If you are a Florida business owner, you may not want to utilize your firm’s complete legal name for all its operations. If this is the case, a “Fictitious” name might just be a useful branding tool, enabling you to operate your business with a different name.

Fictitious name registration can also serve a variety of functions in your organization. Aside from that, you need to register a trade name in order to open a business bank account or obtain a credit card in the title you intend to use for business purposes.

What is a Fictitious Name?

A fictitious name (also widely recognized as a “doing business as” or “DBA”) is merely a means of carrying out business under a different identity than your formal title. It’s an excellent way to establish a new company brand without having to establish an LLC or corporation.

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations website also referred to as Sunbiz.org, is where you can enroll a DBA name or fictitious name. A form can be submitted online or mailed along with the related application fee.

The form requires the following relevant data: the preselected fictitious name, the company address, the primary county of business, as well as the identities and addresses of the owners. Before signing up for the name, you must advertise it at least once in a newspaper in the county where your main company is situated.

Your original fictitious name enrollment is valid for five years, and after that, it must be renewed on December 31 of the 5th year. Renewals can be completed online at Sunbiz.org or by mail and should be accompanied by a $50 registration fee.

How to Register a Fictitious Business Name in Florida

Fortunately, the Florida DBA registration procedure is simple. Complying with a sequence of actions and paying the appropriate fees is normally all that is required.

  1. Perform a Name Search

Prior to registering a trade name with the Florida Department of State, you should indeed undertake a name search. You must ensure that the title under which you intend to conduct business is not currently in use by another business. Leverage the Sunbiz website’s Fictitious Name Search tool to look up state company data.

You can use the platform to browse by operator name or fictitious name. If you are having difficulty using the tool, refer to the guidance document.

After that, search the trademark directory for titles that have already been copyrighted. TESS can be used to search the trademark database (Trademark Electronic Search System). Lastly, take into account the name limitations for Florida DBA names.

For instance, you are not allowed to encompass a business entity designator in your DBA name, including “LLC,” “Inc.,” or “Corp.” except if you currently have that sort of entity. You as well can’t utilize words like “bank,” “banker,” “credit union,” “trust company,” or “savings bank” except if you run a banking institution.

2. Publication of a Formal Notice in the Newspaper

Before you can sign up a trade name in Florida, you will be expected to first publicize a formal notice of your intent to register. At least one publication of the notice is required. Ensure to reach out to the news outlet in the county where your main location of operation is situated to fulfill this demand.

Expect to spend at least $30 to publicize your notice. After the notice has been published, you might be capable of getting a certificate from the newspaper proving that you fulfilled the publication demand. Trace back to Florida state laws if you are publicizing in a county where there is no news outlet. Subscribe to Florida statutes when publishing online.

3. Register a Florida Fictitious Business Name

You can sign up your fictitious name with the Florida Department of State when you’ve chosen a name and published the notice in the news publication. In Florida, trade name registration could indeed be completed online or by mail.

By mail

  • Tap the “Fictitious Name Registration (PDF)” link at the bottom of the Fictitious Name page.
  • Input all necessary details cautiously and double-check their correctness.
  • Fill out the form and sign it.
  • Make your $50 filing fee check to the Florida Department of State. Also include sums for a Certificate of Status ($10) and a Certified Copy ($30) in your check.
  • Mail the signed form and check to:

Fictitious Name Registration

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

  • Once your registration has been submitted, you would obtain a confirmation letter in the mail, as well as any desired certificates.
  • Your signature on the form confirms that you have publicized the title at least once in a news publication in the county in which your main company is situated.

By Online

  • Move to “Start a Business” and “Fictitious Name” on Sunbiz.org.
  • Check that you already have most of the necessary details.
  • Tap the “Register a Florida Fictitious Name” link.
  • There will be a cautionary note. Take the time to read it thoroughly. It contains data including the assertion that fictitious names are not considered necessary, that registration somehow doesn’t comply with the requirements for workers’ compensation exemption, and so forth.
  • Tap “Begin Fictitious Name Registration” after checking the box implying acceptance of the cautionary note.
  • Enter all the registration information requested on the form and double-check it for correctness.
  • Sign the paperwork electronically and press the “Continue” button.
  • The accompanying $50 filing fee will have to be paid. You could very well pay an extra $30 for a Certified Copy as well as an extra $10 for a Certificate of Status, each of which is voluntary. Credit card payments are accepted (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express).
  • In 24 hours, you will be sent an email confirming your filing.
  • You will attest that you’ve publicized the name at least once in a news publication in the county where your main company is situated.

4. Control Your Florida DBA

Once you’ve finished the enrollment process, you may also want to take a few steps with your DBA. You could perhaps decide to make a modification to your DBA enrollment, for instance. What if you determine that you do not desire the DBA name any longer? Evaluate the following options for managing your fictitious name registration:

  • Renewal
  • Withdrawal
  • Name modification
  • Transfer of ownership

Conclusion

When your application has been approved, you should invest the additional funds in certified copies of your fictitious name enrolment. Such paperwork will reduce the time it takes to access financial services or justify the official status of your company.

The DBA will be valid until December 31st of the fifth year following filing. The Florida Division of Corporation will send you an alert to revive your doing-business-as license before it comes to an end. Your Florida DBA can also be dissolved. Simply fill out Section 4 of the Application for Registration of a Fictitious Name and submit a $50 fee.