Required by Many States if You Want to Do Business Under a Different Name From Your Legal Business Name
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.
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...
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.
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.”
Your legal business name is similar to your own name, but you want to do business under a different name for privacy purposes.
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.
There are a couple of ways you can register and file the name you want to do business under.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|
|Georgia||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$165|
|Hawaii||REGISTRATION OF TRADE NAME||$50|
|Iowa||FICTITIOUS NAME RESOLUTION||$5|
|Idaho||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$25|
|Illinois||ASSUMED NAME ADOPTION||$140|
|Indiana||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$20|
|Kentucky||CERTIFICATE OF ASSUMED NAME||$20|
|Louisiana||APPLICATION TO REGISTER TRADE NAME||$75|
|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 Dakota||ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME||$25|
|Nebraska||TRADE NAME REGISTRATION||$100|
|New Hampshire||TRADE NAME REGISTRATION||$50|
|New Jersey||REGISTRATION OF ALTERNATE NAME||$50|
|Nevada||FICTITIOUS FIRM NAME||$20|
|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|
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.
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?