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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Fictitious Business Name?

The definition of a fictitious business name is a 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 Eisenberg & Yandall Associates or Eisenberg & Yandall 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: Teresa Fiske Plumbing would not require a Fictitious Business Name be registered because the owner (Teresa Fiske) is conducting business under her legal name and the nature of the business is described.

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.

Who is Required to File?

Any person who regularly transacts business for profit, under a Fictitious Business Name, in the County of Santa Cruz is required to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County Clerk, within 40 days of first transacting business.

This office serves as the central depository of these names, and cannot accept any responsibility for any omissions, similarities, or duplications among the Fictitious Business Names on file. Fictitious Business Names are filed in the county where the business is located. Statewide registries do not exist. Corporations and Limited Liability Companies are not required to file, unless doing business under a name other than the corporate name as listed on the Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Organization. There is no requirement for a non-profit corporation or association to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement (B&P Code §17911).

NOTE: Registration of a Fictitious Business Name does not guarantee exclusive use of that name.

The County Clerk has no authority to refuse to file a fictitious business name statement on grounds that the same or similar name is already on file. It is recommended that you check the County Clerk's computer index to insure that the Fictitious Business Name you have chosen has not already been registered.

Click here for information on how to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement

How do I search for Fictitious Business Names?

We always recommend that you search the Registry of Fictitious Business Names in person before filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement. If you are unable to come to the Recorder/Clerk's Office, you may request a search by mail or e-mail. Therefore, the four ways to search for Fictitious Business Names are:

  • Visit our Fictitious Business Name Online Index.
  • Come into the County Clerk's Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Monday through Friday. We are located at: 701 Ocean St., Room 210, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
  • Send an E-Mail to:margarita.williams@santacruzcounty.us providing the name you want searched.
  • Write to the County Clerk's Office and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Our address is 701 Ocean Street, Room 210, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

More Information About Fictitious Business Names