Start a Business in Florida
Starting a business in Florida is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Florida Department of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.
One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."
Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Florida business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.
How to Start a Business in Florida
You file articles of incorporation for a Florida corporation or articles of organization for a Florida LLC with the FL Department of State.
You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Florida showing your approved Florida business.
Opening a business banking account under your new Florida business name should be easy with these two items.
You register your Florida LLC with the Florida Department of Revenue or Florida Department of Employment & Labor if you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax.
You obtain a state trade license, if you actually need one. Most businesses don’t, but if you do, these quick links and contact details for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation are in your online account.
Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t.
You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.
If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.
If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.
Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer?
You Can Save Some Money:
If you want to start a business in Florida yourself, you can just hire us as your Florida registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Florida LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Florida corporation or form a Florida LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Florida registered agent service.START YOUR FLORIDA BUSINESS TODAY
Florida LLC vs Corporation
The corporation business structure is very appealing for anyone seeking to build a large, growing company with the option of attracting investors. LLCs, on the other hand, are more suited for small business owners who want to take advantage of the flexible management options and minimal annual upkeep.
But, what about Florida? Any pros and cons for a Florida LLC vs a Florida corporation?
Although there are a few differences in fees and taxes, the positives and negatives of starting either type of entity are pretty even. The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $125, whereas the Articles of Incorporation is only $70—giving LLCs a small disadvantage. However, LLCs will only pay $138.75 to submit their annual report, while corporations must pay $150. In addition, LLCs aren’t required to fulfill corporate formalities such as annual shareholder meetings.
When choosing between a Florida LLC and corporation, asset protection is another point to consider. In Florida, multi-member LLCs have stronger asset protection than corporations. Creditors have a variety of options for collecting debts from corporations. Creditors issued a charging order against a multi-member LLC, however, can only place a lien and have no power to force the LLC to dissolve or make distributions. Single-member LLCs, on the other hand, have much less protection—in a worst-case scenario, creditors can take over the LLC and dissolve it or sell it off.
During tax season, both entities will reap some benefits. Unlike other states, Florida does not impose businesses with capital gains taxes or annual franchise taxes. Plus, there’s no state personal income tax, meaning LLCs taxed as S corps or partnerships—won’t get taxed on the state level. C corporations will pay a fixed rate of 4.458%, minus any relevant exemptions OR a 3.3% alternative minimum tax—whichever is greater. However, the first $50,000 of your income will be exempt from Florida’s corporate tax.
If you want a FL corporation, you file Florida Articles of Incorporation:
It will cost $100 to file the articles of incorporation with the FL Department of State, plus a $25 minimum franchise tax fee.
We custom draft your articles of incorporation for a Florida corporation when you hire Northwest to start your Florida business. The basic requirements of Florida corporations are:
- The Florida Corporation must have a corporate ending such as Inc., Incorporated, Corporation or a different variety
- The Florida corporation name must be different than already registered Florida corporations
- The number of shares the Florida Corporation is authorized to issue
- The corporations principal address (this must be a street address, you may use a PO Box as the mailing address)
- You only need to state a specific purpose if you are forming a professional corporation
- Naming the Florida corporations officers and directors is optional
- The name and office address of the registered agent in Florida
- The name, address, and signature of the incorporator(s)
Florida technically requires original signatures on your Florida incorporation filing. The truth is that nobody in the office rejects a filing for lack of an original ink signature. Once they file your articles of incorporation, they will return the filing to the address on your coversheet.
Start Your Florida Business!GET STARTED
If you want a Florida LLC, you file Florida articles of organization:
- The business name must have an LLC ending or variation of it
- The Florida company name must be different than already registered Florida companies
- The Florida LLC’s principal address (must be a physical address, but you may use a PO Box as the mailing address)
- The name and address of each manager or managing member
- The Florida registered agent name and the physical address
- The articles of organization must be signed by a member or authorized representative
- The articles are effective when filed, unless you state a different date
Technically, Florida requires original signatures on new FL LLC filings. In reality, they don’t reject filings for not having the original ink signature. Your filing will be returned to the mailing address on the coversheet.