Understanding Florida’s “dba,” “d/b/a,” and “Fictitious Names.”

By: Aaron LeClair*

A fictitious name is any name you’re operating under that’s not the legal name of the company. The name you state in the articles of incorporation is your legal name, and a fictitious name is anything else you call yourself.

Most states require you have a fictitious name filing in the event that the name of your company isn’t in your title. For example, “Aaron LeClair Industries” would be perfectly acceptable in almost all states. Just “LeClair Consulting” would pass in a few, and “LeClair and Sons Consulting” would pass in none of them.

The reason for a fictitious name is namely consumer protection, protecting your name and is required for some legal rights such as accepting checks, opening banks and applying for loans in the business’s name.

Fictitious names for sole proprietorships or partnerships may be required by your local or state government if you are running “Flathead Pancakes” instead of “Aaron LeClair’s Pancake House.” This name cannot include any allusion to you being a corporation. A Corporation follows much the same rules but must include an allusion to a corporation in their fictitious name.

Filing for a fictitious name in Florida will cost $50.00 and can be done online here.

Checking for fictitious names of a corporation can be done here.

**Aaron LeClair, 2L Washington and Lee University School of Law. Aaron is a student at Washington and Lee University School of Law, studying Law, with an emphasis in business and tax law.

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