Florida Fictitious Name Registration
To file a fictitious name registration:
- The name you register must be advertised at least once in a newspaper that is located within the county where your principal place of business is located (Chapter 50, Florida Statutes). However, proof of advertisement is not required. You, the applicant, certify the name has been advertised when you sign the application.
- Review the instructions for filing a fictitious name registration.
- Gather all information required to complete the form.
- Have a valid form of payment.
- Registration of a fictitious name is not required to form a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership.
- A Fictitious Name Registration does not satisfy Workers’ Compensation Exemption requirements.
- A Fictitious Name Registration is not required for an individual’s legal name, or for the name of a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership.
The online filing process for Fictitious Name Registrations and Renewals will be unavailable for maintenance from close of business June 30, 2017, until 8:00 a.m., July 3, 2017.
Answers to common questions about e-filing a Florida Fictitious Name Registration are listed below.
What is a fictitious name?
A fictitious name (also known as a“doing business as” or “dba”) is:
- Different from your personal name, if doing business as a sole proprietor.
- Different from your entity’s legal name, if you have incorporated or otherwise formed a separate legal business entity.
Why is registration required?
The Fictitious Name Act (s.865.09, F.S.) requires any person (which, by definition, includes an individual, as well as a business entity) to register their “fictitious name” or “dba” name with the Florida Department of State prior to conducting business in Florida.
Registration of a fictitious name under the Fictitious Name Act allows:
- An individual or business to operate under a name other than their legal name.
- The public to search Sunbiz to determine what individual or business is operating under the fictitious name.
What are my payment options to register a fictitious name?
- Credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express).
- Check and money orders.
- Make all checks payable to the Florida Department of State.
- Payments must be in U.S. currency drawn from a U.S. bank.
- Reprint your check voucher if you need an additional copy. Your tracking number is required.
Is my intended fictitious name already in use?
- Search our records by name to find out.
- Read our fictitious name search guide if you need additional assistance.
I don’t want to file online. Can I print and mail my application and payment?
- Yes, you can print the fictitious name registration application (PDF) and mail it with a check or money order payment.
- All payments by credit card must use the online registration.
Will I receive proof of registration?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation letter (which includes the name registered, assigned registration number and date of registration), as well as any requested certificates.
- You will receive your filing confirmation by email at the address provided on your application.
- Confirmation will be sent within 24 hours of your registration’s posting on Sunbiz.
- You will not receive a confirmation by U.S. Mail.
Registrations by mail:
- You will receive your confirmation by U.S. Mail.
- It will be addressed to the mailing address you provided on the application.
Will the fictitious name registration protect the name or keep someone else from using the name?
No. Registering a fictitious name does not:
- Grant you ownership or rights to the name; or
- Prohibit someone else from using or registering the same fictitious name.
Are there any exemptions from registration?
Yes, when the applicant is:
- A licensed attorney who is forming a business in order to practice law in the state of Florida.
- Registered with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and their licensing board does not require a fictitious name registration.
- A legal business entity already filed or registered with this office, whose status is active and not transacting business under any other name.
- A federally chartered corporation that is not transacting business under any other name.
Contact the Fictitious Name Registration Section at 850.245.6058 if you feel you may be qualified for an exemption not listed.
Are there any penalties for not registering a fictitious name?
Will I need proof of my fictitious name registration?
You must present the county or municipality with:
- A copy of your current fictitious name registration; or
- A written statement explaining why you are not required to comply with the Fictitious Name Act.
NOTE: Most banks and financial institutions also require proof of registration when opening an account.
How long is the fictitious name registration valid?
- It is valid for 5 years and expires on December 31st of the final year.
- You can renew your fictitious name online or by mail (PDF).
Can I update my fictitious name registration prior to its expiration?
Yes, you can update your fictitious name registration.
What are the duties and responsibilities of the Division of Corporations?
- The Division of Corporations is the ministerial filing agency responsible for the administration of the Fictitious Name Act, s.865.09 F.S.
- We file and index all Fictitious Name Registrations that meet the mandated statutory filing requirements.
- Please contact an attorney or an accountant for legal, accounting and tax advice.
What are the applicant’s duties and responsibilities?
It is the applicant’s responsibility to:
- Comply with all other applicable statutes and regulations.
- For example, there may be instances where a fictitious name registration is not required pursuant to the Fictitious Name Registration Act; however, another agency or institution requires the filing. In this situation, the applicant must file the fictitious name in order to comply with the other agency’s requirements.
- Ensure name infringement does not occur.
- The Division of Corporations is not responsible for any name infringement that may occur. Fictitious names are filed for public notice purposes only.
- The Division must accept any fictitious name registration that meets the statutory filing requirements.
My partner(s) and I have a “partnership.” Should we register the name of the partnership as a fictitious name, or should we file a Partnership Registration Statement under the Revised Uniform Partnership Act?
- Partnerships may register with the Department of State under Part II of Chapter 620, F.S. Under this statute, filing is not required. However, a partnership should file under the partnership act or the Fictitious Name Registration Act.
- You should review both statutes to determine which fits your needs the most.