What Is a Fictitious Name Certificate?


Every business has a name, but there is a difference between an operating name and a legal name. A fictitious name allows a company or individual to conduct business under the tax identification number of another legal entity. A fictitious name is also called a "doing business as" or "DBA" name. You can obtain a certificate authorizing this name.


A fictitious name certificate is a document that shows the legal name of the company and the name the company wishes to operate under.

Why Have One?

A sole proprietorship operating under the Social Security number of the owner may prefer to have a name appropriate to the product and services offered. A larger corporation may want to have different products represented under different names and not the legal name.


A fictitious business name costs between $10 to $100 depending on the state where the business is based.

Clearing the Name

It is important to get the name cleared before registering it to make sure no other businesses are using the name. Your state's Secretary of State website is able to do a name search.

Public Notice

When you file for a fictitious name certificate, you must post the notice in a local newspaper. This is a requirement in most states that allows other entities to file complaints about name competition or other matters.

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