Florida Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Florida, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost $70 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Florida corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Florida Corporation Guide:
- Choose your Florida corporation filing option
- Submit the Florida Articles of Incorporation
- Create Florida corporate bylaws
- Get a Federal EIN from the IRS
- Open a corporate bank account
- Obtain any required business licenses
- File the Florida Corporation Annual Report
- Pay taxes on the corporation’s income
Florida Corporation Filing Options
Free PDF Download
Florida Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
Do It Yourself Online
Our free account and tools will walk you through starting and maintaining a Florida corporation. All for free.
5 Day Florida Corporation
Includes registered agent service, bylaws & more.$295 Total
Florida Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Florida corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” or an abbreviation for one of these words. (Professional associations have different naming requirements and must include “Chartered,” “P.A.,“ or “Professional Association.”) Tip: Most businesses keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
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.
It sounds existential, but your “purpose” here is really just the business activities your corporation plans to engage in. This section is optional for most corporations. However, professional corporations (businesses providing state-licensed services, like doctors and lawyers) need to list a single specific service, such as “practicing medicine.” Tip: Most corporations are not professional corporations and are free to skip this section.
List the number of shares you want to create. You have to list at least one. Some or all of these shares can be distributed later on at your organizational meeting.
You can choose to list the names and addresses of directors and officers. This is entirely optional though, and any information included in your Articles of Incorporation will become part of the permanent public record of your Florida corporation.
This is the Florida street address where your registered agent will be regularly available to accept legal notifications for your business. Tip: Hire Northwest and our address will go here (and you can avoid the data sellers and busybodies that come with publicly listing your own address).
Include the name and signature of either an individual Florida resident (such as yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service (such as Northwest). Tip: Personally, we’re fans of Northwest.
Your incorporator is the person who signs and submits your Articles to create your Florida corporation. It doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in your corporation—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Your incorporator must include their name, address and signature. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest.
Want to push off the start date for your corporation (for example, maybe the next tax period is just about to start)? You can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future. If you skip this section, your corporation’s start date will be the filing date. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
How much does it cost to start a Florida corporation?
The Division of Corporations charges $70 in filing fees to submit your Articles of Incorporation.
Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $295. That includes state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service and all the documents you need to open a corporate bank account.
How long does it take to start a Florida corporation?
File online and you’ll receive confirmation of your approval in your email within about 5 business days. Print and mail your Articles of Incorporation, however, and you can expect a longer wait time to receive confirmation of your approval by mail.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Florida corporation formed within 5 business days.
Does a Florida corporation need a registered agent?
Absolutely. You’ll have to list a Florida registered agent in your Articles of Incorporation and confirm that you’ve maintained a registered agent every year on your Annual Report. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire someone though. You could appoint yourself as your own registered agent—although this comes with a few substantial drawbacks. You’d have to put your name and the address where you’ll be available in your all-too-public business documents, like your Articles of Incorporation. Say goodbye to privacy and hello to junk mail. Even more annoying? You’ll have to actually BE available at the address you listed during regular business hours to accept any service of process. Not out wooing investors. Not locked away in meetings.
A better option? Hire Northwest Registered Agent. Our address will go on your docs, so you can better maintain your privacy. We’ll also be available to accept, scan and send you any legal notifications the same day.
Create Bylaws for Your Florida Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
The State of Florida doesn’t require you to submit bylaws to any department or agency. That said, bylaws are absolutely essential for organizing your Florida corporation.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
There’s a lot to figure out when you first start your corporation. Who will be on the board of directors? How long will they be there? How will you replace them? How many directors are needed to pass a resolution? What about officers—who will they be? What responsibilities will they have? Will you have different classes of shares? Will they have different voting rights? These are all decisions you make and put in your corporate bylaws. And once your bylaws have been adopted, people outside your Florida corporation will want to see them as well. You often need bylaws to open a corporate bank account or even just to assure potential investors or partners that you are a legitimate business that has it all together.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Developing bylaws can be overwhelming—but Northwest has you covered. When you hire us to form your Florida corporation, we give you free corporate bylaws. We give you other free essential forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We even have a form specifically for a resolution to open a corporate bank account (in case you encounter a particularly stodgy bank teller that insists upon a resolution granting you power to open an account). We’ve spent years refining and developing our forms to make it easier for our clients to do what they’re meant to do—run their businesses, not agonize over paperwork. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Florida Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes. The IRS requires corporations to get a federal tax ID (also called an EIN or FEIN) to use on federal tax filings. Your federal tax ID is actually pretty useful though—for a lot more than just taxes. Florida banking regulations are pretty strict, so to open a corporate bank account, you’ll almost certainly need your EIN. Your business may also be asked for your EIN when filing local taxes or applying for licenses or permits. You could hand over your personal SS# instead, but that just puts your personal info unnecessarily at risk. You can get an EIN for free if you fill out an application directly with the IRS.
Want to save yourself some extra paperwork? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you—just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Florida Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Florida corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Florida corporation’s bylaws
- The Florida corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate 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 corporation 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 Corporation Reports
What is a Florida Annual Report?
Your Florida Annual Report is a form you submit to the Division of Corporations each year to update or confirm your Florida corporation’s contact and ownership information. The report and $150 fee are due May 1st each year. Forget to file? You’ll be hit with a FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR late fee. Yikes.
No worries though—when you hire Northwest as your registered agent, we’ll send you report reminders to help ensure you stay in compliance (and avoid extravagant late fees). Or, avoid this annoying report entirely and hire us to file your Florida Annual Report for you each year.
How much does a corporation in Florida cost each year?
$150. This is the filing fee for the mandatory Florida Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Florida corporation?
Florida has a corporate net income tax with a flat rate of 5.5%. The first $50K of income is exempt.
Have an S corporation? Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t have a personal net income tax, typically eliminating your state-level income tax obligations (not that you won’t have other taxes, but no state income tax is a pretty nice perk).
The state sales tax rate is 6%. Florida counties can tack on additional sales taxes of up to 2%, making the average total sales tax rate 6.774%.