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 an LLC in Florida, 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 form 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. You’ll need to find a name that isn’t taken by any other Florida business and follows Florida’s rules for naming LLCs, including having a “designator” like “LLC” at the end of the name.
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:
Name your LLC
Enter your desired business name to get started
Appoint a registered agent. Every LLC is required to designate a registered agent. In essence, a registered agent can be an individual or a business entrusted with the responsibility of receiving legal notices and official correspondence on behalf of your business.
If you’re not familiar with registered agents, here’s a quick breakdown of what they are:
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.
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.
Our registered agent service, which is simple to get when you start your LLC with us, offers:
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, through their Sunbiz website. But if you’re not a Sunbizinite and need some human help, we can handle the filing for you.
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 business 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 help 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. After your Florida LLC is established, it’s advisable to create an operating agreement. While not mandatory, this document is highly recommended as it serves to set the operational foundation for your organization. An operating agreement defines the purpose of your LLC and outlines the responsibilities and roles of each member. Beyond the legal requirements, crafting an operating agreement showcases your commitment to establishing a distinct business entity with its own separate assets, reinforcing the delineation between your personal finances and the affairs of your LLC.
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.
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 EIN service.
Creating a dedicated business bank account for your Florida LLC stands as a pivotal step in ensuring effective financial management. Once you have your EIN from the IRS, you gain the eligibility to establish this account, distinctly segregating your company’s finances from your personal ones. This financial separation serves multiple crucial purposes. First, it simplifies your financial record-keeping and accounting processes by establishing a clear line between your LLC’s income and expenses and your personal financial matters. This segregation reduces the risk of commingling funds, a practice that can lead to legal and tax complications down the road.
Moreover, having a separate account ensures the accuracy of your financial reporting, a vital component of tax compliance. When tax season arrives, you can easily track income, expenses, and deductions specific to your business, maximizing tax benefits while minimizing the potential for errors or omissions on your tax returns.
Additionally, maintaining a dedicated business bank account enhances the limited liability protection of an LLC. It solidifies the legal distinction between you as an individual and your LLC as a separate legal entity. In the event of legal disputes or financial challenges faced by your LLC, this separation helps shield your personal assets from being entangled in business-related liabilities. In essence, opening a business bank account for your Florida LLC is more than just a prudent practice — it’s a fundamental necessity for sound financial management, legal protection, and the overall prosperity of your business venture. It offers the structure and clarity needed to manage your finances effectively, ensuring that your LLC operates smoothly while safeguarding your personal assets and improving your tax efficiency.
We offer 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.
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.
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.
In Florida, it’s a legal requirement for every LLC to submit an annual report to the state. Unlike financial reports, this filing doesn’t involve complex financial details; instead, it serves as a means to review and update essential information about your company. The cost for filing your LLC’s annual report with the state is $138.75. It’s crucial to complete this process to ensure your business stays compliant with state regulations, sidestep any potential late filing penalties, and maintain your legal standing, allowing your business to continue operating smoothly within the state.
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.
So you’ve established your LLC in Florida? Congratulations! But forming the LLC is just the beginning. The Sunshine State offers a multitude of opportunities, and to make the most of them, here are the actionable steps to take next:
When starting an LLC in Florida, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is a crucial step to ensure your business operates legally and smoothly. The specific licenses and permits required can vary widely based on the nature of your business and its location. To help you navigate this process effectively, it’s essential to research and comply with the regulations set forth by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other relevant state and local authorities.
Here are some examples of licenses and permits that might be required for different types of businesses operating as an LLC in Florida:
To identify the specific licenses and permits your Florida LLC needs, it’s advisable to consult with your local municipality and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Additionally, consider seeking legal counsel or professional advice tailored to your industry to ensure full compliance with all applicable regulations. Keep in mind that requirements may change over time, so staying up to date on licensing and permitting requirements is crucial for your LLC’s ongoing operations.
If you’re selling goods or certain services, you’ll need to collect sales tax. Register with the Florida Department of Revenue to get your Sales Tax Certificate. Remember, places like Miami are shopping hotspots, so be sure you’re compliant!
Insurance is a vital asset for any LLC, providing essential protection for both business and personal assets. While an LLC shields personal assets from most business liabilities, insurance offers an additional layer of security against unforeseen events. Common types of insurance for an LLC include general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial property insurance, commercial auto insurance, cyber liability insurance, product liability insurance, umbrella insurance, business interruption insurance, and key person insurance. Each of these policies serves to mitigate various risks, ensuring that your LLC can navigate challenges, safeguard against financial setbacks, and continue operations even in adverse circumstances. Tailoring insurance coverage to your business’s unique needs and consulting with insurance professionals is essential to ensure comprehensive protection.
Got a unique business name or logo? Make sure no one else in Florida can use it by registering a trademark with the Florida Department of State. This could help if you’re trying to build a brand in competitive areas like Orlando’s tech scene.
Think local! Sponsor a community event in St. Petersburg, run ads in local Florida magazines, or collaborate with other Florida-based businesses for promotions. Understand your target demographic, whether it’s tourists flocking to Disney World or locals in Tallahassee.
Florida requires LLCs to file an annual report. It’s a simple process but essential to keep your LLC in good standing. Make a note of the deadline to avoid any late fees.
Navigating post-formation steps can feel overwhelming, but with the right guidance and a bit of Sunshine State spirit, you can set your Florida LLC up for success. Each step helps ensure you’re not just operating legally but also tapping into the state’s vast potential.
Starting a business in the Sunshine State? Florida’s warm beaches and thriving cities are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s why setting up an LLC in Florida can be a bright idea for entrepreneurs:
Just as Florida’s mangroves shield its coasts from storms, an LLC in Florida protects your personal assets. If your LLC faces debts or legal issues, your personal belongings, like your home or car, aren’t at risk.
The Sunshine State shines bright when it comes to taxes. Florida LLCs aren’t subjected to a state income tax, meaning more money in your pocket. Plus, the pass-through taxation means profits and losses go directly to members without being taxed at the corporate level first.
Florida is known for its relaxed vibes, and its approach to LLCs is no different. There’s no stringent hierarchy or corporate formalities. You can run your LLC in a way that suits your business style and needs.
Operating as an LLC in bustling hubs like Miami or Tampa can give your business an added layer of professionalism. Clients and partners often find LLCs more trustworthy and reliable.
The state of Florida, with its business-friendly environment, often streamlines the process of acquiring necessary permits and licenses. This makes setting up shop in places like Orlando or Jacksonville a breeze.
From the tourist hotspots of Orlando to the tech startups in Gainesville, Florida offers a wide array of industries and markets to tap into. An LLC is your ticket to this versatile business arena.
Embracing the benefits of an LLC in Florida can be your key to unlocking the vast opportunities that this state offers. Whether you’re into hospitality, technology, or agriculture, Florida’s business environment is as welcoming as its sunny shores.
Sun-kissed beaches, vibrant cities, and an ever-growing business landscape define the Sunshine State. If you’re thinking of riding the entrepreneurial wave in Florida, there are several LLC types tailored to different needs.
Florida’s allure attracts many solo dreamers. If you’re one of them, setting up a single-member LLC could be your ticket. Imagine running a beachfront café or a solo IT consultancy in Tampa. With this structure, you take charge as the sole owner, while also enjoying the liability shield that LLCs offer.
Starting a beach resort with college buddies? Or perhaps a family-owned restaurant in Little Havana? A multi-member LLC is perfect when two or more people are joining forces. It helps ensure each member’s input is valued while splitting profits, losses, and responsibilities according to the agreed terms.
A professional limited liability company (PLLC) is a business entity made for licensed professionals, such as doctors, engineers, etc. Its primary purpose is to provide liability protection, similar to a regular LLC, while also meeting professional licensing requirements. Note that a PLLC does not shield its members from personal malpractice claims. It can, however, protect the members from malpractice claims against the other members.
As you embark on the journey of establishing an LLC in Florida, it’s imperative to grasp the array of tax responsibilities your business will encounter, encompassing both federal and state levels. Florida LLCs have the flexibility to select their preferred tax treatment, a choice that can significantly affect financial outcomes. Here’s an insightful overview of the key tax considerations for your Florida LLC:
Pass-Through Taxation: By default, a Florida LLC operates as a pass-through entity for federal tax purposes. In essence, the LLC itself doesn’t incur federal income taxes. Instead, profits and losses are distributed proportionally to individual members, who then report these figures on their personal tax returns. This approach streamlines the tax process and prevents the “double taxation” that a typical corporation pays, in which profits are taxed twice, at the business level and again on the individual owner level.
Self-Employment Taxes: Members of your LLC are generally subject to self-employment taxes, covering Social Security and Medicare contributions, on their share of business income.
Florida Income Tax: Florida doesn’t impose a state income tax on individuals. This represents a considerable advantage for LLCs operating in the state.
Sales and Use Tax: Depending on your business activities, your Florida LLC may need to collect and remit sales and use taxes on taxable goods and services sold within the state. The rates and regulations can vary, so it’s crucial to comprehend the specific requirements applicable to your industry.
Reemployment (Unemployment) Tax: If your LLC has employees, you’ll be responsible for paying reemployment taxes, which fund the state’s unemployment compensation system. The tax rate and wage base can fluctuate from year to year.
Communication Services Tax: If your LLC provides communication services, such as telecommunication or cable services, you may be subject to the Communication Services Tax. This tax covers revenue generated from such services.
Local Taxes: In addition to state taxes, keep in mind that there may be local taxes imposed by your county or municipality. These could encompass local sales taxes, property taxes, or other assessments. Always consult your local taxing authority for precise information on applicable local taxes.
This isn’t a comprehensive list; there may be additional state taxes your LLC will be responsible for.
Partnership Taxation (Default): As mentioned earlier, this is the default tax status for an LLC. It allows income and losses to pass through to individual members, avoiding double taxation. It’s the most common choice for LLCs.
S Corporation Taxation: LLCs can elect to be treated as an S corporation for federal tax purposes. This election can be advantageous for LLCs with substantial income, as it may reduce self-employment taxes. However, it comes with specific eligibility requirements and restrictions on ownership.
C Corporation Taxation: While less common, an LLC can choose to be taxed as a C corporation. This option may be suitable for businesses looking to reinvest profits. C corporations also offer the widest range of tax deductions. However, C corporations are subject to double taxation — once at the corporate level and again at the individual level when dividends are distributed to shareholders.
Choosing the right tax structure for your Florida LLC is a significant decision that can impact your financial responsibilities and benefits. It’s wise to consult with a tax professional or accountant to assess your specific circumstances, evaluate the pros and cons of each tax election, and determine the most tax-efficient approach for your LLC’s success. Understanding your tax obligations and options is essential for maintaining compliance and optimizing your LLC’s financial health.
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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 Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule and lowest prices for filing.
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’re wanting to do business in 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. You can learn more about how these methods of taxation compare on our LLC vs. S corporation and LLC vs. C corporation pages.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information 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.
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