A Fictitious Business Name (FBN) shall be filed within 40 days of the first transacting business. Once registered, it is effective for 5 years. The fictitious business name will need to be re-registered before the date of expiration or if the business location changes. Once a Fictitious Business Name statement is filed, it must be published in an adjudicated newspaper for four consecutive weeks. Publication must start within 30 days of filing the statement with the County Clerk's office.
The Requirements for Filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement
Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17900) of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code, requires the filing of a Fictitious Business Name Statement.
Who Must File?
Every individual, partnership, and other associations and corporations that regularly transact business for profit in this state under a fictitious business name.
Definitions of an FBN (AKA: Doing Business As (DBA))
For individuals: A name that does not include the surname of the individual. A name that suggests the existence of additional owners (such words as "Company", "& Company", "& Sons", "& Associates", "Brothers;" but not words that merely describe the business being conducted).
For partnerships or other associations of persons: A name that does not include the surname of each general partner or a name that suggests the existence of additional owners (such as: "Company", "Brothers", etc.). (In the case of an unincorporated association other than a partnership, a "general partner" means a person whose liability in the business is substantially the same as a general partner.)
For corporations: A name not stated in its articles of incorporation.
Organizations not included: Non-profit corporations or associations such as churches, labor unions, fraternal and charitable organizations, non-profit hospitals, and real estate investment trusts with permits under Section 23000 of the Corporations Code.
Expirations and Abandonments
A fictitious business statement expires five years from the date it is filed with the County Clerk, and a new statement must be filed. The new statement needs not be re-published if the information contained in the new statement previously filed has not changed from the originally filed statement and the new filing is filed within 40 days of the expiration of the previous statement.
A statement expires 40 days after any change in the facts contained in the statement except that a change in the residence address of an individual.
A statement also expires when an abandonment has been filed.
A person who has filed a statement shall, upon ceasing to transact business in this state under that fictitious name, file and publish a statement of abandonment, and file an affidavit of publication. This includes businesses that are sold to a new owner, the original owner would need to file and publish a Statement of Abandonment. Forms for this purpose are available in the County Clerk's Office. The Statement of Abandonment form may be downloaded by clicking here.
Withdrawal of a General Partner
A general partner of a partnership having a statement on file may file a statement of withdrawal, publish, and file an affidavit of publication. (Publication is not required if the dissolution of the partnership has been published pursuant to the Corporations Code.) Forms for this purpose are available in the County Clerk's Office. The Statement of Withdrawal form may be downloaded by clicking here.
Whenever failure to comply with this law would preclude taking legal action to recover monies due, a trustee in bankruptcy, an administrator of the estate, or an assignee or purchaser of the business may file the fictitious name statement.
When and Where to File
The statement must be filed not later than 40 days from the time business commences to be transacted.
The fictitious business name statement shall be filed with the County Clerk of the County in which the registrant has his/her principal place of business. If he/she has no place of business in California, it shall be filed with the County Clerk of Sacramento County.
- The registrant(s) must provide a physical residence address under the registrant's information.
- If the registrant is a corporation or an LLC, the address as listed in the Articles of Incorporation along with the State of Incorporation/Organization must be listed.
- New filings along with changes in the facts of original filings must be published by the registrant in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the principal place of business is located.
- The first publication must begin within thirty days of the date the statement was filed in the County Clerk’s office. The newspaper will publish once a week for four consecutive weeks. Failure to publish timely will require a new filing along with all filing fees.
- The proof of publication must be filed in the County Clerk’s office within thirty days of the last publication. Please check with the newspaper to see if they will forward the original to our office for filing.
- A reminder notice that a filing is set to expire is mailed from the County Clerk within two weeks of the expiration date. There is a 40 day grace period following the date of expiration. It is the filer’s responsibility to re-file timely.
- There is no need to republish the statement if it is filed timely and there has been no change in the information contained in the previously filed statement.
Mailing and Application:
- Complete and sign an original application and mail along with payment to the County Clerk’s Office.
- If the application is complete, the Customer, Bank, and Publication copies will be sent back to you along with instructions for each copy.
- If the application is NOT complete or corrections need to be made, your original, along with your copies, payment, and return envelope will be returned to you along with a letter stating what information is missing. Please complete and return as soon as possible.
Within thirty days after the statement is filed, the registrant shall publish it in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the principal place of business is located. "The newspaper selected for the publication of the statement should be one that circulates in the area where the business is to be conducted." (Section 17917b, Business & Professions Code.)
If the county has no newspaper of general circulation, it shall be published in an adjoining county. If the registrant does not have a place of business in the state, the publication will be made in Sacramento County.
An affidavit of publication shall be filed with the County Clerk within 30 days after the completion of publication.
- All information contained in the statement is a PUBLIC record.
- An FBN must be filed no later than forty days from the time you start doing business.
- An FBN must be filed with the County Clerk in the county in which the registrant has his/her principal place of business.
- You may file in person at the County Clerk’s office. Applications are accepted Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The process takes 10 to 15 minutes per application. The registrant or agent filing on behalf of the registrant shall present personal identification in the form of a California driver’s license or other government identification. All necessary documents will be provided at the time of filing.
- You may file by mail; the turnaround time is approximately 5-7 business days.
- The filer is responsible for confirming that all information in the statement is correct and complete before filing it.
- You cannot make any updates to the statement once it has been filed. Any changes require the filing of a new statement, payment of the filing fees again, and newspaper publication fees.
- FBN statements are valid for five (5) years. If at any time there are changes to the facts of the filing, for example, ownership, business name, and/or address change, a new statement must be filed.
- When a business is sold to a new owner, the original owner shall file and publish a Statement of Abandonment. When individual withdrawals from a multi-partner FBN, a Statement of Withdrawal may be filed and published.
- Click here to access a Fictitious Business Application
- Click here to access a Statement of Abandonment of Use of Fictitious Business Name
- Click here to access a Statement of Withdrawal from Partnership
- Click here for Instructions on Publications