The acronym DBA (“doing business as”) refers to a business’s fictitious name. With a registered DBA, companies can operate under a name different from their formation name. In this article, you will discover whether a Florida business can have one or multiple DBAs.
Florida Fictitious Name – Understanding the Basics
In Florida, not only companies with multiple members and a typical business arrangement can file for a DBA. A sole proprietorship can also register a DBA to use in the place of the company’s owner.
When registering a fictitious name within state jurisdiction, business owners must file with the Florida Department of State. It is possible to apply for a DBA when forming a new business or apply later if necessary.
Filing a DBA has several benefits. If the owner of a sole proprietorship wants to make business under any name other than his or her own, it is fundamental to register a DBA.
Several business entities (e.g., limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, partnerships) can also use DBAs in different circumstances. For example, a company seeking to operate multiple businesses without creating a separate legal entity for each of them.
How Many DBAs Can an LLC Have in Florida? – The Verdict
Under Florida law, an LLC must operate under the name contained in the entity’s Articles of Organization. If the LLC’s legal name is not ideal for branding or expansion purposes, it is possible to file for a fictitious name.
There is no statutory limit on the number of DBAs that can be registered by an LLC in Florida. LLC members are free to expand their companies and register different DBAs for each of them.
While there is no fixed numerical limit, Florida law requires a separate registration process for each DBA (including the fees involved in the process). Also, each DBA must be a unique name.
Registering a DBA in Florida – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes 865.09(3)(a) establishes that “a person may not engage in business under a fictitious name unless the person first registers the name with the division by filing a registration listing:
- The name to be registered
- The mailing address of the business
- The name and address of each registrant”
Florida Statutes 865.09(3)(a)(4) adds that “if the registrant is a business entity that was required to file incorporation or similar documents with its state of organization when it was organized, such entity must:
- Be registered with the division and in active status with the division
- Provide its Florida document registration number, and
- Provide its federal employer identification number if the entity has such a number”
Before registering a specific name, business owners must research and identify whether that business name is already in use by another entity. If the chosen name is available, the next step is to publish a notice of intent to register it.
As described by Florida Statutes 865.09(3)(a)(5), the process requires the provision of “certification by at least one registrant that the intention to register such fictitious name has been advertised at least once in a newspaper as defined in chapter 50 in the county in which the principal place of business of the registrant is or will be located.”