A “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN) or “Doing Business As” name (DBA) is a name you choose to do business under that can be different from the official legal name of your LLC or corporation. Fictitious business names normally need to be filed with the Secretary of State or other entity that governs business formation in your state. If your business operates in multiple states, you’ll likely need to file a fictitious name in any state where you have a presence.
Why Businesses May
Choose to Use a Fictitious
Some entrepreneurs will simply choose to do business using the name they were formed under, but other business owners might want to use different names. Here are some examples of when
you might use another name…
Other Terms for a Fictitious Business Name:
Trade Name, Assumed Business Name, Doing Business As Name
A fictitious business name may be described in different ways by different states. For example, Maryland uses the term “Trade Name” and Illinois calls them “Assumed Names,” while other states may call them “Doing Business As” names. Regardless of the specific term, they all do similar things: allow your business to operate under a different name than the one it was formed with.
How to Register and File a Fictitious Business Name
There are a couple of ways you can register and file the name you want to do business under.
Register and File the Fictitious or Doing Business As Name Yourself
If you want to complete the filing and registration process yourself, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Find out what state entity controls business formation (this is normally the Secretary of State).
- Visit the relevant website and find the section on DBA, trade, fictitious or assumed names.
- Download the form you’ll need to fill in.
- Complete the form with all relevant details.
- Send the form back. The method varies from state to state; some allow online filing, but with others you will need to fax or mail it.
- Pay a fee to file the form.
Note that fictitious business names could be formed on a state or county level. If they are formed on a county level, you will likely have to register with each county where you want to use the DBA name.
Have Incfile Register and File on Your Behalf
Alternatively, here at Incfile we can take care of registering a business trade name for you. Just order our “Fictitious Business Name” service, and we’ll collect all the information we need. We deal with all the forms, filing, registration and fees on your behalf. It’s fast, simple and hassle-free.
You can take advantage of our service when you first incorporate your business, or at any time after that.
You can easily complete a fictitious business name search to see if specific names are taken on your state authority’s website.
Protecting Your Business Name
A fictitious name by itself won’t protect your business name. Forming an LLC or corporation is one of the best ways to secure the legal name of your business, but if you want to take an extra step, it may be worth trademarking your business name.
We also provide a complete, low-cost trademark search and registration service to make it easy to protect your assumed business or trade name.
The States That Allow Fictitious Business Names
Below, you’ll find a table of all the states that do and do not allow fictitious business names, including
costs, the necessary form, and what fictitious names are known as in each state.
|Fictitious Names Available?||Necessary Form & What Fictitious Names Are Known As||State Fees to Register Fictitious Name|
|Arkansas||APPLICATION FOR FICTITIOUS NAME||$23|
|Colorado||STATEMENT OF TRADE NAME||$20|
|Washington DC||TRADE NAME REGISTRATION||$55|
|Delaware||REGISTRATION OF TRADE, BUSINESS & FICTITIOUS NAME CERTIFICATE||$25|
|Florida||FICTITIOUS NAME REGISTRATION||$50|
|Hawaii||REGISTRATION OF TRADE NAME||$50|
|Iowa||FICTITIOUS NAME RESOLUTION||$5|
|Idaho||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$25|
|Illinois||ASSUMED NAME ADOPTION||$204|
|Indiana||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$21|
|Kentucky||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED NAME||$20|
|Louisiana||APPLICATION TO REGISTER TRADE NAME||$80|
|Maryland||TRADE NAME APPLICATION||$75|
|Maine||STATEMENT OF INTENTION TO DO BUSINESS UNDER AN ASSUMED OR FICTITIOUS NAME||$125|
|Michigan||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED NAME||$25|
|Missouri||REGISTRATION OF FICTITIOUS NAME||$7|
|Mississippi||FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION||$25|
|Montana||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION||$20|
|North Carolina||Assumed Business Names||$26|
|North Dakota||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$25|
|Nebraska||TRADE NAME REGISTRATION||$102|
|New Hampshire||TRADE NAME REGISTRATION||$52|
|New Jersey||REGISTRATION OF ALTERNATE NAME||$53|
|Nevada||FICTITIOUS FIRM NAME||$25|
|New York||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED NAME||$125|
|Ohio||FICTITIOUS NAME REGISTRATION||$39|
|Oregon||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION||$50|
|Pennsylvania||REGISTRATION OF FICTITIOUS NAME||$70|
|Rhode Island||FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT||$50|
|South Dakota||FICTITIOUS NAME REGISTRATION||$10|
|Texas||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$25|
|West Virginia||TRADE NAME||$25|