Doing Business As...

Marc Morfei

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Does anyone have a DBA (Doing Business As) for their band? Any advice?
We did a corporate-type thing last week and got paid with a check made out to the band name. My fault for not clarifying payment details in advance. Anyway, it got us thinking maybe we should have a DBA set up so we can cash checks, pay common expenses, etc.

To clarify - we are not a professional touring band. We just do one or two local gigs a month for a few hundred dollars. Up to now it has never occurred to us to formalize anything. Is a DBA easy to set up? Hard? Needed/or not? Thoughts?
 

stxrus

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Open a checking account in someone’s name and put DBA (The Bands Name)
John Doe DBA ******
You may need a business license to do this & definitely talk to an accountant/tax person
 

nojazzhere

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Does anyone have a DBA (Doing Business As) for their band? Any advice?
We did a corporate-type thing last week and got paid with a check made out to the band name. My fault for not clarifying payment details in advance. Anyway, it got us thinking maybe we should have a DBA set up so we can cash checks, pay common expenses, etc.

To clarify - we are not a professional touring band. We just do one or two local gigs a month for a few hundred dollars. Up to now it has never occurred to us to formalize anything. Is a DBA easy to set up? Hard? Needed/or not? Thoughts?
Did you have any trouble cashing/depositing the check?
When my mother died last year, her assets were left to my and my three brothers' Trust funds. (check was made to The XXXX XXXX XXXXX III Trust) We all had difficulty setting up Trust accounts at our banks to "receive" the funds. It took roughly a month to do so at our individual banks.
Also, we had to establish individual EINs (Employee Identification Number) with the IRS......that takes a little time as well.
 

Dennyf

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Well, you can jump through all the necessary hoops to DBA.

Or, now that you know better, just note on the contract "check to be made payable to 'Marc Morfei'."
 

archetype

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Don't do anything based on advice you get here. You need to talk to a tax accountant and a lawyer to understand what form of business entity you need. It's worth paying each of those folks for an hour of their time.

My thoughts as a business owner who's got a DBA, has had other DBAs, and is setting up an LLC for my wife's work. I'm a layperson and not a lawyer or tax guy.

=== DBA

A DBA makes you look a bit more pro, but it doesn't do much for the band.

Be sure to use the correct business code in setting up the DBA. You provide a service. Many states will default to making you file sales tax returns for $0.00 quarterly or yearly, so try to avoid that by setting things up correctly.

It's necessary for a business bank account, as it's a violation of Federal law for a bank to set up a personal account in a business name. They have to meet Homeland Security regulations and that's one of them. You'll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Feds to open the account. You can get an EIN for free, online, in about 10 minutes.

A DBA provides no shield from personal liability. When a drunk lurches around the stage and splits his forehead open on a ride cymbal, you'll all get sued anyway, meaning your houses, cars, and life savings are in jeopardy.

=== Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The corporation gets paid and the corporation pays each band member. If you start making piles of money, there are tax and financial benefits you can use to your advantage.

The corporation is insured for liability and errors and omissions. There is a degree of shielding from personal liability if it's the band corporation that's booked and not an individual or a DBA.

In theory, you can deduct the cost of the band's van, musical instruments, etc. from taxes, but if you're gigging only sporadically it won't work out in the end. The IRS doesn't exist to make your lives miserable, they exist to collect taxes and enforce tax codes. You have to show profit over a 5-year period and, not being stupid, they can readily figure out if you're actually a business or not. Being an actual business will come down to demonstrating a formal business plan that can be reasonably expected to generate profit. You can juggle the numbers to show profit, and that's not out of line. If I recall correctly as a lay person, you don't have to deduct any of the allowable deductions and there's nothing illegal about not taking deductions so that you can show a profit.

=== If I were me...

I'd set up a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It doesn't cost much, it takes a long time to get the state to approve your ficticious corporate name, and it's a long pain in the ass to accomplish.

It's worth it for keeping all the banking straight and separating individuals from the structure. It allows you to pay a few hundred dollars annually for the corporation to have professional liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance.

I'd get the insurance. Stuff happens. White Snake and the fire. Altamont. Someone listening to you play Helter Skelter, then going out and starting a fight in the parking lot. The odds of you needing insurance because of an occurance are extremely low, but if something happens you're in a world of hurt, maybe for years, if you're uninsured.

=== Again, for emphasis...

Don't do anything based on advice you get here. You need to talk to a tax accountant and a lawyer to understand what form of business entity you need. It's worth paying each of those folks for an hour of their time.
 

Marc Morfei

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Just thought I would report back, in case anyone was interested. I went ahead and got a DBA ("Doing Business As..."). I had to pay $35 and fill out a form. Then I showed the DBA to the bank, and they cashed the check. So it was not too hard. If an incident like this ever happens again, I'll be ready.
 

schmee

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Well, you can jump through all the necessary hoops to DBA.

Or, now that you know better, just note on the contract "check to be made payable to 'Marc Morfei'."
That's what I have learned to do. I let them know in BOLD type on an email or contract etc. MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO xxxxx
 

Preacher

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getbent

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I think I'd turn the check over, sign as the band name, then sign as the name on my account and deposit the check.

you aren't ripping anyone off and da boyz gotz to get paid... boom. done.
 

Guitarzan

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Does anyone have a DBA (Doing Business As) for their band? Any advice?
We did a corporate-type thing last week and got paid with a check made out to the band name. My fault for not clarifying payment details in advance. Anyway, it got us thinking maybe we should have a DBA set up so we can cash checks, pay common expenses, etc.

To clarify - we are not a professional touring band. We just do one or two local gigs a month for a few hundred dollars. Up to now it has never occurred to us to formalize anything. Is a DBA easy to set up? Hard? Needed/or not? Thoughts?

I am not trying to be insulting, but this is a headscratcher.

An entity that does business in a name that is not its legal name can file an Assumed Name Registration or similar document, sometimes with the clerk of court and sometimes elsewhere.

What is the underlying entity for your band?

If you have no corporation or LLC, it is likely the legal determination would be a partnership. It is not required for the people to have a written agreement or even intend to be partners; a partnership can arise by implication through the acts and omissions of the actors.

If one person owns something as a sole proprietor, he can use an assumed name like "The Print Press Doctor" as well.

Who should file an assumed name registration in your situation? The whole band as a general partnership? Anderson, Brown, Carson, Day, & Evans general partnership d/b/a "Some Band Name Here"?

It would make more sense to have something in writing to provide to the person that will write the check than to file an Assumed Name Registration. One or more persons can be on the checking account, and the checking account can reflect they are doing business as "Some Band Name Here". Thus, if the check writer issues the check in the bands name it can be endorsed and deposited accordingly.

If you have a corporation or LLC for a small business hobby making hobby level money it can be more trouble and expense than it is worth due to additional tax return filing requirements, annual registration fees, etc.
 

Marc Morfei

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the checking account can reflect they are doing business as "Some Band Name Here". Thus, if the check writer issues the check in the bands name it can be endorsed and deposited accordingly.
Right. That's what I did. In this once instance, I forgot to tell them to make the check out to me personally, and it showed up made out to the name of the band. The DBA allowed me to cash it.
 




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