By: Katelyn J. Dougherty, Esq.
Originally Published November 19, 2019 – Updated November 11, 2022
If you’re planning to do business in Florida, you may be required to register a Fictitious Name. A Fictitious Name, also known as a DBA (doing business as) or a Trade Name, is a name under which a business or individual operates that is different from their legal name. Here’s what you need to know about Fictitious Name Registration in Florida and why it’s needed:
What is Fictitious Name Registration?
A Fictitious Name Registration is a legal requirement for any person or entity operating a business in Florida under a name other than their legal name. The registration process involves filing a Fictitious Name application with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.
When is Fictitious Name Registration in Florida Needed?
Pursuant to Chapter 865.09 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Fictitious Name Act, a Fictitious Name Registration is required if:
For example, our office operates under the fictitious name Harbour Business Law, while the entity name registered with the Florida Department of State is Katelyn J. Dougherty, PLLC.
Additionally, effective July 1, 2017, a fictitious name registration may not be renewed if the registered name contains a business entity suffix or indicator such as Corp., Inc., LLC, P.A., and the like. For example, ABC Creative Publishing, LLC, would result in the denial of the fictitious name registration, whereas ABC Creative Publishing would result in a valid fictitious name registration.
Why are Fictitious Name Registrations Needed?
Fictitious Name Registrations are needed for several reasons:
How to Register a Fictitious Name in Florida?
To register a Fictitious Name in Florida, follow these steps:
What Happens After a Fictitious Name is Registered in Florida?
Successful Fictitious Name Registrations are valid for five years, expiring on December 31st of the fifth year following registration.
For example, if a fictitious name was registered on October 22, 2018, it will expire on December 31, 2023. Renewals may be filed between January 1st and December 31st of the fifth year.
The Florida Department of State sends out renewal notices in the renewal year to the most recent email address on file. However, failure to receive the statement of renewal does not provide the applicant with an exemption or extension to the registration renewal requirements. Therefore, it is important to calendar the expiration date as it can be forgotten very easily, and the email notification could go unseen.
If the fictitious name renewal is not filed by December 31st of the fifth year, the fictitious name registration expires, and a new registration must be submitted (along with a new fictitious name notice publication in the county in which the principal place of business will be located).
Additionally, if a change of business ownership occurs as the result of the sale or a merger of the business, the new owners must file a cancellation and re-registration within 30 days of the change of ownership.
For more information about your Fictitious Name Registrations, or to register a fictitious name for your business, please contact our office at email@example.com.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for educational purposes only and does not offer nor substitute legal advice. This blog does not establish an attorney-client relationship and is not for advertising or solicitation purposes. Any of the content contained herein shall not be used to make any decision without first consulting an attorney. The hiring of an attorney is an important decision not to be based on advertisements or blogs. Harbour Business Law expressly disclaims any and all liability in regard to any actions, or lack thereof, based on any contents of this blog.