How to File a DBA in Florida

A Florida DBA (doing business as) is called a fictitious name. Florida fictitious name registration allows a business to operate under a name that’s different from its legal name.

DBA registration won’t protect your personal assets like forming an LLC or corporation will. Learn why in our DBA vs LLC guide.

Or, use a professional DBA service:

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Register a Fictitious Business Name in Florida

Registering a Florida trade name, also known as a DBA, is easy!

Learn How to File a DBA in Florida yourself in three steps:

  1. Start with a Florida Fictitious Name Search
  2. Use Your Florida Fictitious Name
  3. Register Your Florida DBA

Note: A DBA is only used for branding. We recommend forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets.

Step 1: Start with a Florida Fictitious Name Search

Your Florida fictitious name must be unique and must also meet Florida’s business name requirements. 

First, visit the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Florida naming requirements. 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.

We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.

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Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Step 2: Use Your Florida Fictitious Name

You must publish a “legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name” in a newspaper BEFORE your fictitious name is registered. The notice must be published once by a newspaper that circulates in the county of the principal location of the business. 

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 basic requirements for the newspaper include:

  • 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 the Florida statutes.
  • If publishing online, see Chapter 50 of the Florida statutes.

Proof of Publication

When you sign the Florida Application for Registration of Fictitious Name form, you are attesting to the following:

"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."


Do NOT register your DBA in Florida without publishing first.

Step 3: Register Your Florida DBA

Your Florida fictitious name can be filed online or by mail with the Secretary of State. You can file online with the SunBiz Fictitious Name Portal or you can complete the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name.

Some important sections of the form include:

  • Section 1: List your new fictitious name, business address and principal place of business (county), and FEIN (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.

File a Florida Fictitious Name

Option 1: File Online With the SunBiz Fictitious Name Portal

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name by Mail or In-Person

Download Form


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

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

Mailing Address:
Fictitious Name Registration
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

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. Mail the completed form to the address below:

Fictitious Name Renewal
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

Change Your Fictitious Name
Complete only Section 4 of the Registration of a Fictitious Name form to make changes to your DBA. Mail the completed form to the address below:

Fictitious Name Registration
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

Withdraw Your Fictitious Name
Complete only Section 4 of the Registration of a Fictitious Name form to cancel or withdraw your fictitious name. Include an updated address if the business address on file is no longer valid. Mail the completed form to the address below:

Fictitious Name Registration
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

After Filing Your Florida DBA

If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:

  • Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
  • Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
  • Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.

Need Help Filing Your Florida DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Florida DBA For You

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

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee)

DBA Florida FAQ

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. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.

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 need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.

Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.

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?

Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.

When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

Useful Links For Your Florida DBA