Fictitious Names

As of January 1, 2020, the Clerk’s Office of the State Corporation Commission is the central filing office in Virginia for all certificates of assumed or fictitious name. A certificate of assumed or fictitious name must be prepared on a form prescribed by the Commission.

A fictitious name is a name that a person (individual or business entity) uses instead of the person's true name, usually in the course of transacting or offering to transact business. It is sometimes referred to as an "assumed name" or "trade name," and it is often identified after a person’s true name with the abbreviation "t/a" ("trading as"), "dba" ("doing business as"), or "aka" ("also known as").

Before a person (an individual or entity) may conduct or transact business in Virginia under a fictitious name, the person must file a certificate of assumed or fictitious name in the Office of the Clerk of the Commission on a form prescribed by the Commission. The statutes that govern conducting business in Virginia under a fictitious name are §§ 59.1-69 – 59.1-76 of the Code of Virginia.

The fee for filing a copy of the certificate with the Commission is $10. Checks should be made payable to "State Corporation Commission."

When a fictitious name certificate is filed, the Commission issues only a receipt for payment of the filing fee. Upon request and payment of the requisite fee, however, the Clerk's Office will provide a Commission-certified copy of the certificate of assumed or fictitious name or a certificate of fact stating that a fictitious name certificate has been filed with the Commission for a particular individual or entity. Contact the Clerk's Office for more information.

Yes. As of January 1, 2020, the Clerk's Office of the State Corporation Commission is the central filing office in Virginia for all certificates of assumed or fictitious name.

An individual or business, legal, or commercial entity that conducts or transacts business under an assumed or a fictitious name without making the required filing is subject to being convicted of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500 or confinement in jail for not more than one year, or both. See § 59.1-75 of the Code of Virginia.

In addition, the person is precluded from maintaining an action in any courts of the Commonwealth. See § 59.1-76 of the Code of Virginia.

No. The Commission does not have authority to determine who has the right to use a fictitious name. Consequently, the Commission does not have authority to reject a new business entity formation document or name change amendment on the ground that the prospective business entity name is in conflict with a fictitious name of record with the Commission.

Furthermore, the Commission does not have the authority to reject a certificate of assumed or fictitious name on the ground that the fictitious name in the certificate is in conflict with a fictitious name that is already of record with the Commission. This is a complex area of law and persons with such questions are advised to consult with an attorney.

For information regarding the availability of a business entity name, see Business Entity Names FAQs.

Yes. When a person is no longer conducting business in Virginia under an assumed or fictitious name on file in the Clerk’s Office of the Commission, the name may be released by filing a certificate of release in the Office of the Clerk.

In addition, when a person is no longer conducting business in Virginia under an assumed or fictitious name on file with a circuit court, the name may be released by filing a certificate of release with the clerk of the court.

The fee to file a certificate of release with the Clerk’s Office of the Commission or the clerk of a circuit court is $10.00.