How to Form an LLC in Florida
To start an LLC in Florida, you must file Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $125 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Florida LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Florida LLC Guide:
Florida LLC Filing Options
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Florida LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Florida LLC Articles of Organization Requirements
To form a Florida LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Florida LLC names must contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC.” Most companies go with “LLC.”
This is the main business office of your corporation and where you’ll receive mail (besides legal notifications). It must be a street address, so no PO boxes. Want to keep things simple with one address? When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Florida address as your principal address.
List either an individual Florida resident (such as yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service (such as Northwest). Your agent will need to sign your Articles. You’ll also need to include the Florida address where your registered agent will be regularly available to accept legal notifications for your business. Hire Northwest, and our address go here instead of yours.
This section asks for the names and addresses of each person authorized to manage and control the company. This means you’ll need to list each manager (if manager-managed) and member.
If you don’t want your LLC activated until a later date, simply fill in the date on which you want your LLC activated. If you leave this section blank, your LLC will be active once the Division of Corporations processes your filing.
A member (or authorized representative of a member) must print and sign the Articles. We’ll be your authorized representative when you hire Northwest to form your Florida LLC.
How much does it cost to start a Florida LLC?
The Division of Corporations charges a $125 filing fee for Florida LLC Articles of Organization.
Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $350. That includes state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, and loads of forms and tools to help get your business up and running.
How long does it take to start a Florida LLC?
Florida LLC filing times vary depending on your filing method. Online filings will be approved within 11 business days, and you’ll get an email when it’s done. If you file a hard copy by mail, however, it may take more than a week.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Florida LLC formed within 11 business days.
Does a Florida LLC need a registered agent?
Yes. On the Articles of Organization, you must designate a Florida registered agent. You can either choose an individual agent (such as yourself) or a business (like Northwest). So what’s the difference?
Being your own registered agent can save you a few dollars each year, but it will cost you in other ways—namely in privacy and availability. All the information you list in your Articles and other Florida business filings is public—including names and addresses. This means your information would be free for the taking for data sellers, competitors and general busybodies. Also, the responsibility of a registered agent is to be available during business hours to accept legal notifications. Considering that business doesn’t just take place in the office, this can put a damper on your ability to run your business how you want. You don’t want to risk missing a process server while you’re off meeting investors or running errands for your business.
Avoid these headaches when you hire Northwest. We’re a commercial registered agent service—and your registered agent needs are the heart of our business. We list our address in your Articles so you don’t have to worry about junk mail and unwanted visitors on your doorstep. We accept, scan and send service of process the same day, so you can run your business on the go (or even just at the beach).
Create the Florida LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Absolutely. Technically speaking, there’s no law saying you have to have one, but forgoing an operating agreement is a recipe for disaster. Operating agreements aren’t public filings, like Articles of Organization, which is why you don’t have to file them with any Florida agency. Instead, operating agreements are private documents—and the most critical internal documents of your Florida LLC.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Your operating agreement sets the terms for your business. It puts into writing who owns the business. It lists how much each person invested. It explains how profits and losses will be allocated. It spells out what happens in worst-case scenarios, from infighting to shutting down the LLC. Even if you’re the only person in your LLC, you’ll still find you need an operating agreement. Taking the time to write one puts you in the position to carefully consider these major decisions for your Florida LLC. And despite being an internal document, outside people and businesses will need your operating agreement as well. Banks will ask for one when you go to open an account or take on debt. Potential investors and partners will want to see it as well. And the last thing you want to do is rush through these kinds of huge decisions on the spot after someone asks to see your agreement.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
Not on your own. At Northwest, we give you a solid foundation with a free operating agreement—specific to your management style—when you hire us to form your Florida LLC. We also give out free resolutions, free membership certificates, and more. We’re proud of our forms at Northwest. We were the first website to hand out free LLC forms, and we’ve spent years refining them to make them better and better. Over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form their businesses. Take a look:
Get a Florida LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Your Florida LLC is required to get a federal tax ID if you want to hire employees or file certain federal excise taxes. You’ll also find that as you start your business, you’ll be asked for your EIN over and over again. Just to open a bank account, you’ll likely need your EIN. To register for business permits and licenses, you typically need your EIN. To file local taxes, you usually need one. Even vendors will request it when you go to establish credit. In some of these cases, you can use your personal social security number instead—but why risk your personal information when you don’t have to? EINs are free from the IRS.
Can’t bear to fill out one more application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you when you sign up for our services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Florida LLC
To open a bank account for your Florida LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Florida LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Florida LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Florida LLC need a business license?
Yes. Florida Statute §205.053 states that businesses must obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt before engaging in any business in Florida. The tax (formerly called an Occupational License) is administered on the county level. Tax costs vary based on the type of business and number of employees but are often under $100.
File Florida LLC Reports
What is a Florida LLC Annual Report?
Your Florida LLC Annual Report is a form you file with the Division of Corporations each year to ensure the state stays current on your LLC’s ownership and contact information. The report and $138.75 fee are due by May 1st each year in order to maintain an “active” status with the Department of State. This is not a financial statement; the report is simply a way for the state to maintain current records on all business entities. If you submit your report late, however, be prepared for some sticker shock—the late fee is a staggering $400.
Avoid late fees and penalties with Northwest as your registered agent. We’ll send you report reminders to help you stay in compliance. Or for $100 plus state fees, we can file your Annual Report on behalf of your Florida LLC.
How much does an LLC in Florida cost each year?
At least $138.75 (the fee for filing the state’s Florida LLC Annual Report).
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Florida LLC taxes?
If you have a business in Florida, you’re probably already aware that Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t have a personal net income tax. While this doesn’t eliminate local or federal tax obligations, it’s definitely a great perk of a Florida LLC.
The state sales tax rate is 6%. Florida counties can tack on additional sales taxes of up to 2%. For instance, the total sales tax rate in Miami-Date County, Palm Beach County and Hillsborough County is 7%. It’s slightly lower in Orange County (6.5%) and Broward County (6%).