How to File a DBA in Florida

Our picks for DBA filing services

northwest logoNorthwest Registered Agent
  • Same day filing service
  • Affordable pricing
  • Strict ethical code
Visit Northwest
ZenBusiness
  • Low cost
  • Quick turnaround
  • Expert service and support
Visit ZenBusiness
Incfile.com
  • Your first year is free
  • Wide range of services
  • Technical support
Visit Incfile

What is a DBA (doing business as)?

The term DBA means ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is any registered name that a company or individual uses to operate a business that is not its legal name.

The legal name of a company varies depending on its business structure. For limited liability companies (LLC) or incorporation, the legal name is the company name. It defaults to an individuals’ name for sole proprietors and general partnerships.

A DBA can be referred to as a fictitious name, trade name, and assumed name. In Florida, a DBA is most commonly called a fictitious business name.

A DBA only changes the name of a business.

For example, if you purchase a business, the name defaults to your legal name (e.g., Ben Smith). Ben Smith wants to open a cell phone repair shop. He knows that he can’t use his personal name because his clients would not know the services he offers. Ben Smith registers a DBA name to change the business name to Ben’s Cell Repair. The DBA only changes the name of Ben Smith’s business and nothing else.

Ben Smith now can operate his business under a fictitious business name rather than his personal legal name.

DBA vs fictitious business name

  • A business trade name, or DBA, is how companies operate under a specific name filed. 
  • A DBA is only an alias. 
  • A DBA must be associated with a legal entity.
  • A DBA and a business trade name are the same things.

Who needs a DBA?

In Florida, sole proprietors, LLCs, corporations, and partnerships must file a DBA to operate under a fictitious business name.

However, a DBA benefits you and your business in other ways, too. The benefits depend on your business entity and personal preferences.

  • New businesses. Florida requires that a new business owner file for a DBA name if they wish to operate using a different name.
  • Sole proprietors. A sole proprietor and its owner share the same entity. It means that they are the same unless they file a DBA.
  • LLCs. Your LLC must file a DBA to use a fictitious business name in Florida. When an LLC expands, the businesses will carry the LLC’s name unless they file a DBA. 
  • Corporations. A DBA allows a corporation to operate businesses in a variety of industries. A corporation must register a DBA in Florida if they intend to operate any type of business using a new name that is the corporation’s name. 
  • Franchises. Franchises also utilize DBAs regularly. For example, if you invest in a Papa John’s Pizza franchise. Papa John’s is an LLC. The new pizza restaurant would be listed as 798 Papa John’s Pizza. You must file a DBA in Florida to change its numerical listing to just the name, Papa John’s Pizza. You also let Florida know that you’ve bought into the pizza chain franchise.

A DBA gives small business owners and startups the creative freedom they need to choose a fictitious business name that suits them. Without a DBA, a small business would have to go through the expensive and complicated process of forming a separate LLC for just a name change.

Why do you need a DBA?

  • A DBA helps to eliminate the complication of forming an LLC. A DBA is more than just the name on the sign out front. A DBA eliminates the difficulties of forming an LLC for small businesses. Registering a fictitious business name in Florida is an affordable and easy way for sole proprietors to name their business.
  • LLCs and corporations benefit from a DBA. A DBA allows LLCs to operate different businesses without forming a separate LLC for every company they purchase. For example, if Cam’s Produce LLC opens a juice bar. The LLC must file a DBA to operate the juice bar using a fictitious business name. So, Cam’s Produce registers the DBA name Juice On The Go in Florida to change the name so that their customers know what they sell.
  • A DBA addresses privacy concerns. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships have to use their own names on public-facing material unless they file a DBA.
  • A DBA makes business banking more accessible. Most financial institutions require a DBA before allowing you to open a business bank account. Also, a DBA helps protect your personal assets by separating it from your business bank account. However, a DBA does not offer any legal protection or liability protection.
  • An affordable DBA helps simplify branding. Your brand name is what catches the attention of customers and clients. The fictitious business name on your signs and business cards lets people know what you do. For example, had Ben Smith not filed a DBA, his customers would not know that he operates a cell phone repair shop.

How to set up a DBA in Florida

Step 1 – Florida fictitious name search

All sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations in Florida must file a DBA to operate a business under any name that is not the company’s legal name.

DBA names in Florida must be unique and meet the state requirements.

You will visit the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search website to check the availability of a fictitious business name.

Step 2 – Publish legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name 

Before registering your DBA name in Florida, you must publish a legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name. You will publish the notice once in a newspaper circulating in the county you intend to do business.

Do not register a fictitious business name in Florida without publishing the notice first.

When publishing the legal notice, you can locate the complete list of basic requirements using Chapter 50 of the Florida statutes website.

Step 3 – Register a Florida DBA

In Florida, you will file your DBA with the Secretary of State. You can either file it online using the SunBiz Fictitious Name Portal or by mail by filling out the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name.

Mailing address:

Fictitious Name Registration

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Florida Secretary of State – 850-245-6059 

Step 4 – Pay Florida DBA filing fees

The DBA cost in Florida is $50. It is an additional $10 for a certificate of status.

Each certified copy of your DBA will cost $30.

You must renew your DBA on December 31st of the fifth year after registration. You will then renew it every five years after that. The cost for renewal is the same as your initial registration.

You can renew online using the Sunbiz DBA Portal or by mail by filling out the Application for Renewal of Fictitious Name 

Fictitious Name Renewal

Division of Corporations

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Florida DBA name restrictions

  • Business entity suffixes (LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc.) unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Any words or terms related to financial institutions such as a bank, trust company, credit union, etc.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Florida

Florida DBA tax considerations

In Florida, a DBA only changes the name of a business. It has no effect on the status of a business entity for tax purposes. Also, the IRS does not require you to have a separate tax I.D. number either. 

How much does a DBA filing cost in Florida?

The processing fee for a DBA in Florida is $50. It is an additional $10 for a Certificate of Status.

Florida charges $30 for each certified copy that you request.

You will have the additional cost of publishing a notice in your local newspaper. The cost depends on how much the publication charges for advertisement.

A DBA in Florida requires renewal by December 31st of the fifth year after you register the DBA. You will then renew the DBA every five years after that. 

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

 

Fictitious Name Renewal

Division of Corporations

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Professional DBA filing services

  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is an affordable solution for entrepreneurs, such as affordable LLC formations, and incorporations. ZenBusiness does offer a stand-alone registered agent service for $99 a year.
  • Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings is a quality DBA service. They assign a registered agent to every client, making them a customer favorite. Swyft Filings offers a DBA obtainment package that costs $99 plus state fees.
  • LegalZoom: LegalZoom does it all. The purpose of its design is to be a “one-stop-shop” for small businesses and their legal needs.
  • MyCompanyWorks: MyCompanyWorks doesn’t have the experience that other professional DBA obtainment services have. However, they’ve served thousands of businesses successfully. MyCompanyWorks offers one DBA filing package for $99 plus state fees. You can add a couple of extras for additional fees.
  • CorpNet: Corpnet’s biggest draw is that they have the best customers. It is hard to find a bad review about their DBA obtainment services.
  • MyCorporation: MyCorporation has served over a million businesses over the last 20+ years. Their customer reviews reflect their longevity and success. The cost of MyCorportation DBA services is $99 plus State Fees. The expedited rush service is an additional $100.
  • BizFilings: BizFilings offers entrepreneurs and small businesses services, such as LLC filing and incorporation services.  The starting price of $99 plus state fees for BizFilings DBA obtainment services is pretty standard. However, it doesn’t include a namecheck in states that require them. Alabama does.

FAQs

In Florida, you do not have to have a separate EIN.

A DBA and a business entity are two different things. DBA registration in Florida only changes the name of your business. 

If you filed it online, it takes the Florida Secretary of State 2-3 business days to process your DBA. 

The turn-around for a DBA in Florida filed by mail is 3-5 business days.

You can make changes to your Florida DBA by filling out a new Registration of a Fictitious Name form. You will only need to complete section 4 to make the changes. You can only file the form by mail.

To cancel or withdraw a DBA in Florida, you will fill out the Registration of a Fictitious Name and only fill out section 4. You will file the form by mail. 

There are no restrictions on how many DBAs you can have in Florida as long as you pay for them. You must follow the same procedures for each DBA.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email