, at latest, December 1, 2022. That is the date on which all other certificates of assumed name, filed under the previous law, expire. If a new certificate is not filed before that date, a business is prohibited from engaging in business using an assumed name, even if it previously registered.

If you plan on filing for an assumed name, the Assumed Business Name Act has other requirements that should be discussed with a North Carolina attorney. If you have questions, contact DYE CULIK PC at 980-999-3557 to see how we can help your business with this or any other business law question you have.



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