How to File a DBA in Florida

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Registering a Florida DBA, also known as a 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.

How To Use This Guide

Use our free guide below to file for a DBA in Florida:

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Step 1) Start with a DBA Name Search

WebsiteIf you haven't already, head on over to Florida’s Sunbiz.org website to make sure your fictitious name isn't taken by another registered Florida business.

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

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 DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

Step 2) Publish a Notice for Your DBA

Fill Out DBA RegistrationFlorida requires that all new fictitious names be published at least once in a newspaper before the name is registered.

Don't worry—publication is easier than it sounds. And, when you call the newspaper to run your ad, they will most likely be familiar with the process too.

Publication Requirements

These publication requirements can be found in greater detail in chapter 50, Florida Statutes:

  • 25% of the publications 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 50.021 FS.
  • If publishing online, see 50.0211 FS.

Proof of Publication

When it comes to proof of publication, Florida prefers 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 DBA with the State

Mail in the FormIn Florida, you register your DBA with the secretary of state. You can file online at Florida’s Sunbiz.org website or you can complete the application for registration of fictitious name form.

The following information is needed on the form:

  • Section 1: List your new fictitious name, business address and principal place of business (county), and FEI (EIN) if applicable.
  • Section 2: Registrant’s information
  • Section 3: Registrant’s signature
  • 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.

Submit Your 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 DBA

DBA Questions

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

Renew Your DBA 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 online 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 DBA

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 DBA

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

FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Florida?

You can file your DBA online at Sunbiz.org’s fictitious name page.

How Do I Change My DBA in Florida?

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

How Can I Withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your fictitious name, 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 online 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 protection across state lines.

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs 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 incorporated. Incorporated businesses include LLCs, corporations, and Limited Partnerships to name a few.

How to 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.

Need Help Filing Your DBA?

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