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Florida DBA / Fictitious Name Registration In 3 Steps

Florida DBA / Fictitious Name Registration In 3 Steps

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Florida DBA / Fictitious Name Registration In 3 Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Florida using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Florida DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Fictitious Business Name. 

Check out our guide to see if you need to register for a Florida Fictitious Business Name and learn how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Florida

Who Needs to Register for a Florida Fictitious Name?

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Florida, like most states, requires the business to register its business name. The requirements and need to register for a Fictitious Business Name vary, depending on the type of business entity, and are outlined under Florida Statute.1

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common business structures to register for a Florida DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Fictitious Name registration.

For example, if Paula Smith starts a small business cleaning swimming pools and doesn’t want to operate under a business name, she doesn’t have to register. However, if she decides to name her business Paula’s Perfect Pools, she will need to register. 

Related: How to start a sole proprietorship in Florida

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a Florida DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Florida corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Florida Fictitious Name

A legal notice is required to be published in a newspaper with circulation in the county where the business is located BEFORE filing the registration form. 

This notice publication only has to be run one time. 

Contact the newspaper of your choice.  Prices will vary by paper but expect to spend between $30 and $100 for this notice.  Once the notice runs, the newspaper will send an affidavit stating the notice ran. 

There is no requirement to submit to the Florida Department of State, but you must certify that the ad has been published before submitting the name registration form. 

Step 2: Fill out the Form

After running the legal notice, the Fictitious Name registration can be filled out and either submitted online through the state’s Sunbiz website or by mailing the form to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. 

The form has questions regarding:

  • Proposed name to be registered
  • Mailing address of the business
  • County of the principal place of business
  • FEI number (same as the EIN issued by the IRS) – Not all businesses need to register for an EIN.  If that is the case, leave it blank.
  • Registrant contact information
  • Florida Document Number – This is only for business entities registered with the state, such as corporations or Limited Liability Companies.

Step 3: Submit the Form

Filing time is typically 2-3 business days when filing online or 3-5 business days when submitting by mail. 

If submitting the paper form, mail it to:
Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Florida DBA FAQs

How much does a Florida Fictitious Name cost?

The cost to register a DBA in Florida is $50. In addition, the publishing requirement will cost between $30 and $100, depending on the publication.

There is an optional $30 fee to get a certified copy of your DBA registration.

Renewal is required as the Fictition Name expires on December 31st of the fifth year.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Florida DBA?

Per Florida Statutes, Section 655.922, Fictitious Names can’t be registered using words related to financial institutions such as “bank,” “trust company,” “savings bank,” “credit union,” or other similar words unless the business is licensed to provide banking services. 

Additionally, businesses can’t use entity designators such as “corporation,” “corp.”, “incorporated,” “LLC,” “Limited Liability Company,” etc., unless they are registered as that business entity.

Can someone use my business name after registering a Florida DBA?

Unlike other states, the Fictitious Name in Florida does not require a fictitious name search to verify that nobody else is using your name.

If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

What happens if you don’t publish your DBA in Florida?

Any person who fails to comply with the Florida state statute is committing a second-degree misdemeanor.

What is the difference between a Florida Fictitious Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Florida Fictitious Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Florida?

Sources

  1. Florida Statutes – Fictitious Name Act § 865.09 ↩︎

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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Florida DBA / Fictitious Name Registration In 3 Steps

Florida DBA / Fictitious Name Registration In 3 Steps

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