DBA/FBN ? for a New Signing Agent

Hello :wave:
I am trying to decide whether I want to be a notary public signing agent under my own name or a fictitious name. I am new, and I’m not sure whether it will help or hinder to separate myself from my personal profiles (such as Facebook )with a DBA. Or is it personal preference? Considering:

Lioness Notary Services

Could really use some advice.

You’re gonna be signing your name when you notarize, not a ‘fictitious name’. Might explore having an LLC.


Are you planning on being a signing service? otherwise it may not be worth the trouble…

Setting up an LLC can help to insulate you from civil liabilities. This is sometimes known as the corporate veil. An LLC can be set up as a pass through entity for tax purposes. You should have a chat with an Attorney and Tax Professional to make certain the LLC is setup the right way, establish your financial procedures and record keeping. Always carry an E&O policy in addition to your Bond.


I am actually familiar with LLC’s My husband and I have on that we hold real estate under. I may do an LLC down the road, but as a beginner I do not see the advantage vs cost.

Thank you for the advice

Hi and thank you. No I am not which is why I haven’t pulled the trigger. As far as paper work, it really is not that difficult or expensive

True, but the CEO of Disney doesn’t sign Walt Disney World on his paperwork or checks. I think I want my business name to cover more than Just notary and Loan signings. I hope to expand into Trusts, apostles etc. and a business name would cover that. I do appreciate your oppinion

It’s your right to decide how much risk your can afford. Keep in mind without the corporate veil someone could bring about your financial ruin.


You’re getting some valuable advice from your Notary colleagues. Many of these folks have been around for a long time. It would be in your best interest to listen to their wisdom. A wise man once told me, ‘A hard head always leaves one with a soft wallet.’ No insult intended.


I want to be clear here… A ‘fictitious name’ is 'AKA/‘Also Known As’ or ‘DBA’/‘Doing Business As’, depending upon state designation.

The AKA/DBA has to do only with the business itself, not the notary act, as only a natural person (a human) can be a public officer - in this case, specifically a notary.

As far as entities are concerned, both LLC’s and corporations are ‘persons’ under most states’ laws and give the owners/members insulation from personal liability if properly formed and documented. The difference comes in three areas - Formation, maintenance and tax status.

LLC’s are generally more expensive and time-consuming to form, but do not require periodic board meetings. They also benefit from the flexibility to be taxed as a ‘C’ corporation, ‘S’ Corporation (pass-through), partnership or even disregarded entity (akin to a DBA). LLC laws differ from state to state, so some issues may come to pass if business is transacted in multiple states.

A corporation is less expensive and time-consuming to create, but requires ‘care and feeding’ to maintain validity if challenged. Regular (annual) meetings must be conducted, minutes kept and resolutions voted upon for major actions, even if only one stockholder exists. Taxation is either independent (‘C’/conventional corporation) or pass-through (Subchapter ‘S’).

Both require a policy document, known as bylaws for a corporation, or an operating agreement for an LLC.

For someone starting out, I’d usually lean towards a DBA, unless there is a good reason to create an independent entity. Even the isolation from liability becomes less important if proper insurance coverage is maintained. Such an approach would be reported on Schedule ‘C’ of an individual’s personal return, further diminishing complexity and costs.

Hope this helps.

Happy holidays.



Thank you
Your opinion and clarification is exactly what I was looking for.
I have good E&O insurance and bond. So I really am comfortable with liability coverage. No one ever talks about the risk of being over insured. Excessive coverage can actually attract lawsuits
my business is worth $0 today. Next year is a different story.
You have been very helpful thank you, again. Now I just have to decide do I want to do business as Lioness Notary Services or Holley A Eubank notary & Loan Signing Agent (the latter implied)

Many Blessings

Hi Holley, another perspective no one mentioned is the benefits when you do your taxes as an LLC. There are more write-offs you can utilize and it was beneficial to keep a separate business checking account, and when things soured (these past 2 years have been rough) could take on some business loans to keep afloat.

I am not worried much about the lawsuits and liability coverage but do like the tax and write off benefits I receive. Was a headache and a little expensive to do initially but am thankful I did it.



Hi Christy
Thanks for your Perspective. I am familiar with LLC’s as I do have one for buying and selling real estate. I really don’t think the tax deductions out way the costs at this time in my career. As of today, I have approx. $4000 in wright-offs against $0 income in 2023.
Also the new Corporate Transparency ACT - FINCEN is quite controversial at the moment . I think it would be prudent to take the approach of wait and see.

I want to clarify my original post. on DBA for a new signing agent. I am grateful for the community reach out. Its wonderful to be part of a community that supports my ambitions. Thank you for that.

My initial inquiry was geared toward marketing and name recognition.
As well as separating my personal profile from my professional profile.
I like “Lioness Notary Services” because it says something about me besides my name is Holley. Because I want to feel good to think about myself as a Lioness instead of a timid, green newbie starting over. I have 30 years under my belt of Real Estate experience: Buying Selling, investing and representation. But not here in Orange County CA.
Lastly, I am looking forward to the future. Once I build a strong reputation as a Notary Public and Loan signing Agent I want to parley that recognition into bigger and greater opportunities and using the same branding will carry through my Credibility to my future clients and business opportunities.

So, I think for though’s of you who choose to 'DBA a name other than your given, how has that worked out for you. Is it as simple as personal preference or have you benefited in other ways as well.

Thank you in advance

Many Blessing

I honestly don’t think anybody cares what you call your business. As long as you’ll do the job for a price they want to pay…


This Tax Pro agrees with your comments.


In 25 years of adversarial tax practice including audits, appeals and tax courts, I’ve almost never seen a legitimate business expense that would be permitted in an entity (e.g.: LLC) that would be prohibited for a Schedule ‘C’ business.

The IRS uses the terms ‘substance over form’; the auditors consider the true nature of income and expenses, rather than just what might be written on a piece of paper. The ‘substance over form’ principle applies equally to inclusion and exclusion of both income and expense.

If an expense is reasonable and necessary for the production of income, it may be deducted from business income. Leases for office equipment or vehicles are equally deductible regardless of business structure. Interest related to business expenses is also deductible.

An LLC can be taxed as a disregarded entity (which is reported on Schedule ‘C’), partnership, ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation. Tax treatment and filing requirements vary upon which tax structure is elected by the taxpayer.

However, I do agree with your point of separating business checking/finance, even for a Schedule ‘C’ business. A separate checking account, either in the name of the individual or the DBA, simplifies recordkeeping at tax time or in case of audit/examination. Likewise, using a specific credit card exclusively for business is an excellent practice.

Keeping good written records of out-of-pocket expenses (gas/toll/parking/etc.) and a mileage log is a practice that can save lots time and money at tax time - even more so if called before a tax agency. Reimbursing expenses by check (from the business/DBA account to one’s personal account) after putting on file an expense report (a written summary, with receipts if possible) is also a great way to keep the ‘books’ segregated.

A individual can use a secondary TIN (the IRS allows a taxpayer to request a single secondary TIN so they don’t have to give out their SS#; the request uses IRS Form SS-4, which can be filed online) to avoid confusion. If the taxpayer files multiple Schedules ‘C’ (for multiple businesses), they are still limited to a single secondary TIN.

FYI, I’ve seen significantly-sized businesses with dozens of employees and millions of dollars in revenue reported on a Schedule ‘C’, although it’s not that common.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. For example, the QBI/IRC 199A deduction, which is available on pass-through entities (partnerships, ‘S’ corporations) allows for the deduction of up to 20% of qualified business income. Certain other exceptions do exist, but many are not particularly relevant (or practical to pursue) until income becomes substantial.

As always, you should contact credentialed and experienced legal and/or tax professionals, admitted to practice in your state, should you want to explore the advantages and disadvantages of creating a business entity.

Hope this is useful.


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