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Do I need to have a DBA and can I register it in two states?

I have a small yoga business offering workshops, trainings, and 1-on-1/small group sessions. I'm getting ready to move from California to Michigan and have not yet registered the D.B.A to be a sole proprietor. I will be going back and forth between the two states. Do I need to register the DBA in both states or just the state in which I will be residing?

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Since it is likely that your income will be apportioned between the two states, and that you will continue to have a physical presence in both, you should comply with the registration requirements of each state. You should also consult your tax advisor as to form of business entity questions, if the amount of income justifies it. I'm in Virginia, so I can't advise on Michigan & California specifics, as I have no clients in those states. However, for California, I believe the appropriate agency to start with is the Franchise ax Board.


It would appear the answer is yes: A sole proprietor who wishes to conduct business under a name other than the real name of the person must file a Certificate of Assumed Name in each county where the business is located.



Well, you're doing business with a physical presence in both states and if your business has a DBA (not just "Pamela Lozoff, yoga teacher") then you'd need to register and pay taxes based on your income sourced to the respective states. However, if your income in one of these states is low enough (for example, under $ 16,256 in California if you are single and under 65), you would not need to file a state return there.

It's my understanding from reading the CA nonresident filing instructions that the income threshold applies to total AGI from all sources. In other words, if you have $9,000 from CA sources and $9,000 from MI sources, you still need to file a CA return even though CA income is less than the threshold.


You need to register where you are doing business, not where your personal residence is located. So, if you have clients in both locations you should file the DBA in both locations.


Depending upon the states in question and assuming you have only one office, you will probably have to register to do business in the other state under your d/b/a in your home state. However the requirement will depend in part on the second states treatment of commuter services, either in person or by telecommute. For instance both NY and NJ have stiff telecommuting laws whereby you would be deemed as doing business in that state under most circumstances. For instance if almost all of your work is done in one state, but you only go to the other state on a rare occasion, there may not be a requirement to register in the second state. It will depend completely on that state's requirements. However, if your agreements do not specify your home state as the sole jurisdiction in the event of any disputes and you get sued in the second state, you will have to register your business in order to defend yourself.


You need to chat with your attorney to get the correct answer. Your accountant can also help out.

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