How to File for a Fictitious Business Name in Philadelphia

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If you own or are starting a business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that will be operating under a name that is different from its legal name, you will need to submit an application to the Commonwealth in order to legally operate under a new business name. A business's "legal" name is the one that was registered with the Commonwealth when the business was organized into a corporation, limited liability company, or a name containing the name or names of the business owners or partners in the case of a general partnership or sole proprietorship.

Check to make sure that the fictitious name that you want to use for your Philadelphia business is available. You can do this by calling the Pennsylvania Department of State and making an inquiry. The phone number for this state agency is 717-787-1057. If the name is not available, it will not be issued to you. Therefore, you would need to choose a new fictitious name. If the name is available, you can continue on to the next step in the application process.

Obtain and complete the Pennsylvania "Registration of Fictitious Name" form. This form can be filled out online and printed out for signatures on the Pennsylvania Department of State's website. A link to the site is provided in the "Resources" section below. You can also call the Department of State at the number provided in step one to request an application. On the form you will need to state the fictitious name that you are applying for, a brief description of your business, your business address, and the names and addresses of all owners and partners of the business. Sign the form and mail it to the Pennsylvania Department of State along with a check or money order for the $70 application fee to: Corporation Bureau, P.O. Box 8722, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105.

Advertise your fictitious business name in Philadelphia. The statute governing fictitious name registration (54 Pa.C.S, section 301 et. seq.) requires that all businesses advertise their fictitious name in one legal journal and one general circulation newspaper in the county in which the business is located. The main legal journal in Philadelphia is the Legal Intelligencer. There are many Philadelphia newspapers, such as the "Philadelphia Inquirer." Your ad should state your fictitious name, who filed the fictitious name application, the business address and the name of the person or law firm placing the ad.


  • It is best practice to consult with a Pennsylvania licensed attorney when filing your application with the state and writing and placing your advertisement.



About the Author

Krystal Wascher has been writing online content since 2008. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Thiel College and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2009.

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  • signing a contract image by William Berry from