What Is a Fictitious Name Registration, and Why Do You Need It?
What Is a Fictitious Name Registration, and Why Do You Need It?
November 15, 2019

Pursuant to Chapter 865.09 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Fictitious Name Act, fictitious name registrations (also known as a DBA, or “doing business as”) are required if:

  1. An individual (or individuals) wish to start a business, but don’t want to form a business entity with the Florida Department of State (this venture would be deemed a sole proprietorship or partnership);
  2. An individual decides to operate a business under a name other than his/her/their personal legal name; or
  3. An individual or business entity (such as a limited liability company or corporation) chooses to operate their business under a name other than the entity name registered with the Florida Department of State.

For example, our office operates under the fictitious name Hunter Business Law, while the entity name registered with the Florida Department of State is Sheryl Seckel Hunter, P.A.

The purpose of a fictitious name is to ensure that there is a public record as to the identity of the owner of the fictitious name. Additionally, the registration provides notice to creditors as to the person, persons, or entities who are doing business under fictitious names for the purpose of protecting creditors from fraud and deceit. A fictitious name registration also allows the individual or business to open bank accounts, accept payments, advertise and otherwise be presented under that name.

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.

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 is registered on October 22, 2019, it will expire on December 31, 2024. 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).

It is important to know that the intention to register a fictitious name must be advertised at least once in a newspaper that is circulated in the county in which the principal place of business will be located. Once the public notice has run in the applicable county, a sworn statement (i.e., the fictitious name registration) must be filed with the Florida Division of Corporations for a fee of $50.00. The statement must list the fictitious name to be registered, the mailing address of the business, and the name and address of each owner, and the document registration number if the owner is an entity.

Furthermore, 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, please contact our office at dba@hunterbusinesslaw.com.

 

This Blog was written by Hunter Business Law’s Advanced Certified Paralegal, Katelyn J. Dougherty.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for educational purposes only and does not offer nor substitute legal advice. Additionally, 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. Hunter Business Law expressly disclaims any and all liability in regard to any actions, or lack thereof, based on any contents of this blog.

 

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