Publication of the Fictitious Name
First, in the state of Florida, there is a statute that requires publication of a fictitious name, and it’s before you actually file for it with the secretary of state. It goes so far as to say, that if you fail to publish in the local newspaper where the owner of the fictitious name is located, then you could be guilty of a felony offense.
We haven’t seen a single case of a business owner being prosecuted for this, but the law is clear on this.
Owner of the Name
Second, the issue that comes up a lot when clients come to your office and want to make sure they did this correctly, or when we start checking, is who is the owner of the fictitious name. When you’re filling out the application, make sure you list the correct owner. Here’s the common mistake, which seems obvious but happens all the time, if you’re operating a corporation or a limited liability company, that would be the owner. A lot of times people will put themselves personally as the owners. That basically creates you personally as a sole proprietor, and that’s clearly not what’s happening. So just be sure to include the correct owner and the exact name of the company that owns the fictitious name.
Selling the Name
Third, if you are selling your business, most of the time you will be selling the fictitious name as well. Even if it is an asset sale, the name of the business, just like a retail shop name, would be sold with the assets such as inventory. The form for the transfer of the name is actually the same exact form as above. It’s very confusing. They actually want you to cancel the name on the same form and then list a new owner. So please follow the instructions carefully.
If you need assistance with obtaining a fictitious name or starting a business, give a call directly at (904) 615-8950 or schedule a consultation online.