Doing Business Under a Fictitious Name

Businesses often use assumed names to operate under multiple names while maintaining a single legal entity. Other terms used to describe an assumed name include: fictitious name, doing business as (DBA), or trade name. The process of adopting an assumed name varies by where you operate, but registrations are typically filed with the secretary of state or at the county level.

Most states require companies using an assumed name to register, however, 13 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) do not have a state filing requirement. Firms in these states may need to register their assumed name at the local level instead.

In addition to state filing requirements, 21 states also have county assumed name registration requirements. Depending on the legal structure of your business (e.g. LLC, corporation), a business may need to register an assumed name with the state and county or just the county. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are more likely to need a county assumed name registration than other business structures.

After registering an assumed name, seven states require the company to publish their assumed name in a newspaper or legal publication. These states are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania,

Assumed name registration generally provides little protection against another business using the same name. Several states guard registered assumed names by refusing overly similar names, but only Alaska and North Dakota provide exclusive name rights with registration.

The majority of states that require registration of assumed names also require renewal of assumed name registration. Typically assumed names need to be renewed every five years, but other states have renewal cycles ranging from every one to ten years.

Alabama

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$30

Renewal Application

$30

Alaska

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Term

Name Registration

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

$25

Arizona

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$10

Renewal Application

$10

Arkansas

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$15-25 depending on entity type.

Renewal Application

Not required.

California

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Application

Renewal Application

Colorado

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$20

Renewal Application

$5

Connecticut

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$8

Renewal Application

Not required.

Delaware

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Term

Trade Name or Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

Not required.

District of Columbia

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$55

Renewal Application

$55

Florida

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$50 for the registration and $30 for an optional certified copy of the name registration.

Renewal Application

$50

Georgia

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

Usually about $200 including the publishing fee. Fees vary slightly by county.

Renewal Application

Not required.

Hawaii

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$51

Renewal Application

$51

Idaho

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Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

The fee to file an amendment is $10.

Illinois

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Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Application

Varies by entity type and time of filing.

Renewal Application

Varies by entity type.

Indiana

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Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Application

$10 online or $26 by mail for nonprofits and $20 online or $30 by mail for corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships.

Renewal Application

Not required.

Iowa

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Term

Fictitious Name or Trade Name

Initial Application

$5

Renewal Application

Not required.

Kansas

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Term

Initial Application

Not required at the state level.

  • Kansas does not currently have fictitious name registration requirements at the state or local level.

Renewal Application

Not required.

Kentucky

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$20

Renewal Application

$20

Louisiana

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Term

Trade Name or Assumed Name

Initial Application

$75

Renewal Application

$75

Maine

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$25 for nonprofits or $125 for all other entity types.

Renewal Application

Not required.

Maryland

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$25 plus a $3 credit card fee if applying online.

Renewal Application

$25 plus a $3 credit card fee if renewing online.

Massachusetts

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

Renewal Application

Michigan

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$10 for corporations or limited partnerships and $25 for limited liability companies.

Renewal Application

$10 for corporations or limited partnerships and $25 for limited liability companies.

Minnesota

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$30 for mailed filing or $50 for online or expedited filings.

Renewal Application

Mississippi

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Term

Fictitious Name or Trade Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

$25

Missouri

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$7

Renewal Application

$7

Montana

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$20

Renewal Application

$20

Nebraska

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$100

Renewal Application

$100

Nevada

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Term

Fictitious Name or DBA

Initial Application

Renewal Application

New Hampshire

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$50

Renewal Application

$50

New Jersey

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Term

Alternate Name

Initial Application

$50

Renewal Application

$25 for business corporations or $50 for all other entities.

New Mexico

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Term

Initial Application

Not required at the state level.

  • New Mexico does not currently have fictitious name registration requirements at the state or local level.

Renewal Application

Not required.

New York

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$25 for LLCs and limited partnerships. Corporation fees are $25 + $100 for each county within New York City and $25 for each county outside of New York City.

Renewal Application

Not required.

North Carolina

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

Renewal Application

Not required.

North Dakota

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

$25

Ohio

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Term

Trade Name or Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$39

Renewal Application

$25

Oklahoma

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

Not required.

Oregon

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$50

Renewal Application

$50

Pennsylvania

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Application

$70

Renewal Application

Not required.

Rhode Island

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Term

Fictitious Name or Assumed Name

Initial Application

$20 for nonprofits and $50 for business corporations, LLCs, and limited partnerships.

Renewal Application

Not required.

South Carolina

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$10

Renewal Application

$10

South Dakota

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Term

Fictitious Name or DBA

Initial Application

$10

Renewal Application

$10

Tennessee

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$20

Renewal Application

$20

Texas

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

$25

Utah

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Term

DBA

Initial Application

$22

Renewal Application

$10 for nonprofits; $22 for LLPs and partnerships; and $15 for business corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships, and LLLPs.

Vermont

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Term

Trade Name or DBA

Initial Application

$50

Renewal Application

$40

Virginia

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More info

Term

Fictitious Name or Assumed Name

Initial Application

$10

Renewal Application

Not required.

Washington

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More info

Term

Trade Name or DBA

Initial Application

$24

Renewal Application

Not required.

West Virginia

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$25

Renewal Application

Not required.

Wisconsin

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$15

Renewal Application

$15

Wyoming

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Application

$100

Renewal Application

$50

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