When to file Fictitious Business Name Statement

Should you set up a publishing company that will be the imprint of your book and run it as a self-proprietorship, you may have to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement. This also is known as a Doing Business As form.

It all depends on the name you give your business. If your personal name clearly appears in your business’ name, then you generally won’t need to file such paperwork. For example, if your name is Ann Smith, then Ann Smith Publishing means you’re in the clear. Vary it just a little, however, say to A.S. Publishing, and you almost certainly will have to file such a statement. If you go with something like Red Cliff Publishing, which doesn’t have your name at all in it, you definitely will need to file.

The process for filing differs from state to state. A good place to start is with your county’s or city’s recorder office. The paperwork is usually easy to complete, and there will be a small fee. Some counties and states also may require that you publish a notice over a week to a month in a local newspaper announcing your fictitious business name; this also usually comes at a cost.

Of course, once you file such a statement, then you probably will need to go to the next step in affirming your business: Separating the business’ revenues and expenses from your personal wages. Filing a FBNS will allow you to set up a bank account in the business’ name, to receive royalties checks in the business’ name, and to obtain credit cards in the business’ name.