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COUNTY OF MONTEREY
RECORDER-COUNTY CLERK
 

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAMES

WHAT IS IT?
WHEN IS IT REQUIRED?
FILE IN PERSON

FILE BY MAIL
SEARCH IN PERSON
SEARCH BY MAIL

SEARCH via INTERNET

ONLINE FORMS

WHAT IS IT

This section will tell you how a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME is defined, as well as who should file a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT.

The Definition of Fictitious Business Name is:
A business name that DOES NOT include the surname of the individual owner, and each of the partners or the nature of the business is not clearly evident by the name.

For example, doing business under a name like:
Smith & Jones Associates
or
Smith & Jones Sons

Would require a Fictitious Business Name be registered, even though the surname of the owner is stated, the words following the surname suggest other owners that are not specifically named.

HOWEVER, doing business under a name like:
John Smith Plumbing
or Smith Plumbing

Would not require a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME be registered, because the owner (John Smith) is conducting business under his legal name.

In the case of a corporation, a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME is ANY name OTHER than the EXACT corporate name as stated in the articles of incorporation.

WHEN IS IT REQUIRED?

Any person who regularly transacts business for profit, UNDER A FICTITIOUS NAME in the County of Monterey is required to file a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT with the County Clerk, within 40 days of first transacting business.

PLEASE NOTE:  Although registration of a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME is required, this office serves ONLY as the central depository of these names, neither approving nor disapproving a particular name and CANNOT accept any responsibility for any omissions, similarities, or duplications among the Fictitious Business Names on file.  Fictitious Business Names are filed ONLY in the county where the business is located.  Statewide registries do NOT exist.

All prospective registrants are cautioned that REGISTRATION OF A FICTITIOUS NAME DOES NOT GUARANTEE EXCLUSIVE USE OF THAT NAME.

For information on how to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement, CLICK file in person OR file by mail.

If you need to speak with a staff member, call (831) 755-5450.  If you are calling from the Monterey Peninsula area, call (831) 647-7850.

FILE IN PERSON

Fictitious Business Name FILING IN PERSON

For a definition of a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME or information on who is required to file a Fictitious Business Name statement, click Fictitious Business Name what is it?

For information on how to search the Index of Fictitious Business Names, in order to determine if a particular business name is currently registered or, the name of the owner or owners of a particular business, click search in person OR search by mail.

A Fictitious Business Name may be filed by mail or in person; however, because of its importance, WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO FILE IN PERSON.

 If you are unable to appear in person and would like information on how to file a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME by mail, click FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME file by mail.

To file a Fictitious Business in person,

 FIRST: Search the “Index of FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAMES” located at the County Clerk’s office to ensure the name you intend to file IS NOT already registered. 

NEXT:   Complete the filing form provided.

THEN:   Present the completed form***, along with payment at the customer counter.  A copy of the Statement will be returned to you.

***When filing a Fictitious Business Name for a corporation or LLC, please include a copy of the articles of incorporation/association. Please be prepared to present your identification at the time of filing.

 The fee to register a Fictitious Business Name is $30.00 for the first business name and owner and $7.00 for each additional business name OR owner name.

You may file a Fictitious Business Name Statement at our office location.

Office hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, except holidays.

If you need to speak with a staff member, please call (831) 755-5450.  If you are calling from the Monterey Peninsula area, please call (831) 647-7850.

FILE BY MAIL

Because of its importance, the County Clerk strongly recommends that you register a Fictitious Business Name in person whenever possible.  This office CANNOT accept responsibility for any filing attempted by mail.

 TO FILE BY MAIL

Complete an official FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME filing form in black ink or by typing.

***When filing a Fictitious Business Name for a corporation or LLC, please include a copy of the articles of incorporation/association. Please be prepared to present your identification at the time of filing.

Filing forms are available at the County Clerk’s office.  You may also request a form in writing.  Send you request or all copies of the completed form***, along with a check made payable to Monterey County Clerk AND a legal-size, self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Monterey County Clerk
P. O. Box 29
Salinas, CA  93902

The fee to register a FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME is:

 $30.00 for the first business name and owner

 AND

 $7.00 for each additional business name or owner name.

Payment may be by check (drawn from California banking institution only) or Money Order payable to the Monterey County Clerk.

A Fictitious Business Name should be filed within 40 days of first transacting business.  Once registered, it is effective for 5 years.  You will need to re-register, prior to the date of expiration or if the business location changes.  After filing, the Fictitious Business Name must be published in an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation within 30 days of the filing date. 

For information of office hours and location, click here.

If you need to speak with a staff member, please call (831) 755-5450.   If you are calling from the Monterey Peninsula area, please call (831) 647-7850.

SEARCH IN PERSON

We always suggest you search the Registry or file a Fictitious Business Name Statement in person at our office location.  However if you are unable to come to the County Clerk’s office, you may request a search of file a Fictitious Business Name Statement by mail.

For information on requesting a search of the Fictitious Business Name Index by mail click search by mail.

We always recommend that you search the Registry of Fictitious Business Names before filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement.

The fees for copies are as follows:

$2.00 per page Plain Copy

$2.00 for Certified Copy

Business hours: 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Mondays through Friday, except holidays.

For further information on office location, click file in person or file by mail.

If you need to speak with a staff member, please call (831) 755-5450.

SEARCH BY MAIL

To request a Fictitious Business Name search by mail, you must provide the EXACT business name and, if applicable, the owner name to researched.

Send your request AND a legal size, self-addressed stamped envelope with money order or check (drawn for a California financial institution) payable to:

Monterey County Clerk
P. O. Box 29
Salinas, CA  93902                             

Enclose $5.00 for each business or owner name to be researched and $2.00 for each copy per page of the statement requested, or $2.00 per statement if certification is required.