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Filing DBA in Florida

A company name also known as a business name has a monumental role to play in the overall growth and perception of a company or brand. You can choose to go with a standard business name or opt for a DBA or “Doing business as”. There is a separate process for filing a DBA in Florida as compared to reserving or registering a standard business name. This article will delve deeper and provide insight into various aspects of a fictitious business name in Florida including what a DBA is, how to conduct a name search, and explain the process of filing for one.

Doing Business As or DBA in Florida

Florida is considered by entrepreneurs and small business owners as a favorable state for starting a small business. The state is home to 2.8 million small businesses leveraging a growing economy, robust infrastructure, and high accessibility to local, national, and global markets. Now, if you register a startup in the state then one of the first aspects to consider is a fictitious business name in Florida. There are several benefits of filing a DBA in Florida including privacy protection, enhanced value, and increased flexibility.

How does a DBA work in Florida?

If you want to start a business in Florida and are looking for a distinctive name that identifies your business then filing a DBA in Florida will be a good option. When you register a DBA or ‘Doing Business As’ then it allows you to conduct business in the state under a fictitious business name instead of your real name. There are many reasons why a new business owner would want a DBA. Some of these reasons are if your company is planning to inaugurate a new service or product line, which is currently not being reflected under the existing name. In such a scenario, you can file a DBA online in Florida to start this new product or service.

For example:: A small business owner, Joseph Lang starts a golf store business named Joseph Lang Golf Outlet. This type of business or business name will not require you to file a DBA online in Florida. However, if he changes the name to Lang Golf Outlet or Lang Golf & other sports outlets then it will be considered as a DBA or ‘doing business as’ name. This will require filing a DBA in Florida under the new name.

When do you need a DBA in Florida?

A DBA is often known as an assumed name, trade name or fictitious name. A fictitious business name Florida increases credibility and increases visibility for marketing and promotion of a business and hence it is quite popular. It is also important to understand that every business does not require filing a DBA in Florida as its requirement is based on several factors including a business owner’s preference. There are several reasons why a business owner would want to conduct their business under a DBA (Doing Business As) and the reasons can be different for different businesses. Some of the most popular reasons for using a DBA are:

  • Business Structure – If you opt to go with unincorporated business structures like a sole proprietorship or a general partnership then filing a DBA in Florida may be required if you plan to operate your company under a name that is not your own name or your business partner’s legal name. If you plan to form other legal entities like a Florida LLC, limited partnerships or a corporation then you are not required to file a fictitious business name in Florida. Although, you don’t need to file a DBA as a franchise owner, filing it can help in establishing your identity as a local Florida business.
  • Multiple businesses – You are already offering a specific product or service through your existing business but plan to diversify into other unrelated or new products or services through multiple businesses. In such a scenario, a DBA or fictitious business name in Florida will help you to keep each business separate without the need to register several companies.
  • Bank Requirement – There are times when your chosen bank may require a DBA (doing business as) for opening a business bank account. This is especially true for sole proprietorship businesses and general partnerships.

Filing a DBA in Florida

In order to conduct business under a DBA, you will be required to complete appropriate DBA forms and file a DBA online in Florida or even through mail. There is a filing fee and it would be required to fulfill any requirements pursuant to the 2020 Florida Statutes, chapter 865.09 – Fictitious Name Registration. Let us look in detail at the important steps towards filing a DBA in Florida successfully.

Do a name search

One of the first steps towards registering a fictitious name is conducting a DBA Florida search. In order to conduct a search for ‘doing business as’ names, you will need to identify or create a name for your company. Once you have created a business name, you can conduct a fictitious name search in the Search Records Section (Sunbiz) of the Florida Division of Corporations. This search will help you to find out if your chosen DBA is available or not while highlighting whether the name is similar to any other fictitious or business name in the Florida Department of State records.

Publish notice of your Florida DBA

Once you have conducted a DBA Florida search to find out the availability of a name, the next step is to publish a notice of intention. This simply means that before you file a DBA online in Florida, you will need to advertise the chosen DBA name at least once in a local newspaper or a newspaper located in the same county as your principal business address pursuant to 2021 Florida Statutes, Chapter 50.031.

For Example:: If your business is situated in Palm Beach County, FL then you need to publish in a local newspaper like the Palm Beach Post, Town-Crier, Sun-Sentinel etc.

Register DBA

Once you have advertised or published your fictitious business name in Florida in the local newspaper, you can proceed towards the registration of your DBA. The ‘doing business as’ name registration in Florida is governed by Florida Statutes, FL Stat § 865.09 (2020). The sole purpose of filing a DBA in Florida is to inform Florida residents about the business entity or individual who is conducting the business under the specific name. It is important to consider the following:

  • Your chosen fictitious name or DBA should not contain any suffix or indicator of a legal business entity like Corporation, Incorporated, Limited Liability Company, Corp, L.L.C., L.P., and P.A., among others especially if it is a sole proprietorship.
  • According to the Section 655.922 of the Florida Statutes, if your business is not a financial institution then it is prohibited by law to use specific words like “bank,” “banco,” “banker,” “savings bank,” “trust company,” or “credit union,” in your DBA name.

If your chosen fictitious business name in Florida complies with the Florida Statutes then you can register it by filing the “Application for Registration of Fictitious Name” along with a fee of $50. Alternatively, we at IncParadise can also help you to register your Florida DBA.

There are three ways of filing a DBA in Florida and they are:

  • Send your application through mail to Fictitious Name Registration, PO Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314-1300
  • File a DBA online in Florida through the Sunbiz Portal
  • You can order a DBA through IncParadise thus saving valuable time and you can use this time to manage other aspects of the new business

Do you want to file a DBA in Florida?

Managing Florida DBA

Filing a DBA in Florida doesn’t mean that the work or process is complete as you will need to keep renewing it as long as you want to keep the fictitious name. The fictitious business name in Florida has to be managed depending on the specific requirements of the business including cancelling the DBA permanently or changing the assumed name. Let us look at the various aspects integral to managing a Florida DBA.

Renew a Florida DBA

One of the important aspects to consider after filing a DBA in Florida is to renew it each year, so that the name doesn’t expire or it is not reserved by some other company. Different states have different renewal periods for a DBA and in Florida, a fictitious name registered under FL Stat § 865.09 (2020) will be valid for a period of 5 years. The 5-year period begins on the date you file a DBA online in Florida and expires on December 31 of the 5th calendar year after that date.

Example: If you register your fictitious business name in Florida on June 12, 2021 then it will expire on December 31, 2026. Hence, you will need to renew it on or before December 31 of the expiration year. Renewal on time will ensure the validity of the DBA for a period of another 5 years.

It is important to note that the Florida division of corporations will notify you regarding the expiry of the fictitious name registration prior to September 1 of the expiration year. This ensures filing a DBA in Florida for renewal on time. The fee for renewal of Florida DBA is $50.

Change a Florida DBA

Once you have registered a Florida DBA, you can conduct your business under the said name. Now, if you want to alter or change the fictitious name then what? Yes, it is possible and you need to start by conducting a DBA in Florida search to ensure your altered or new fictitious name is available. The next step is to download the “Application for Registration of Fictitious Name” and use it to simultaneously cancel the existing DBA and re-register the new DBA. The fee for re-registration of a fictitious business name in Florida is $50.

Cancel a Florida DBA

After filing a DBA in Florida, you may decide to keep the name for a period of 5 years, change it, or even cancel it. The cancellation of DBA can be due to any professional or personal reasons. According to FL Stat § 865.09 (2020), if you cease to operate and transact your business under the registered DBA then you will need to file a cancellation with the Florida division of corporations within 30 days after the business operations have stopped. In order to cancel your fictitious business name in Florida, you will have to download the DBA registration form or “Application for Registration of Fictitious Name” and fill out Section 4 of the application only. The fee for cancellation is $50.

Need Any Assistance in Filing a DBA?

The process for filing a DBA in Florida may require you to provide accurate information for proper registration of the fictitious name. You will also be required to publish your fictitious business name in Florida in local newspapers prior to the registration process. If all this sounds like a daunting process, then IncParadise is here to assist. We have expertise and knowledge regarding the DBA laws and can help you to set your Florida DBA.

We can also provide additional services that will ensure your other business requirements are fulfilled like getting a tax id, S corporation status, Florida Certificate of Good Standing, and dissolutions.

Do you require more information on Florida DBA?