Free guide to forming a Florida corporation
What you need to start a Florida corporation:
- Articles of Incorporation
- $70 filing fee (includes $35 designation of registered agent fee)
- Corporate bylaws (you should know how your corporation will be structured before filing)
Things to know before incorporating in Florida:
How long will Florida take to form my corporation?
1 to 2 days if you file online
1 to 2 weeks if you file by mail
How much does it cost to form a Florida corporation?
Annual reports cost $150. These reports are filed online with the Division of Corporations on May 1st of each year.
Step 1: File the Articles of Incorporation
You can file online, in person, or by mail using a paper form. You will need to include the following information to complete the articles of incorporation:
- Begin by completing a free business name search to find an available name for your corporation. You do not need to reserve the name prior to filing.
- You can file with our free Articles of Incorporation or the form provided by the State of Florida on their website. Start by filling in the reserved name of your corporation.
- List the corporation’s principal address and mailing address, if different.
- Provide the general purpose for which the Florida corporation is organized. A concise sentence or two about the corporation's business will be adequate.
- The number of shares your corporation will initially issue. Use a number that is easily divisible, like 1000, or a similar number.
- The names and addresses of the initial directors and/or officers.
- Name, address, and signature of your Florida registered agent. If you've hired Northwest as your registered agent in Florida, we will provide you with this information.
- The name(s) and address(es) of the corporation’s initial director(s).
- The signature of the incorporator—this is the fancy name for the person filling out the Articles of Incorporation.
Step 2: Adopt your corporate bylaws
Corporate bylaws are the document that governs how the corporation operates. They do not need to be filed or sent anywhere, but at your first board of directors meeting, one of the first items on the agenda should be to adopt the bylaws. You can draft your own or use our free bylaws template.
Step 3: Obtain an EIN
Once you’ve received your Articles of Incorporation from the Department of State, your Florida corporation has technically been formed—but there are a couple things you need to do to make sure it remains active in its first year. First, you need to get an EIN.
Employer Identification Numbers (EINs or FEINs) are like Social Security Numbers for businesses. Once your LLC has been formed with the State, you’ll need to contact the IRS and apply for your EIN. You can apply on the IRS website and receive your number instantly, or you can file form SS-4 to get an EIN for your LLC.
Step 4: File your annual report
All Florida businesses need to file their Florida annual report by May 1st each year. Your first report will be due on the following May 1. So, if you formed your corporation on April 30th your annual report will be due the next day. The cost is $150 to file the report.
Step 5: Run your business
With your Florida corporation now up and running, you need to focus on running your business. To do so, you’ll likely need to do things like open a bank account in your corporation's name, obtain city and county licenses, or receive zoning approval from your city. To learn how to do these things and more, visit our starting a Florida business page for more information.