How to File a DBA in Florida

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Registering a Florida DBA (doing business as), also known as a Florida fictitious name, is a simple process that you complete with the Secretary of State.

To learn more about why you may need a DBA, read our What is a DBA article.

Use A Professional Service

A professional service will handle filing your Florida DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

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How to Get a DBA in Florida - Three Easy Steps

Step 1: Start With a Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search

If you haven't already, visit the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search portal to complete a fictitious name search. Your name must be distinguishable from all Sunbiz fictitious name registrations that are already on file.

Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique business name.

TIP: Our business name generator tool is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are still working to create the perfect business name or website address.

In Florida, your fictitious name should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," 'banque," "banker,"''trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.

Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.

Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your Florida DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2: Publish a Notice for Your Florida Fictitious Name

Florida requires that all new fictitious names be published once in a newspaper before the business name is registered.

You must publish your "legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name" with a newspaper in the county were your principal location is located. Start by contacting a newspaper in the county of your principal location. Then, request the newspaper publish a "legal noticle of intent to file a fictitious name."

The legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name must state:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the undersigned, desiring to engage in business under the fictitious name of [Your DBA Name Here] intends to register the said name with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Tallahassee FL and/or Clerk of the Circuit Court of [County], FL. [Your Company Name, Address, City State, Zip Code]

The exact newspaper requirements can be found in detail in chapter 50 of Florida Statutes. The basic requirements for the publishing newspaper are:

  • 25% of the publication's words must be written in English.
  • The publication must be printed or published at least once a week.
  • The publication must be admissible as a periodical in the post office in the county where it’s published and it should be available and interesting to the public.
  • The publication must have been in existence for at least 1 year.
  • If publishing in a county without a newspaper, see chapter 50 of Florida Statutes.
  • If publishing online, see chapter 50 of Florida Statutes.

Proof of Publication

When it comes to proof of publication, Florida enforces a criminal variation of the honor system. When you sign the form, you are promising that you published the name already and that you did it right.

The signature line of the application for registration of fictitious name states:

“ I further certify that the intention to register the fictitious name to be registered has been advertised at least once in a newspaper as defined in chapter 50, Florida Statutes...I understand that the signature below shall have the same legal effect as if made under oath and I am aware that false information submitted in a document to the Department of State constitutes a third degree felony as provided for in s.817.155, F.S.”

We think this goes without saying—DO NOT register your DBA in Florida without publishing first.

Step 3: Register Your Florida Fictitious Name with the State

In Florida, you register your DBA with the secretary of state. You can file online at the Sunbiz fictitious name portal or you can complete the application for registration of fictitious name form.

The application will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:

  • Section 1: List your new fictitious name, business address and principal place of business (county), and FEI (EIN) if applicable.
  • Section 4: Use this section to cancel or change a registration, or change the name of registration (this can only be done on the application for registration of fictitious name form, not online).
  • Bottom of Form: Choose to receive a “Certificate of Status” or “Certified Copy” for your fictitious name.

A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.


Submit Your Fictitious Name Application


Walk In

Division of Corporations
Clifton Building
2661 Executive Center Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32301


Mail

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314


Fees

$50 Processing Fee
$10 Certificate of Status
$30 Certified Copy


Manage Your Florida Fictitious Name


General Questions

Call the Florida secretary of state: 850-245-6059


Renew Your Fictitious Name with the State

Your Florida DBA should be renewed by December 31st of the fifth year after registration and every five years after that. You can renew on the Sunbiz DBA portal or by completing and mailing the application for renewal of fictitious name form. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Renewal
Division of Corporations
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Florida 32314


Change Your Fictitious Name

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete only section 4 of the registration of a fictitious name form. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Fl 32314


Withdraw Your Fictitious Name

To cancel your fictitious name, complete only section 4 of the registration of a fictitious name form. Include an updated address if your business’ address on file is no longer valid. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Fl 32314

Need Help Filing Your Florida Fictitious Name?

Have A Professional Service File Your Florida Fictitious Name For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

We recommend using MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service. You can also read our list of the best DBA filing services.

FAQ DBA Florida

Can I file a DBA online in Florida?

You can file your DBA online at the Sunbiz DBA page.

How do I change my DBA in Florida?

To make changes to your DBA in Florida, complete only section 4 of the application for registration of a fictitious name form. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Fl 32314

How can I withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your DBA in Florida, you must complete only section 4 of the application for registration of a fictitious name form. Include an updated address if your business’ address on file is no longer valid. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Fl 32314

How often should I renew my Florida DBA?

Your Florida DBA should be renewed by December 31st of the fifth year after registration and every five years after that. You can renew on the Sunbiz DBA portal or by completing and mailing the application for renewal of fictitious name form.

When is a DBA required in Florida?

A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name. In the case of a sole proprietorship, you will need a DBA if you are operating under a name other than your own personal name.

How do I transfer my DBA in Florida?

Most transfers can be completed by filing an amendment to change the owner’s name.

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete only section 4 of the application for registration of a fictitious name form. Mail the completed form to:

Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, Fl 32314

Is my Florida DBA protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but your name is not protected in Florida. It is possible to create a federal trademark for a DBA, which would offer stronger legal protection across state lines.

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs for your business as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expense and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is An EIN from our friends at TRUiC.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?

A DBA can only have "Inc". in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

It’s always best to consult an attorney. Usually, the best option is to Form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.

Useful Links for Your Florida DBA