What is a Fictitious Business Name?

by Attorney Ben Forbes

Choosing a name is one of the first steps to starting your business. The name of your business is one of its most important assets. It carries the business’s reputation and puts potential customers on notice of the services it will provide.

The Pennsylvania Department of State requires businesses and individuals operating under a fictitious name to register that name. A fictitious name is any name used by a business other than its “proper name.” A “proper name” is the name on a business’s filings with the Department of State or in the case of a sole proprietorship, the name of the owner. If your business operates under any name other than its proper name it MUST register that name with the Department of State.

If you fail to register your fictitious you are subject to a five-hundred-dollar ($500.00) fine. Your business will be unable to maintain or defend a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. The fine must be paid and the business’s fictitious name must be registered with the Department of State. Call Attorney Ben Forbes at (570) 622-5933 for assistance in creating or naming your business.

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