- Florida is one of 44 states that require businesses to register fictitious names, which are also called assumed names, trade names or "doing business as" names. The registrations are required to provide notice to the general public and creditors regarding the identities of those who are doing business under the fictitious name, according to James W. Martin P.A., attorney at law. Although fictitious name registrations are required in Florida, the registration does not grant the business owner the exclusive right to use the name. The registration is for public notice only.
Florida Fictitious Name Act
- The Florida Fictitious Name Act was signed into law July 1, 1990. The act mandates that the fictitious name applicant publish a notice in the newspaper of the county where the business is primarily located. It also requires the business to register with the Division of Corporations and pay a $50 filing fee. Fictitious name registrations are valid for five years in Florida and expire on Dec. 31 of the fifth year. If ownership changes occur, the owner must file a cancellation and re-registration form within 30 days of the change, according to the Division of Corporations. If the registration is no longer active, the owner must file a cancellation form.
Exemptions and Penalties for Filing
- Businesses formed by an attorney licensed to practice in Florida or a person licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Florida Department of Health do not need to file a fictitious name. Those who do not comply with the law face a second degree misdemeanor criminal penalty that is punishable by up 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Violators are also prohibited against filing a lawsuit in Florida until they comply with the law.
For More Information
- Business owners can register their fictitious names on the Division of Corporations website. They can also request a certificate of status for $10 or a certified copy of their fictitious name registration for $30 online. The Division of Corporations website allows users to search for existing fictitious names.
The mailing address for the Division of Corporations is P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314. The phone number is 850-245-6058.