Oftentimes companies find it useful to operate using a fictitious name, or DBA, instead of the company's official name. For example, Widgets, Inc. might be known to the public as "Widgets R Us." Whenever a business changes ownership, it is important that the DBA be transferred to the new owner if business operations will continue under the same name. In Florida, the Division of Corporations has certain filing requirements that must be met for a transfer to be legally recognized.
Completing the Application
Verify that you have a legal right to use the DBA you wish to transfer. Review any applicable contracts or agreements to ensure the DBA is transferable and be sure to consult qualified legal counsel if you are uncertain.
Access the Florida Division of Corporations website. (See Resources 1) Search for the DBA name you wish to transfer under "Inquire by Fictitious Name" to confirm that it is already registered in Florida.
Print the "Fictitious Name Detail" page for your Florida DBA. You will need this information to complete the DBA transfer.
Open the "Application for Registration of Fictitious Name" via the Internet and either type directly into the form or print and hand write in blue or black ink. (See Resources 2)
Enter the name of the DBA you are transferring along with your address and other company information in Sections 1 through 3 of the application. Sign the application where indicated.
Enter information about the currently-listed owner of the DBA in Section 4 of the application using the "Fictitious Name Detail" page as a reference. Have an authorized representative of the currently-listed owner sign Section 4 where indicated.
Filing Your Application
Hand-deliver or mail the original "Application for Registration of Fictitious Name" to the Florida Division of Corporations with a check for all applicable fees payable to: "Department of State."
Division of Corporations Clifton Building 2661 Executive Center Circle Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Fictitious Name Registration P.O. Box 1300 Tallahassee, Florida 32301-1300
Access the Florida Division of Corporations' website to confirm the "Fictitious Name Detail" has been updated to reflect new ownership of the DBA. (See Resources 1)
Begin using your new Florida DBA once you confirm the Division of Corporations has completed the transfer of the DBA to your company.
Consult qualified legal counsel if there is any concern about your right to use or register a DBA.
Always be certain that the DBA has been officially transferred before attempting to use the DBA.
If you are in a rush to transfer a DBA, the Division of Corporations typically allows applicants to file in person and wait for same-day service.
- If you are in a rush to transfer a DBA, the Division of Corporations typically allows applicants to file in person and wait for same-day service.
- Consult qualified legal counsel if there is any concern about your right to use or register a DBA.
- Always be certain that the DBA has been officially transferred before attempting to use the DBA.
Writing since 2007, Amy Schrader is an attorney who has practiced administrative and government law in Florida since 2002. Her articles appear in the Florida Bar's Continuing Legal Education publications and the Administrative Law Section newsletter. Schrader has a Master of Arts in international affairs and a Juris Doctor from Florida State University.