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  • Writer's pictureO'Neill Tran Law


A “doing business as” (DBA) called a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) in California, is a name that a business uses in practice that differs from its official registered name. For example, if you registered your business with the Secretary of State as “Katie’s Lawyer Services, LLC”, but you operate your business as “Awesome Lawyers”. “Awesome Lawyers” would be the FBN of “Katie’s Lawyer Services”.

How to register a FBN in San Francisco County

In the state of California FBNs are not registered at the state level, instead they are filed with the County Clerk in the county in which the principal place of business is located. If your principal place of business is located in San Francisco County, you will need to register with San Francisco Office of the County Clerk.

To register an FBN in San Francisco County the following steps must be completed:

1. Conduct a name search using the County Index and the Secretary of State to ensure that neither business name is already in use.

2. Go to the Tax Collector's Office at City Hall, Room 140, and do the following:

(i) Complete Business Registration Certificate application.

(ii) Pay registration fee.

(iii) Pay any prior delinquent taxes.

You may obtain the Application for Business Registration Certificate at: SF Tax Collector's Office.

3. Complete a Fictitious Business Name Statement form. File the Fictitious Business Name Statement either in-person or via mail. Further instructions can be found Office of the County Clerk's website. The filing fee is $53.00 for one business name and one owner. It is an additional $13.00 for each additional business or owner name under the same business.

4. After the Fictitious Business Name Statement has been filed, the statement must be published in a San Francisco legal court approved newspaper within 30 days from the date of filing, once per week for four consecutive weeks.

A list of San Francisco County adjudicated newspapers can be found here.

5. Proof of Publication must be filed with the County Clerk's Office within 30 days after the 4th publication. Filing fee for proof is $9.00. Some newspaper companies provide the service of filing this for you; therefore, check with the newspaper company of your choice.

While this article strives to provide information on filing FBNs in San Francisco County, I highly recommend that you speak with your business attorney for further guidance.

For more information on filing your FBN with San Francisco County contact O’Neill Tran Law at

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