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.
Hire Northwest to form your Florida LLC and get a free FL business address and free mail forwarding included. Plus, all of our services come with Privacy by Default® and local Corporate Guides® to help you navigate the Florida business world.
Everything You Need to Know About Florida LLCs:
Florida LLC Formation Options
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How to Start an LLC in Florida
To start an LLC in Florida, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Division of Corporations. You can file the document online, by mail, or in person. The articles cost $125 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates
your Florida LLC.
According to Florida Statute § 607.0501, every Florida LLC must appoint and maintain a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit Florida’s Division of Corporations Entity Name Records and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Florida Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Florida LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Florida LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. And for the cheapest way to start a business? Pay just $37 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. Cover Letter
When you file by mail, a cover letter should accompany the articles. The letter should include your LLC’s name; the name, address, and email where return documents should be sent; and a phone number.
2. LLC Name
Florida LLC names must contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC.” The name cannot currently be in use in the state of Florida.
3. Principal Office
Basically, what they’re looking for here is the address where non-legal mail can be sent. A street address is required, though a different mailing address can be included as well. Want to maintain some address privacy? When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Florida address as your principal office address.
4. Registered Agent, Address, and Signature
Your Florida registered agent can be 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, which indicates that they accept the registered agent appointment. You’ll also need to include the Florida street address where your registered agent will be available to accept legal notifications for your business. Hire Northwest, and our address goes here.
5. LLC Management
This section is optional. To maintain some privacy, you may choose to skip it entirely, as it asks for the names and addresses of each person authorized to manage and control the company. If you choose to fill out this section, and your LLC is manager-managed, you’ll list each manager. If your LLC is member-managed, you’ll list each member. Hire Northwest and you can list our business address here instead of personal home or office addresses.
6. Effective Date
If you don’t want your LLC activated until a later date (up to 90 days in the future), simply write the date on which you want your LLC activated. Why delay? Maybe you’re filing articles in December 2021. If you delay the start date until January 2022, you wouldn’t have to file your LLC’s first annual report until January 2023. That said, most companies will want to start immediately. If you leave this section blank, your LLC will be active once the Division of Corporations processes your filing.
7. Additional Provisions
This is optional. But, if you wanted to include additional information such as your LLC’s purpose, that would go here.
A member (or authorized representative of a member) must sign and print their name. When you hire Northwest to form your Florida LLC, we’ll sign and submit your articles on your behalf.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Florida LLC?
Professionals in Florida hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. We have an office in St. Petersburg, FL. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Division of Corporations. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our St. Petersburg registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Miami, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Florida. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Florida LLC Is Formed?
After your Florida Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does a Florida LLC need an EIN?
Most likely. You’ll need an EIN if you have employees and you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Florida LLC?
Florida doesn’t legally require an operating agreement. While FL Stat § 605.0105 lays out the scope of an operating agreement, it does not state the requirement of one.
That said, an operating agreement isn’t just annoying paperwork. It’s one of your LLC’s most important internal documents, and creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events from mergers to dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
Profits, losses, and distributions
Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
Transfer of membership interest
Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Florida law. Topics not allowed to be changed in the operating agreement are listed in FL Stat § 605.0105, which forbids actions such as exonerating a person who knowingly broke the law, or restricting the rights of those other than members or managers.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my 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 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. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Florida laws.
File Florida Reports & Taxes
Florida LLCs are required to file a state report each year. This report is basically an information update you file so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Florida LLCs should also be aware of Florida’s tax requirements.
How much is the Florida Annual Report fee?
The fee for the Florida LLC Annual Report is $138.75. The real killer is the late fee. If your report is late—at all—you’re stuck with a $400 penalty.
When is the Florida Annual Report due?
Your Florida Annual Report is due between January 1 and May 1. Fail to file by the third week of September, and your business will be subject to administrative dissolution.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Florida LLC taxes?
Florida is one of the few states without a personal income tax. This is good news for your LLC. Since LLCs are defaulted to be taxed at the personal level, your business is essentially free from a Florida income tax perspective.
Though it doesn’t have a personal income tax, Florida does have a 6% general sales tax. Florida cities don’t levy additional sales tax, though some counties do. The highest possible sales tax rate in the state is 8.5% in Balm, though the state’s average is 6.982%.
With its relatively forgiving tax laws—at least as they relate to LLCs—Florida can be a good place to start your company. At Northwest, we can form your Florida LLC for as low as $350. Or, pay just $37 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Florida Department Of Revenue?
Sometimes. It depends on if your business is engaged in activities that come with a tax or fee, or if you’ll be responsible for collecting taxes. For example, if you’ll be selling taxable goods and services, you’ll need to register with the Department of Revenue as a sales and use tax dealer. The Florida Business Tax Application can be submitted online or by mail.
Florida LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Florida LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Florida articles online, by mail, or in person. In-person filings must be delivered to 2415 N Monroe St., Suite 810, Tallahassee, FL 32302. Mailed filings must be submitted to the following address:
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
How much does it cost to start a Florida LLC?
The filing fee for your Florida LLC Articles of Organization is $125.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $350, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Florida LLC up and running. Or, pay just $37 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Florida LLC?
Online filings generally take about a week to process. For mailed filings, plan on 1-2 weeks. While Florida does not offer expedited filing services, if you hand-deliver your articles, they can sometimes be completed while you wait.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your expedited Florida LLC formed within 8 days.
Does a Florida LLC need a business license?
Most likely. While there is not a state-level general business license requirement in Florida, counties issue business licenses instead. These licenses are called Local Business Tax Receipts (formerly called Occupational Licenses). FL Stat § 205.053 states that businesses must obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt—if they are required to do so—before engaging in any business in Florida. (Some counties may not have the business tax receipt requirement, though most do.)
The fees vary by business type, location, and sometimes other variants such as the size of the business or the number of employees it has. An assisted living facility in Miami-Dade County, for example, must pay $150 if it’s in a city, or $250 if it’s located in an unincorporated area. Additionally, cities may issue their own licensing requirements. A Miami business is required to obtain both a county AND city Business Tax Receipt, for example.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can a Florida LLC help me live more privately?
Yes, a Florida LLC is a strong tool for helping you reduce your public footprint. For instance, you can maintain a significant degree of address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Florida LLC?
A foreign Florida LLC is any LLC formed outside of Florida but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Georgia but wanted to conduct business in Florida as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Florida by filing an Application for Authorization to Transact Business with the Florida Division of Corporations. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Florida annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Florida LLC for you today!
What can I do if I need Florida mail forwarding?
Whether you have a home-based business and need a professional address, travel often, or simply want to keep your personal information off public records, your LLC can benefit from mail forwarding. At Northwest, we include limited mail forwarding with our registered agent and formation services. For more robust needs, we also offer unlimited mail forwarding with a unique suite number as part of our premium Florida mail forwarding service.
How can I get a Florida phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Florida LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $37 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Florida Articles of Organization and send them to the Division of Corporations for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Florida Division of Corporations has approved your filing, we notify you that your Florida LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.