Small Business

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Intellectual Property

 April 25, 2022

DBA vs LLC—What’s the Difference?

Woman reviewing LLC & DBA options on smartphone

When starting a business, one of the first decisions you have to make is what type of entity to form. There are a few different types of business structures to choose from, but two common formaitons are the DBA and LLC. In this DBA vs LLC article, we will discuss the difference between both business structures. We will also outline the pros and cons of each structure to help you decide which is right for your business.

What is an LLC?

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a business structure that offers personal liability protection and tax benefits. LLCs are popular among small businesses because they are easy to set up and maintain.

What is a DBA?

A DBA, or doing business as, is a fictitious name that businesses can use if they are operating under a name other than their legal name. For example, if your company’s legal name is John Smith Enterprises, but you want to do business as Joe’s Plumbing, you would file for a DBA.

What are the Pros of Starting an LLC?

There are a few different pros of setting up an LLC, including:

  • Personal liability protection: One of the biggest benefits of starting an LLC is that it offers personal liability protection. This means that if your business is sued, your personal assets have protection.
  • Pass-through taxation: LLCs are also taxed as pass-through entities. This means that the profits and losses of the business are “passed through” to the owners’ personal tax returns.
  • Flexible management structure: LLCs have a flexible management structure, which means that you can choose to run your business however you want. You can either have a centralized management structure or a decentralized one.

What are the Cons of Starting an LLC?

There are a few potential cons of starting an LLC, including:

  • You may need to file additional paperwork: If you want to do business in multiple states, you may need to file additional paperwork and pay extra fees.
  • You may be required to have an Operating Agreement: In some states, LLCs are required to have an Operating Agreement. This is a document that outlines the ownership and operating procedures of the LLC.
  • LLCs take time to set up: You’ll have to check for business name availability online and go through several other tasks to complete the setup process for an LLC.

What are the Pros of Starting a DBA

There are a few different pros if you choose to file a DBA online, including:

  • It’s cheaper and easier to set up: DBAs are usually cheaper and easier to set up than LLCs.
  • You don’t need to file additional paperwork: If you want to do business in multiple states, you don’t need to file additional paperwork or pay extra fees.

What are the Cons of Starting a DBA

There are a few potential cons of starting a DBA, including:

  • You won’t have personal liability protection: One of the biggest disadvantages of having a DBA is that you won’t have personal liability protection. This means that if your business is sued, your personal assets could be at risk.
  • Your business could be taxed as a sole proprietorship: If you don’t set up your DBA correctly, your business could be taxed as a sole proprietorship. This means that you would have to pay self-employment taxes on your business earnings.

DBA vs LLC: The Final Verdict

Ultimately, there really isn’t a DBA vs LLC debate. Both structures are helpful for keeping personal and business income separate. However, an LLC is better suited to provide protection in court and specific tax benefits. If you’re interested in forming an LLC, click here to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have any more questions about the difference between DBA and LLC? If so, here are common questions on the subject.

Q. Is it better to make an LLC or DBA? A. It depends on your business and what you are looking for. If you want personal liability protection, an LLC would be the better choice. If you are looking for a cheaper and easier option, a DBA could be the way to go.

Q. Can you convert a DBA into an LLC? A. Yes, you can convert a DBA into an LLC. You would need to file the appropriate paperwork with your state and make sure that all of your business records are updated.

Q. Do DBA pay taxes? A. DBAs are not taxed as their own entity. Instead, they are “passed through” to the owner’s personal tax return. This means that the profits and losses of the business are reported on the owner’s individual tax return.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.

 

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