What is a Fictitious Business Name?

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A “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN) 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.

We can take care of the details.

Why Businesses May Choose to Use a Fictitious Business Name

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...

Incorporating in multiple states

You are incorporating in multiple states under the same name, but you want your business name to reflect specific locations. For example: “Arizona Natural Resource Survey Reports LLC,” “North Dakota Natural Resource Survey Reports LLC,” etc.

Change of products or services

The products and services you provide have changed. For example: You own a business called “Johnson’s Auto Parts LLC” but have recently diversified into car repairs, so you may use an assumed business name like “Johnson’s Complete Car Repair Services.”

Privacy purposes

Your legal business name is similar to your own name, but you want to do business under a different name for privacy purposes.

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.

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:

1

Find out what state entity controls business formation (this is normally the Secretary of State).

2

Visit the relevant website and find the section on DBA, trade, fictitious or assumed names.

3

Download the form you'll need to fill in.

4

Complete the form with all relevant details.

5

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.

6

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.

 

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.

Protecting Your Business 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.

State
Fictitious Names Available?
Necessary Form & What Fictitious Names Are Known As
State Fees to Register Fictitious Name

Alaska

-

-

Alabama

-

-

Arkansas

-

$23

Arizona

-

-

California

DBA

$0

Colorado

Statement of trade name

$20

Connecticut

-

-

Washington DC

Trade name registration

$55

Delaware

Registration of trade, business & fictitious name certificate

$25

Florida

Fictitious name registration

$50

Georgia

-

-

Hawaii

Registration of trade name

$50

Iowa

Ficitious name resolution

$5

Idaho

Certificate of assumed business name

-

Illinois

Assumed name adoption

$140

Indiana

Assumed business name

$20

Kansas

-

-

Kentucky

Certificate of assumed name

$20

Louisiana

Application to register trade name

-

Massachusetts

-

-

Maryland

Trade name application

$75

Maine

Statement of intention to do business under an assumed or fictious name

$125

Michigan

Certificate of assumed name

$25

Minnesota

Assumed name

$50

Missouri

Registration of fictious name

$7

Mississippi

Fictious name registration

$25

Montana

Assumed business name registration

$20

North Carolina

Assumed business names

$26

North Dakota

-

-

Nebraska

Trade name registration

$100

New Hampshire

Trade name registration

$52

New Jersey

Registration of alternate name

$53

New Mexico

-

-

Nevada

Fictitious firm name

$25

New York

Certificate of assumed name

$125

Ohio

Fictitious name registration

$39

Oklahoma

Trade name

$25

Oregon

Assumed business name registration

$50

Pennsylvania

Registration of fictitious name

$70

Rhode Island

Fictious business name statement

$50

South Carolina

-

-

South Dakota

Fictitious name registration

$10

Tennessee

Assumed name

$20

Texas

Certificate of assumed business name

-

Utah

DBA

$22

Virginia

-

-

Vermont

Trade name

$50

Washington

-

-

Wisconsin

Trade name

$15

West Virginia

Trade name

$25

Wyoming

Trade name

$100

Help File My Fictitious Business Name

Save your time, we’ll handle the paperwork

We provide a complete fictitious business name service to register and file your assumed, trade, fictitious or doing business as name on your behalf. Just place an order, and we’ll collect the right information, guide you through the process and provide your assumed business name.

Common Questions About Filing Your Fictitious Business Name

Can I file a DBA instead of formally incorporating?

You can, but it’s not a good idea to just file a DBA or assumed name. If you want all the legal protections and other benefits of starting an LLC, you will need to formally create a separate business entity. Don’t worry — we're experts at this, and we’ll walk you through every step. You can choose to use an assumed business name at the same time or at some point later.

What happens if I can’t find a reference to a fictitious business name for my state?

States refer to assumed business names in various ways. For example, some might call it a trade name, a fictitious name or a doing business as name. Some states don’t have assumed names at all. You can find information about your state in our table above or through our helpful state-by-state guides for LLCs and corporations.

Do I have to choose between my LLC name and my fictitious business name?

Usually not. In most states you can use your official, legal business name and your assumed name interchangeably, although you may want to limit this to avoid confusing customers, suppliers and others. If you’re not sure, contact your attorney or your Secretary of State.

Does filing a DBA mean no one else can use my name?

Not always, especially if you haven’t formed an LLC or corporation (which would stop other people using your LLC or corporation name in your state). If you just have a DBA without a business entity name, someone else could form an LLC or corporation with your DBA name and effectively “take” it from you.