What you'll need to open a DBA account, or "doing business as" account, in South Carolina depends on your bank's requirements. The State of South Carolina does not register DBA accounts, according to the South Carolina Secretary of State website. Only corporations and partnerships can register with the state.
People choose DBA names for their businesses when they don't want to use their legal names for advertising and other purposes. For example, Jay Smith is a sole proprietor of a painting company, but he calls his business Smith Painting. He could apply for a DBA account through his bank to keep his business and personal matters separate. A corporation that owns gas stations in several locations in the State of South Carolina might use DBA names for individual stations. You can find out if the name you want to use has been registered by a corporation on the South Carolina Secretary of State website.
When you approach a bank to open a DBA account, the bank will require you to supply a tax identification number. Your Social Security number is your personal tax ID number. In some instances, you can use that number if you do not have employees. If you have employees, meet certain tax requirements or operate as a corporation or partnership, you must have a separate tax ID number known as an Employer Identification Number, of EIN. You can find out if you need an EIN and, if so, apply for one online at the IRS website.
Depending on what kind of bank account you are trying to open for your DBA, you might need to show that you have the proper permits and licenses to conduct business in the locale where you operate. Business licenses are regulated at the county and city levels in South Carolina. Retail licenses are issued through the South Carolina Department of Revenue and professional licenses are issued through the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
A DBA account does not offer any liability protection. As a sole proprietor, you are still responsible for your business dealings. If someone decides to sue your business, they would be suing you personally. Beyond any business insurance you might have, you would be 100 percent responsible for any judgments entered against you.
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