Are you not satisfied with your business’s legal name? Are you looking to expand your business into a new industry? A solution for all this would be to set up a dba in Florida. Your Florida LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, be it any form of business, setting up a Florida dba would be a quick and easy solution if you want to start a business under a different name.
What is a Florida Fictitious Name?
It is just another name for Florida DBA. This is a name that businesses use when they are looking to operate under a name that is different from their legal name. DBA stands for “Doing Business As” and it is generally used when a company wants to extend its brand into small businesses. To start with, you must find a unique Florida fictitious name for your DBA, and then you are required to file it with the Florida secretary of state.
Do I Need A DBA in Florida?
Florida State has not made it compulsory for any business to set up a Florida DBA. Although, it is necessary for all LLCs, Corporations, Sole proprietors, and Partnership businesses to register the Florida fictitious name if they want to run a business under a name different than their legal name. If you want to register a DBA, you must file the Florida fictitious name registration form with the Florida SOS.
What to Consider While Filing a DBA?
There are a few things you should consider when you want to register your DBA in Florida. The secretary of state has all the right to reject your dba formation request if you fail to meet their guidelines. Here is some of the common consideration before filing:
- Your LLC or Corporation should have a good standing with the state.
- Florida requires you to notify people of your DBA through publications.
- Money order or cheque would be a safe payment option.
- You should get an EIN for your business.
How Can I File a DBA in Florida?
To run a Florida DBA, you would need to file a Florida fictitious name application. Even before that, you would need to follow a few steps to ensure that your Florida DBA name is eligible for registration. So here are the 3 steps to legally set up your Florida fictitious business name. Know the steps to know how to get a DBA in Florida.
Step 1: Florida Fictitious Name Search
Before you set up your DBA, you should have a name that would be legal and valid in the state of Florida. The name should not match other DBAs in Florida and must be unique. To know whether your name is unique or not, you can do the Florida fictitious name search on the SOS website. You must also know that your name is following the Florida state naming guidelines, which are as follows:
- The name should not imply any relations with a government agency.
- To use terms like “Bank” “University”, etc will require additional and prior approval.
- Upper or Lower case letters are not a valid differentiation.
- The business name should not convey any illegal purpose.
Step 2: Publish Your Florida DBA Name
It is a legal requirement in the state of Florida to publish a notice in a newspaper showing your intent to register a Florida DBA under a “fictitious name”. You must publish this in a newspaper of the county where your business is located. Along with this, you must follow the publishing requirement:
- Your publication must have 25% usage of English words.
- You must print it once a week for a whole year.
- The publication must be admissible in the post office for the public.
- If you are publishing online, follow chapter 50 of Florida statutes.
- If you are publishing without a newspaper, follow chapter 50 of the Florida statutes.
Note: You are not required to show proof, although if found that you have not published then you will be violating a law and can be charged with a third-degree felony.
Step 3: Register Your Florida DBA
Finally, you will now need to file the Florida fictitious name application. You can file it either online or by mail. Simply fill out the form and sign it and submit it online. The application looks a little different when send through mail. The details are the same, so simply fill it out and follow the instruction mentioned on the pdf, print it out, and mail it to the Florida secretary of state.
Remember if you do not own a registered Florida LLC, your DBA would be considered as a sole proprietorship.
What is the Cost To File DBA in Florida?
Unlike few other states, Florida has a fixed fee for registering Florida fictitious name. You must not register it with the county, instead, you can register it with the Florida secretary of state. They charge $50 to file the form. If you are also looking to get the certificate of status and a certified copy, you will have to pay $10 and $30 respectively (both of which are optional).
Can I Update My DBA Information?
Yes, you can definitely update your Florida DBA information even after its registration. You must visit the Florida SOS website to update the information online. The state allows you to update only the following:
If you updating your information because of a “change of ownership” then you are required to submit the proof to the state.
Do I Have to Renew my Florida DBA?
Yes, renewal is necessary if you want to run your DBA in Florida legally. Every DBA is valid only for 5 years and gets expired on 31st December of the 5th year. You will be charged $50 for your Florida fictitious name renewal with the secretary of state. At the time of renewal, you only require a signature from either one of the owners and you can only list 5 owners at the time of renewal.
Note: You must also note that if you knowingly provide wrong information, you will be guilty of a third-degree felony.
Can I File Multiple DBAs in Florida?
Yes, there is no restriction on the number of DBAs you can form. The Florida secretary of state allows a single business to form “n” number of DBAs in Florida. Although it is always recommended to have a legit purpose for opening a DBA to afford and manage it wisely.
What if I Don’t Want To Use My DBA Anymore?
If you are looking to stop operating your DBA in Florida, you must process it legally. You must fill out the form available on sunbiz and only fill section 4 and leave all the other sections blank. This will legally make your DBA void and further can not hold you liable for any events in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a certificate of status and certified copy?
A certificate of status simply proves that your business was formed legally and is eligible to operate in Florida. A certified copy is simply the true copy of your business filing.
2. Do I need to get the certificate of status and certified copy as well?
No both are optional but if you do need both of them you will have to pay $10 and $30 respectively.
3. Can I renew a Florida fictitious name which was expired?
No, once your Florida fictitious name is expired, you can not renew it. You must file a new Florida DBA.
4. What if I do not have the registration number to renew my Florida fictitious name?
You can find the registration number on your initial Florida DBA registration papers, if not then you can search the state records with your DBA name.
5. What if my business falls under more than one county?
In such a case you must mention so at the time of filing your Florida fictitious name registration online and you can publish the ad on either of the county.
What After I File My DBA in Florida?
After you file your Florida DBA, you must consider a few things on top of your to-do list. You must have a separate bank account for your business. This will help you keep your personal assets separate from your business liability. You should also work on engaging your target audience through your website and optimize it even for more traffic. Another consideration would be to get the right insurance for your business type to protect your assets.