Assumed names in Texas (often referred to as a “doing business as” or D/B/A) provide you with the ability to literally take any name you can think of! Literally, the State of Texas will not stop you from taking a name, BUT they make you sign a document stating that you are not going to step on someone’s intellectual property (“IP”), and that they are not giving you any rights to step on someone else’s IP. What this means is that if someone doesn’t have your name already registered in Texas, or with a federal or state trade/service mark, you can use it. In fact, if your preferred name is registered in Texas, you can file an assumed name to still use it! So if you can’t have the name you want on the birth certificate (your legal entity), you can use a nickname (the assumed name).
Let me dispel a common misconception about assumed names, assumed names in Texas are not to help you as the business owner, they are actually to help your customers and people you might otherwise hurt. Most people go file an assumed name to start a business and think that protects them from lawsuits, when in fact it protects you from nothing except the police arresting you!
Texas law (Texas Business and Commerce Code Sec. 71.002(2)) states that you MUST file an assumed name certificate, anytime you are operating under a business name other than your legal name. For a sole proprietor, this means your full given name, for a business entity, this means your full name including “LLC”, “Inc.” and similar terms.
The law works like this, if I, Bryon Boyer, was practicing law as “John Smith” and I hurt you, you would never find me. So the law says that I need to file an assumed name certificate so you could find out who I really am if you needed to sue me.
Texas Business and Commerce Code Sec. 71.202, makes this a “Class A Misdemeanor” which means the State of Texas will fine you $4,000 and can put you in jail for up to one year if you do not comply with these laws!
If you have a business entity, you must file a form with the Texas Secretary State and the county in which your main business operations are headquartered.
Fixing this problem is as simple as a phone call or email away. My price includes the filing fee to Texas as well as filing your Texas certificate and filling out and delivering to you, your county form!