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 Registration

Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name

Mail or online.

$30 filing fee + $1.20 processing fee

Registration Renewal

Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name

Mail or online.

$30 filing fee + $1.20 processing fee

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Alaska

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Term

Name Registration

Initial Registration

Business Name Registration

Mail or online.

$25

Registration Renewal

Business Name Registration

Mail or online.

$25

By December 31 of the fifth year of registration. The year in which the registration becomes effective is considered a full year.

Arizona

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Online

$10

Registration Renewal

Online

$10

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Arkansas

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Registration

Application for Fictitious Name

Mail or online.

$15-25 depending on entity type.

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Fictitious names do not currently have expiration dates.

California

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Not required

Colorado

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Online

$20

Registration Renewal

Online

$20

Annually by the end of the registration anniversary month.

Connecticut

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Not required

Delaware

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Not required

District of Columbia

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Form TN-1: Trade Name Registration Form

Mail or online.

$55

Registration Renewal

Form TN-1: Trade Name Registration Form

Mail or online.

$55

By April 1 of the second year from the year of registration and biennially by April 1 thereafter.

Florida

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Registration

Fictitious Name Registration

Mail or online.

$50 (There is an additional $30 fee for a certified copy of fictitious name registration and an additional $10 fee for a certificate of status)

Registration Renewal

Fictitious Name Registration

Mail or online.

$50 (There is an additional $30 fee for a certified copy of fictitious name registration and an additional $10 fee for a certificate of status)

By December 31 of the fifth year of registration and every 5 years thereafter.

Georgia

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Not required

Hawaii

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Application for Registration of a Trade Name

Mail, fax, or online.

$50 + optional $20 expedite fee

Registration Renewal

Application for Registration of a Trade Name

Mail, fax, or online.

$50 + optional $20 expedite fee

By the date of registration every 5 years.

Idaho

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Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Registration

Online

$25

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire, but you must file an amendment certificate if business information changes.

Illinois

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More info

Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Registration

Online

Varies by entity type and time of filing.

Registration Renewal

Online

Varies by entity type and time of filing.

Corporation and LLC assumed name registrations expire on calendar years that are divisible by 5. Renewals must be filed by the first day of the anniversary month of the corporation. County level assumed names do not expire, but you may need to reregister when business information changes.

Indiana

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Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Registration

Certificate of Assumed Business Name

Mail or online.

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

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Assumed names registrations do not expire.

Iowa

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Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Registration

Resolution to Adopt Fictitious Name

Mail or online

$5

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Kansas

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Not required

Kentucky

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Certificate of Assumed Name

Mail or in-person.

$20

Registration Renewal

Certificate of Assumed Name

Mail or in-person.

$20

By the date of registration every 5 years.

Louisiana

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Term

Trade Name or Assumed Name

Registration Renewal

Trade Name, Trademark & Service Mark-Registration

Mail or online.

$75

By the date of registration every 10 years.

Maine

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Statement of Intention to do Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name

Mail

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

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Maryland

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Trade Name Application

Mail or online.

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

Registration Renewal

Trade Name Application

Mail or online.

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

By the date of registration every 5 years.

Massachusetts

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Not required

Michigan

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Certificate of Assumed Name

Mail or online.

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

Registration Renewal

Certificate of Assumed Name

Mail or online.

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

By December 31 of the 5th full calendar year following the most recent date of registration.

Minnesota

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More info

Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Certificate of Assumed Name Registration

Mail or online.

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

Registration Renewal

Certificate of Assumed Name Registration

Mail or online.

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

Assumed names have a preliminary term of 10 years. At the end on the term, renewals must be filed annually by December 31.

Mississippi

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More info

Term

Fictitious Name or Trade Name

Initial Registration

Online

$25

Registration Renewal

Online

$25

By December 31 every 5 years beginning the year where the 5th anniversary of registration occurs.

Missouri

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More info

Term

Fictitious Name

Registration Renewal

Creation, Renewal, Correction, and Amendment of Fictitious Name

Mail, in-person, or online.

$7

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Montana

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More info

Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Online

$20

Registration Renewal

Online

$20

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Nebraska

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Application for Trade Name

Mail or online.

$110 by mail or $100 online

Registration Renewal

Application for Trade Name

Mail or online.

$110 by mail or $100 online

Due by the date of registration every 10 years.

Nevada

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Not required

New Hampshire

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Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Trade Name Registration

Mail or online.

$50

Registration Renewal

Trade Name Registration

Mail or online.

$50

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

New Jersey

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Term

Alternate Name

Initial Registration

Form C-150G: Registration of Alternate Name

Mail, fax, or online.

$50

Registration Renewal

Form C-150G: Registration of Alternate Name

Mail, fax, or online.

$50

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

New Mexico

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Not required

New York

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Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Certificate of Assumed Name

Mail

$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 Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

North Carolina

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Not required

North Dakota

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Online

$25

Registration Renewal

Online

$25

By the date of registration every 5 years.

Ohio

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More info

Term

Trade Name or Fictitious Name

Initial Registration

Form 534A: Name Registration

Mail or online.

$39

Registration Renewal

Form 534A: Name Registration

Mail or online.

$39

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Oklahoma

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Trade Name Report

Mail or online.

$25

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Oregon

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More info

Term

Assumed Business Name

Initial Registration

New Registration

Mail or online.

$50

Registration Renewal

New Registration

Mail or online.

$50

Due by the date of registration every 2 years.

Pennsylvania

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More info

Term

Fictitious Name

Initial Registration

Registration of Fictitious Name

Mail or online.

$70

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Rhode Island

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More info

Term

Fictitious Business Name

Initial Registration

Fictitious Business Name Statement

Mail or online.

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

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

South Carolina

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More info

Term

Fictitious or Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Assumed Name Certificate

Mail

$10

Registration Renewal

Assumed Name Certificate

Mail

$10

By December 31 of the 5th full calendar year following the most recent date of registration.

South Dakota

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More info

Term

Fictitious Name or DBA

Initial Registration

Online

$10

Registration Renewal

Online

$10

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Tennessee

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More info

Term

Assumed Name

Registration Renewal

Application for Registration of Assumed Name

Mail

$20

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Texas

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More info

Term

Assumed Name

Initial Registration

Assumed Name Certificate

Mail, fax or online.

$25

Registration Renewal

Assumed Name Certificate

Mail, fax or online.

$25

Due by the date of registration every 10 years.

Utah

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More info

Term

DBA

Initial Registration

DBA Application

Mail or online.

$22

Registration Renewal

DBA Application

Mail or online.

$22

Triennially by the registration anniversary date.

Vermont

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More info

Term

Trade Name or DBA

Initial Registration

Online

$50

Registration Renewal

Online

$50

Due by the date of registration every 5 years.

Virginia

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More info

Term

Assumed or Fictitious Name

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Washington

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Business License Application

Mail or online.

$24

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

West Virginia

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Application for Trade Name

Mail or online.

$25

Renewal Not Required

Not required

Registrations do not currently expire.

Wisconsin

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More info

Term

Tradename

Initial Registration

Registration of Tradename/Trademark

Available online or in-person only.

$15

Registration Renewal

Registration of Tradename/Trademark

Available online or in-person only.

$15

Due by the date of registration every 10 years.

Wyoming

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More info

Term

Trade Name

Initial Registration

Registration of Trade Name

Mail

$100

Registration Renewal

Registration of Trade Name

Mail

$100

Due by the date of registration every 10 years.

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