What Does a Fictitious Name Mean?

What does a fictitious name mean? A fictitious name mean is when a person registers a business name to let people know who owns the enterprise.3 min read

What does a fictitious name mean? A fictitious name mean, also referred to as a DBA or "doing business as" name, is when a person registers a business name with the city or county to let people know who owns the enterprise.

About the Fictitious Name Process

A registered or legal name identifies your business and is used by federal and state taxing authorities when filing your business taxes and banks and other financial institutions for legal purposes. A trade name is what is used in advertising or trade purposes. While the term "fictitious business" may come across as a business with illegal practices in mind, that is not the case. The term is used for the registration of businesses in certain situations.

Determining if you need to file a fictitious name depends on whether the business will be operated under an assumed name. For example, John Doe wants to open a business and call it "Super-Size Apartment Movers." Mr. Doe will need to file as a fictitious named business or DBA with the county clerk's office.

If he chooses to name the business "John Doe's Super-Size Apartment Movers," he would not need to file a fictitious business statement because the company name uses his legal name.

Fictitious Names and State Law

A sole proprietorship not using the owner's legal name usually requires that the name be registered with the Secretary of State's office. This may differ in some states, such as Florida, where a legal name can be a person's given name or a properly registered business name. This may include the sole proprietors given name, trademarks, and service marks.

While some sole proprietorships, such as someone working in a freelance capacity, use their own name, others may choose a more creative name. This will need to be registered. There are some variations on whether the filing of a fictitious name is to be done at the county or the state level. There are also state variations regarding who is responsible for filing a fictitious business name based on how the company is being named.

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