Updated November 19, 2020:

This is how to cancel a fictitious name in Florida: Business owners must fill out a specific section in a registration form and file it with the Florida Department of State's Division of Corporations. Once the department receives the application, the division will remove the fictitious name registration from its records.

What Is a Fictitious Name?

A fictitious business name — also known as a trade name, a doing business as, or a DBA for short — is the name under which a person operates their company. A fictitious business name is a fantastic option for owners who don't want to put their real names on their companies. Without a fictitious name, the owners of a business must use their real names for that company.

All forms of business, from a sole proprietorship to large corporations, can use DBAs, depending on the circumstances. Some businesses might use DBAs in foreign countries because their original names are being used by other companies there.

In Florida, DBAs are required for business. Business owners must register their fictitious names, lest they are barred from initiating any court action on behalf of their business.

Business without DBAs may carry out contracts, hold deeds, and conduct business as usual in Florida. Business owners are also allowed to defend their companies in court. However, if anyone is harmed by those companies, the businesses are liable for any damages and they will have to pay attorney fees and court costs.

How Can Business Owners Register Their Fictitious Business Names in Florida?

When a business wants to register a fictitious name in Florida, its owners must file a Fictitious Name Registration application or statement with the Florida Department of State's Division of Corporations. Depending on the county where the business is headquartered, the registrants will need to advertise the new name of their intended DBA in a local newspaper.

When filing for DBAs, business owners must include the following information:

  • The name of the business
  • The address where the business is headquartered
  • The names and addresses of each owner
  • Their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN)
  • Their Florida registration number
  • Additional information depending on their circumstance

In addition, owners will need to pay any processing fees or taxes owed to the state. The registration fee is $50.

Registrants have the option of registering their fictitious name by mail or online. When business owners file their DBAs online, they can minimize the paperwork.

For general partnerships, the partners are the applicants if their partnership isn't registered with the Division of Corporations. If it is registered, the partnership is the registrant.

To keep that DBA active, business owners (or the fictitious name holder) must regularly renew or re-register the name while it is still active. In Florida, DBAs must be renewed every five years; otherwise, they'll expire on Dec. 31 of the fifth year. In each state, a fictitious name registration is renewed on or before Dec. 31 of the expiration year or on or after Jan. 1 the following calendar year.

What Process Does a Business Owner Use to Cancel Their Fictitious Business Name in Florida?

Just like a business owner filed for a DBA with the Florida Department of State, they will have to file a form to abandon that name with that same agency. They must use the Fictitious Name Registration application, which also allows a fictitious name holder to make changes to the DBA or the owner's name. They can download the PDF and print it out.

If the fictitious name holder wants to cancel and re-register their fictitious name at the same time, they'll need to fill out Sections 1-4 of the application. They can update the following information:

  • Their email address
  • Their mailing address
  • Their home address
  • Their EIN
  • Proof of the owner's legal name change

Owners only need to complete Section 4 to cancel their DBA.

Once the pertinent section is completed, the fictitious name holder must return the completed application with a check or money order, made out to the Florida Department of State. They must also pay a $50 application fee.

Business owners should file within 30 days after they've decided to disengage from their business.

If you need help cancelling your DBA in Florida, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.