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Ready to start your Florida business as a limited liability company (LLC)? Now may be the time to do it. Starting an LLC in Florida can change your life. It can give you the freedom to work for yourself and still enjoy liability protection.
If you’re going to start a Florida LLC, there are certain steps you need to check off your list. Filing for your LLC correctly will save you time and money, so follow our step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC in Florida.
We also offer fast, reliable online formation services guaranteed. If the process of starting an LLC in Florida seems longer than a walk down 30A, let us handle it for you. We’ll help you start, run, and grow your business.
To form your new business in the Sunshine State, you need to register your Florida LLC with the Florida Division of Corporations.
Below, we’ll show you how to start an LLC in Florida. You’ll pick up other helpful tips along the way to help set up your LLC for success.
Note: This step-by-step Florida LLC guide is for starting a domestic LLC, which is one started within the state you’re residing in. A foreign LLC is one that originated in a different state. To register a foreign LLC in Florida, you complete a registration statement for a foreign LLC and follow a different process.
The first step is to name your LLC. Naming your LLC is one of the most important parts of starting your company. There are two sides to picking your business name: Legal and marketing. The marketing side of picking your name is more fun, but we’ll explain everything you need to know about naming your LLC in Florida.
Your business name is the first thing potential customers see. What impression do you want to make? This is your dream company, so its name should represent your company now and in the future.
Ideally, your business name will represent your company as it grows. But you can always change it or create a “fictitious” name if your business changes in the future. We’ll get to that later. First, come up with a list of names that you like and represent your company.
Don’t forget to have fun with naming your LLC. This is your company. You can name it just about anything you want. With that said, keep in mind there are LLC naming rules to follow in Florida. You likely won’t be surprised by any of the restrictions, but review them just in case:
Find the perfect Florida LLC Name
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Appoint a registered agent. Appointing a registered agent is a small but important detail as you register your LLC in Florida. Registered agents are required by Florida law for every business recognized by the state of Florida.
If you’re not familiar with registered agents, here’s a quick breakdown of what they are:
Registered agents are clearly an important part of LLCs.
The state of Florida has to be able to find your registered agent. If you’re acting as your own registered agent in Florida, that means you have to be available or you could incur fines.
This can happen pretty easily if you or your appointee isn’t in the office (for example, out of town, on vacation, sick, etc.) when they try to reach the agent. It can also happen if the agent moves or quits and you forget to update your paperwork with the state.
If your business fails to have or continuously maintain a registered agent, you’ll have to pay $500 for each year you don’t comply.
You can run into other issues as well, such as failing to be compliant and missing other information. For example, a process server may not be able to find you to notify you of a lawsuit. In that scenario, a court case against you could actually go forward without your knowledge.
Since every Florida LLC is required to have a registered agent, you can’t skip this step. Legally, you can serve as your own registered agent, appoint another person, or use a registered agent service.
Although you’re allowed to be your registered agent, there are some compelling reasons to use a registered agent service instead:
Either way, all registered agents in Florida need to be over the age of 18 and have a street address in the state. [/callout]
Our registered agent service, which is simple to get when you start your LLC with us, offers:
Get a registered agent in Florida. [/callout]
Keep in mind if you’re filing your LLC online, your registered agent needs to sign the documents electronically. In Florida, electronic signatures have the same effect as original signatures.
File your Articles of Organization with the state of Florida. Filing your Articles of Organization makes your LLC in Florida an official business in the eyes of the state.
To file your Articles of Organization, submit the information online with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.
When you file your information online, you’ll pay the fee with your credit card and complete everything online. An email confirmation will be sent to the email you provide.
Submitting your Articles of Organization is one of the most important steps in forming your LLC. Be sure to have the following information when submitting your information:
Want to know more about your Florida Articles of Organization? View our step-by-step guide on how to file your Florida Articles of Organization.
What if things change over time? Don’t worry. You don’t need to file your Articles of Organization again. To make most other changes to your Articles of Organization, you need to file Florida Articles of Amendment along with a fee.
Orders will be processed in the order in which they’re received. While processing times vary, the Florida Secretary of State typically handles submissions within 2 weeks. You can check updated processing times on their website.
Does the process of filing your Florida limited liability company seem daunting? We can help. Our fast, reliable LLC formation service guarantees quick filing with the state of Florida. We’ll file your Articles of Organization for you and ensure you stay compliant.
Additionally, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard if you form with us. You can keep your formation documents and other important paperwork digitally organized.
Next, you’ll want to create an operating agreement for your LLC. Limited liability company operating agreements are not required, but it’s a good idea to have one.
Florida LLC operating agreements cover the rules that your company will follow, how finances will be handled, the business structure, and how decisions will be made.
If you’re creating an LLC with other members (owners), each involved party will need to sign the document, formalizing their agreement to the terms. It may also be a good idea to have your LLC Agreement notarized.
Since Florida doesn’t require an LLC operating agreement, there’s no form to fill out and file with the Florida State Division of Corporations. If you’re unsure as to where to start, you may want to consider using one of our Florida customizable operating agreement templates.
Register your LLC with the federal government by getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). EINs are also known as Federal Tax Identification Numbers or Federal Employer Identification Numbers.
An EIN is not specific to Florida, it’s a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and acts like a Social Security number for your LLC.
Why should I apply for an EIN?
The IRS requires your LLC to have an EIN if it has more than one member or has employees. Most banks also require an EIN for opening a business bank account.
You can obtain your EIN through the IRS website, but we can handle it for you with our Tax EIN service.
Open a business bank account
Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a company bank account. Separating your company bank account and your personal banking is crucial for separating your business and personal finances at tax time.
We have a partnership with LendingClub that offers a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for online banking, unlimited transactions, a debit card, and more. And, when and if you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we also offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.
Register for Taxes: Starting an LLC in Florida
You need to register with the Florida Department of Revenue before you start conducting business in the state.
To get started, access the Florida Business Tax Application online (form DR-1). It asks a variety of questions that will assist you in identifying your tax responsibilities.
The LLC business structure allows for some flexibility when it comes to being taxed.
By default, an LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship if it has only one member or a partnership if it has multiple members. This appeals to most owners of LLCs because it avoids “double taxation,” in which a business pays taxes at both the business level and again when the income is paid to the individual owners. But some LLCs opt to be taxed as a C corporation or an S corporation because it works to their advantage.
Being taxed as a C corporation means double taxation exists, but, for certain LLCs, the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages. C corporations have the widest range of tax deductions, which could be an advantage in some scenarios. For example, insurance premiums can be written off as a business expense.
S corp is short for “Subchapter S Corporation” and is geared toward small businesses. Having your LLC taxed as an S corp has pass-through taxation like a standard LLC, but there’s another potential advantage: It could save you money on self-employment taxes.
It does this by allowing you to be an “employee-owner” and split your income into your salary and your share of the company’s profits. In this way, you pay self-employment taxes on your salary, but not your profits.
The drawback is that the Internal Revenue Service scrutinizes S corps very closely, meaning you’re more likely to get audited. S corps are also harder to qualify for.
While it’s possible that one of the above options could work better for your LLC, we don’t need to tell you that taxes are very complicated. They’re also very specific to your situation. That’s why you really need to consult a tax professional to see which taxing method works best for your LLC in Florida.
Looking for additional help with your Florida LLC finances? We offer an on-the-go business finance software called ZenBusiness Money. It gives you a central place for creating invoices, receiving payments, transferring money, and managing clients. Keep your LLC’s finances in one location and easily manage your money in one convenient location.
LLCs are required to file annual reports. Here’s what you need to know:
Don’t want to deal with your annual reports? Let us help by taking advantage of our Annual Report Service.
We can help
We offer fast, accurate Florida LLC formation online. Our services provide long-term business support to help you start, run, and grow your business when you create an LLC in Florida.
If starting an LLC in Florida feels like an uphill battle, we can reduce your stress. Let us take care of formation, compliance, and more. That way, you can get back to building your dream business, whether it’s an e-commerce business based out of Miami or a food truck in Orlando.
The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
Florida LLC FAQs
The state fees for forming an LLC in Florida range from $125 to $175, depending on factors such as whether you choose to get a fictitious business name. Because fees are subject to change, double check the SOS website for the most recent fee schedule.
LLCs aren’t the only type of business you can form in Florida. However, 90% of our customers choose to form an LLC over all other types. Compared to corporations, limited partnerships, and other forms of entities, LLCs come with enticing benefits.
Forming an LLC means you’ll reap the following benefits:
Personal asset protection: Your personal liability will be separate from your business liability and debts.
Avoid double taxation : You’ll only pay personal taxes rather than both personal and corporate taxes, as you would if you owned a C corporation.
Flexible management: Unlike corporations, you’re not required to have a board of directors or annual meetings.
Less reporting: Compared to corporations, LLCs have fewer required meetings and reports.
For a more in-depth look at why an LLC might be a better option for you, see our breakdown of what an LLC is and how it compares to a Florida corporation.
In addition to the benefits of an LLC, there are many benefits to choosing Florida as the home for your business, including:
No. A Florida operating agreement is kept internally by the owners and/or managers. While some states legally require LLCs to have such an agreement, Florida is not one.
The operating agreement acts as governance of your LLC, outlining the ownership and other members. To change ownership, you need to amend your agreement. Then, you’ll need to inform the state of the change by filing an amendment to the Articles of Organization or updating the information when you file your Florida annual report.
Your Florida LLC can do business in other states; however, you will likely need to register as a foreign LLC in whatever state(s) you choose. To register as a foreign LLC will require additional paperwork, which can vary depending on the state or states you are wanting to designate as a foreign LLC.
Changing the name of your Florida LLC is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is file the Articles of Amendment to Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. There’s a small fee for doing so.
When removing a member from your Florida LLC, you’ll first need to review your Articles of Organization and Florida LLC operating agreement, as these documents should outline how your business handles the removal of LLC members. You may need consent from specific members before removing another member.
Once the member has been voted out, you will need to amend your initial agreement or draft a new agreement to document the changes. When making these changes, if you’re replacing the member, ensure that you include the new member’s role, duties, responsibilities, distributions, allocations, and voting rights. You may also need to update the Articles of Organization by either filing an amendment to them with the state or updating the information when you file your annual report.
If you decide that the time has come to dissolve your limited liability company in Florida, the Florida Department of state division of corporations requires that you file an Articles of Dissolution form and the appropriate filing fee.
When filing the form, you will be required to pay a filing fee. Upon filing, allow two to three business days for your paperwork to be processed.
For more information, visit our Florida business dissolution guide.
This will depend on your LLC’s specific circumstances. Most LLCs elect the default tax status, meaning the owners are taxed at the state and federal levels only on their individual tax returns, and the LLC is not taxed as an entity.
But since Florida does not have a state income tax, the owner is only responsible for paying federal income taxes on their share of the business’s profits.
An LLC can also choose to be taxed as a corporation. This route has its advantages for some LLCs, but be sure to review each option’s details to determine the best one for your business, or consult a tax professional.
A Series LLC is a group of LLCs operating under one “parent” entity.
While each entity under the parent is considered independent, entrepreneurs are often attracted to the structure if they wish to create numerous companies to explore different avenues but not risk one’s success due to another’s liabilities.
However, only a few states have adopted Series LLC laws — none of which are Florida.
LLCs provide the benefit of avoiding “double taxation.” The business pays no federal income tax, instead passing the income straight through to the LLC’s owners.
Then, each business owner pays taxes on the earnings as regular income. This is unlike most corporations, in which profits are taxed twice, first at the business level and again at the individual shareholder level.
The IRS administers federal taxes based on each member’s share in the LLC. So, if you own 50% of an LLC and are entitled to 50% of the profits, the IRS will tax you on 50% of your LLC’s earnings.
Importantly, members might be required to pay self-employment tax to the IRS to make up for the fact that they don’t pay have an employer withholding taxes like those related to Medicare or Social Security from their paychecks.
The LLC tax structure can save business owners a significant amount of money compared to a traditional C corporation.
However, LLCs can elect to be taxed as a C corporation if they wish, subjecting owners to double taxation, though this can still be beneficial to certain LLCs.
Some LLCs elect to be taxed as an S corporation (S corp). The S corp classification has more restrictions and greater scrutiny from the IRS, but it can save members a lot in self-employment taxes. It also avoids the double taxation you would have from being taxed as a C corporation.
We have an S corp service to help you set up an LLC with S corporation status. But before you decide how to have your LLC taxed, we highly recommend consulting a tax professional.
Ultimately the IRS handles federal business taxes. They collect corporate taxes like self-employment tax and federal corporate income tax. For specific federal tax questions, you can reach out to the IRS.
State and Local Taxes
There are also tax benefits to starting a Florida LLC. Florida is one of the rare states that LLCs don’t pay state income tax. Only C corporations pay state income tax in Florida. LLCs, sole proprietors and partnerships are exempt from paying them at the state level.
There will be local tax considerations though. For example, Florida does collect sales and use tax, reemployment (unemployment) tax, communication services tax, and more. There will also be county and city tax considerations, which give you the right to operate in these local areas. Check with your local taxing authority to see all of your local tax responsibilities.
Florida also doesn’t require individuals to pay state income taxes, which means you as the business owner won’t be taxed on income that comes from the business to your pocket.
You will follow the same process when creating a professional limited liability company (PLLC) in Florida. However, you’ll specify that it’s a PLLC in the name by using Chartered, Professional Limited Liability Company, P.L.L.C. or PLLC.
Although Florida does not require a general business license, specific permits and licenses are required, depending on what industry you are in and where your business is located.
You’ll need to research what federal, state, and local licensing your Florida LLC needs.
Because there’s no one-stop shop for checking to see if you have every license and permit you’re legally required to have, this kind of research can be difficult.
Our business license report service can do the work for you by compiling a list of all the licensing your LLC needs to operate legally.
When it comes to insurance, the types of insurance required vary by how many employees you have and the industry you are in.
They can range from professional liability insurance to unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance.
You can find more information on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website. A qualified insurance agent should be able to help you determine what you need.
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