Step by step

File a Fictitious Business Name (FBN)

Choose a name to use publicly. It can either be the same as your legal business name or different.

If your business is outside of San Francisco County, you must file your FBN with the County Clerk of that county. If your business is outside of California, you must file with the Clerk of Sacramento County.

1

Check if your business name is available

Time:

20 minutes

Search for your business name on the FBN index to see if it is available. 

If your business name has already been filed with the San Francisco County Clerk's Office, you must choose another name.

Make sure that you are not infringing on other business trademarks or common law rights. Check your business name with the:

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2

Register your business

Time:

Less than 1 hour

Register your business with the SF Tax Collector’s Office within 15 days after starting your business.

You must pay a registration fee and any unpaid taxes to complete your registration.

Your business registration is valid for 1 fiscal year July 1 through June 30. 

You must renew your registration every year by May 31. If you don’t renew, your registration will expire in 5 years.

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3

Complete and file FBN Statement form

Time:

20 minutes

File your complete FBN Statement form either in person or by mail. 
 

Learn more about FBN Requirements

 

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4

Publish your FBN

Time:

1-2 months
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5

File Proof of Publication

Time:

20 minutes

File your Proof of Publication with the Office of the County Clerk

Make sure to do this within 30 days after the 4th publication. Some newspapers will file for you, but be sure to double check.
 

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Last updated November 15, 2022