Florida LLC

How To Start an LLC in Florida

While many people associate Florida primarily with sunshine and amusement parks, it is also a great place to start a business. Florida is home to nearly three million small businesses, with many more opening each month. There are many advantages to forming an LLC, including limited personal liability, less administrative hassle, and flexibility in sharing profits. Here is everything you need to know about starting an LLC in Florida.

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Step 1

Choose a Unique Name

The first step in forming an LLC in Florida is choosing a unique name. Like in many other U.S. states, your name must be different from any other business registered with the Division of Corporations. This requirement is in place to prevent confusion among business owners, government entities, and customers.

If you choose to form an LLC, your business name must end with LLC, L.L.C, or Limited Liability Company. Licensed professionals such as lawyers, architects, and accountants can choose to form a professional limited liability company. These types of businesses must end with Professional Limited Liability Company or PLLC. You can choose pretty much any name for your company as long as it is unique. However, Florida regulations prohibit LLC names from referencing financial institutions, banks, or federal government entities.

Before selecting your name, it is essential to see if any other registered businesses are using the name. You can perform an entity search by visiting the Florida Division of Corporations’ website. Most states allow you to reserve a business name while you prepare your official formation documents. However, Florida does not allow name reservations. Thus, you should submit your formation documents as soon as possible to ensure another entity does not choose the name.

Keep in mind that Florida business authorities do not check names for trademark compliance. You should work with a business lawyer to ensure your chosen name does not conflict with the name rights of any other company.

Step 2

Select an LLC Florida Registered Agent

When starting an LLC in Florida, you must designate a registered agent to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. This agent can be an individual or an entity. Any company with an active Florida filing may serve as your agent. Your LLC cannot serve as its own registered agent, but an individual or owner associated with the business can serve as the resident agent.

Any business that operates in Florida must name a registered agent that will accept legal and official mail on the business’s behalf. A registered agent for a Florida LLC can be an individual or a company. They will notify you if your business is served papers from the government or a local courthouse. Whether your agent is an entity or business, a physical street address in Florida is required. P.O boxes are not acceptable.

Step 3

Obtain an LLC Florida Business License

Unlike other states, Florida does not require a business license to start an LLC. Thus, you do not need a license to operate legally. However, certain occupations require extensive training, and therefore a business license is needed. These occupations include:

  • Lawyers
  • Medical professionals
  • Accountants or tax professionals
  • Construction-related professionals
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Real estate professionals
  • Security professionals

You should check with the Florida Division of Corporations to see if your LLC requires a specific license to conduct business. The fines for doing business without a license are stiff, so it is essential to do your research before opening.

For most small businesses in Florida, the U.S. government does not require any specific licenses. However, the federal government regulates some activities, and therefore a federal permit is needed. You may need a license if you operate in one of these sectors:

  • Sale or distribution of alcohol
  • Agriculture
  • Aviation
  • Sale or distribution of firearms or ammunition
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Maritime activities

This is not a comprehensive list of LLCs that require a federal license. It is essential to do your research before opening your business to ensure you are operating lawfully. Further, any LLC in Florida that sells taxable products or services must register with the Florida Department of Revenue. You must collect tax and forward the collected tax to the state regularly. You must also file state sales tax returns.

Step 4

File Articles of Organization

Perhaps the most important step in starting an LLC in Florida is filing your articles of organization. This document establishes your company’s authority to operate as an LLC in the state. You can access a documentation template on the Division of Corporations’ website. You can file the documents online for faster processing or submit them via mail. The Florida LLC cost to file this form is $125. Your articles of organization must include the following information:

  • Business name and principal business address
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • Signature of registered agent or entity representative
  • Names and addresses of company members
  • Effective date of the LLC opening
  • Name and address of the LLC’s manager, if designated as manager-managed
  • Signature of paperwork’s preparer

LLCs formed in another state but wanting to operate in Florida must submit a different form called Qualification of Foreign LLC. LLCs that fill out this form are known as foreign LLCs. The Florida LLC cost to file this form is $125. You should include a certificate of good standing from your formation state with the form.

Step 5

Create the Company’s Operating Agreement

Some states require all businesses to file an operating agreement with the formation paperwork. While Florida does not require this document, experts recommend creating and adopting a written operating agreement. An operating agreement establishes how your LLC functions and how disagreements between members are resolved.  All operating agreements should include the following information:

  • Purpose of the LLC and all services and products offered
  • Names and physical addresses of all members
  • The value of each member’s initial contribution to the LLC
  • Each member’s voting rights and ownership stake
  • The process for electing a new manager if the LLC is manager-managed
  • Meeting schedule of the LLC
  • Dissolution process and terms

Many new business owners hire a business attorney to help them create an operating agreement. Many online legal services also provide affordable templates for operating agreements. After you get your paperwork, ensure each member signs it and keeps a copy for their records.

Step 6

Choose Your Tax Preferences

All LLC owners have choices when it comes to how they want their LLCs taxed. LLCs can designate themselves as a pass-through entity or corporation for tax purposes. If you choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, your LLC does not need to file separate tax forms. Rather, each LLC member reports business earnings and losses on their personal tax forms. However, if you decide to register as a corporation, your business must file federal corporate taxes and business taxes each year. Florida has no state income taxes, so you do not need to file state returns.

For federal taxes, LLC members or managers need to pay 15.3% in self-employment taxes. This amount covers Medicare and Social Security obligations. If your LLC employs workers, you must also withhold federal Social Security and Medicare taxes from their paychecks. Further, all LLCs must pay federal and state unemployment taxes.

Step 7

Obtain an EIN

LLCs in Florida with multiple owners or employees, in addition to those taxed as corporations, need to obtain an employer identification number. This number is unique to your business and is used to identify your LLC when you file federal business taxes. All numbers obtained from the IRS are free. You can apply for this number online. Further, you need an EIN if you want to apply for business financing such as lines of credit or credit cards.

Step 8

Fulfill Florida Employer Obligations

Florida LLCs with employees need to follow additional steps. These steps include:

  • Report workers: Under federal and Florida state law, LLCs must report all new hires within 20 days of their initial hire date. Companies that fail to report new workers promptly are subject to penalties.
  • Pay unemployment taxes: All new Florida LLCs with employees must pay a payroll tax of 2.7% to pay for state unemployment insurance. This amount only applies to the first $7,000 in wages. LLCs that have been in business for a few years will pay a different rate depending on the number of employees on their payroll.
  • Buy workers’ compensation insurance: In most Florida business sectors, employers must buy workers’ compensation insurance if they have more than four employees.

This is not a comprehensive list of all employer requirements. Large employers have more extensive laws they must follow. You may want to work with an attorney specializing in employment law if you intend to hire employees.

Step 9

File Annual Reports

Florida is one of the few U.S. states that does not charge state income taxes. Thus, Florida LLC business owners do not need to pay any state taxes on their profits. This tax break is a significant advantage for those new to business in Florida.

Some U.S. states, including Florida, require LLCs to file an annual report to remain in good standing. The purpose of the report is to keep the government up to date on your business dealings and to update your business information on file. You must file your report before May to avoid a late penalty. If not filed by September, you could lose the authorization to conduct business in Florida. Each report should come with the correct Florida LLC cost, which is currently $138.75. You may want to have a business attorney create your annual report on your behalf.

How To Remain Compliant

Once your business is up and running, you have continued obligations with the state and federal governments to keep it going. It can be challenging to keep up with all the requirements, but it’s a necessary part of running your own company.

Pay the Annual Franchise Tax

The single biggest LLC California cost you have to pay when setting up your business is the annual franchise tax. Regardless of how much money your company makes, you must pay $800 every year to the California Franchise Tax Board. Even if your business is inactive, the state requires you to pay this tax until you cancel your LLC. Your first payment is due on the 15th day of the fourth month after you file your Articles of Organization. Every year after that, your payment is due on this same date.

Pay the LLC Fee

If you expect that your company will do more than $250,000 in business, you will also pay an annual LLC fee to the Franchise Tax Board. The amount you pay is based on your income estimate for the business.
Companies that bring in between $250,000 and $499,999 per year pay $900. Those that make $500,00 to $999,999 pay $2,500. If your business makes between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999, then you would pay $6,000. Any company making more than $5,000,000 pays $11,790. This fee is due on the 15th day of the sixth month of every tax year.

Pay All Taxes

Limited liability corporations have what is known as “pass-through” taxation for federal taxes. What this means is that you file your federal taxes for your LLC with your personal income taxes. In addition to federal taxes, you will need to pay state and municipal taxes.


An LLC is a limited liability corporation, a legal business structure that provides benefits that are similar to a corporation while offering business owners greater flexibility. Structuring your company as an LLC California protects your personal assets from business lawsuits. Limited liability corporations can have one or more owners.

No. Most LLCs operate under their legal company name, using it for all aspects of their business. However, if you want to conduct your business under a name that is different from your limited liability corporation name, you can register your DBA name.

Your registered agent can be anyone who is a legal resident in the state where your business is registered. It can be a friend or family member, someone who works for your company or yourself. You may also choose a registered agent company to serve this role.

It depends on how you file. The Secretary of State’s offices processes online and in-person Articles of Organization in three to five business days. Mail-in submissions have the slowest processing times. The SOS offers expedited services for an additional fee. It costs $500 for a pre-clearance four-hour turnaround, $750 for same-day service and $350 for a 24-hour turnaround.

A domestic limited liability corporation is one that is formed in California and does business in California. A foreign LLC is one that was formed in another state or country and registers to do business in California. The process and fees for registering a foreign LLC are the same as for a domestic LLC.

Where To Get Help With Filing Your LLC Florida Documents

At GovDocFiling, we make it our mission to help people begin a business and grow it to its full potential. We work to simplify the process of starting an LLC in Florida, so you can get on with the business of your business. File for your FREE articles of organization (you only pay filing fees) and get one free year of Registered Agent services with our partners at Inc Authority.

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