Learn the Benefits of an LLC

There are many benefits to setting up an LLC in Florida. LLCs not only have more tax options, but they also offer decreased liability, reduced record keeping, and sharing of profits. They are simpler to set up and maintain, with much simpler rules and regulations. There is decidedly less registration paperwork and lower-costing startup expenses. The cost to start an LLC in Florida is not as high as it is for a Florida C corp or Florida S corp.

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Decreased Liability
An LLC separates your personal assets from any business decisions made or actions undertaken by the LLC
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Reduced Record Keeping
When compared to a corporation structure, an LLC has less registration paperwork and startup expenses
profit
Sharing of Profits
LLC members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity, and they must determine for themselves what percentage of the profits/losses goes to whom.

But is an LLC the right business structure for you? Some business types come with suggested business structures. For instance, many small business lawyers recommend you create an LLC in FL for an e-commerce business. Why? With e-commerce businesses, products fall under product liability statutes. This means that anyone involved in the sale and distribution of the product could be held liable—even if the problem lies with the manufacturer. An LLC provides you with limited liability in case you are sued by creating a separate and distinct legal entity and isolating business assets from your assets. Therefore, compensation can only be taken from the LLC’s assets, not your personal assets.

Why is an LLC a good idea for an e-commerce Business?

If there is an issue with a product, an LLC protects you. Compensation can only be taken from the LLC’s assets, not your personal assets.

Start Your LLC Now
transporter

Besides protecting you and your assets, creating an LLC provides a business owner with more options for federal tax purposes.

  • For instance, if an LLC has only one owner, it’s referred to as a single-member LLC or SMLLC.. Owners have the option of being taxed as a Sole Proprietorship, an S Corporation, or a C Corporation.
  • If an LLC has more than one owner, it’s categorized as a multiple-member LLC. Owners have the option of being taxed as a Partnership, an S Corporation, or a C Corporation.

An advantage to having an FL LLC with multiple members is that the members decide how to report profits and losses for tax purposes and have several options as to how they prefer to be taxed.

For federal tax purposes, if you’re the sole member of an LLC, your business is treated as a disregarded entity. This means that although you and your business are separate entities, the SMLLC’s income and expenses are reported on the owner’s personal tax return rather than an SMLLC tax return, and the IRS ignores the SMLLC’s status as a business entity. However, for purposes of employment tax and certain excise taxes, an SMLLC is still considered a separate entity. The way a sole proprietorship is taxed is the IRS’ default option for a Single Member LLC in Florida.

In contrast, a corporation only has two choices: Florida S corporation or C corporation.. A business operated as a sole proprietorship or a partnership also doesn’t have an option as to how it will be taxed.

For those wanting to open an LLC in Florida, the best part is the fact that it combines the liability protection of a C Corporation with the tax treatment of any of the above business entities. Plus, it is easier to set up than a corporation

But Florida LLCs have a few disadvantages. If LLC owners do not choose to file for a tax status as a corporation, individual members pay high self-employment taxes. Also, if business owners decide they may want to take the company public and sell stock, a Florida LLC does not permit this (unless you file as an S corp in Florida). Despite these disadvantages, creating an LLC for your startup business is usually recommended. It is well worth it to protect your personal assets and simplify the process of starting an LLC in Florida.

In addition, there are different types of LLCs in Florida, such as a Florida foreign LLC, anonymous LLC Florida, series LLC in Florida, as well as Florida professional limited liability company--some of which were discussed in Florida’s New Revised LLC Act.

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Learn the Benefits of an LLC

For most folks looking to start a business in Florida, the best type of company to form is what's known as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Run a business
  • Hold assets (such as office equipment/real estate)
  • Open a bank account
  • Enter into contracts

Assign Member Roles

Now it’s the time to decide whether you will run this business on your own or with another member’s or organization’s assistance, how small or large you intend for your team to be, and which duties each member will have.

There are two types of LLC management structures:
  • Member-managed LLC - Member-managed LLC - These may consist of single or multiple members. Each member plays an active role in the management and operation of the business and has the authority to make decisions to bind the LLC. This is ideal if the business is small, has limited resources, and all members have management skills.
  • Manager-managed LLC - These may consist of single or multiple members, but members must relinquish the authority to the manager and cannot interfere with the manager's operational decisions. This is ideal if your business is too large or complex to efficiently allow the sharing of management duties among all members, or if some of your members do not have management skills.

Member-managed LLC

All members can make authoritative decisions.

Works best when:

  • business is small
  • has limited resources
  • all members are skilled
manager
manager

Member-managed LLC

Only the manager can make authoritative decisions.

Works best when:

  • business is too large/complex
  • not all members are skilled

If you know your LLC will have employees, you also know that you will have to pay them. Plus, you will need to figure out the amount you should deduct from their wages for tax purposes. Employees will need to fill out a W-4 Form, and you will need to give them pay stubs with their tax information. Before this all gets overwhelming, keep in mind that we offer Payroll, Tax and HR compliance solutions with our partner, ADP.. We make it easy to pay your employees, track time, and file taxes effortlessly. Plus, you and your employees can view and update payroll information via an app--accessible anywhere, anytime, backed by 24/7 live customer service support.

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Assign Member Roles

Now it’s the time to decide whether you will run this business on your own or with another member’s or organization’s assistance, how small or large you intend for your team to be, and which duties each member will have.

Decide on a Registered Agent or Office

Next, figure out who the Registered Agent or Office for the LLC should be. The State of Florida LLC registration process requires every LLC in the state to have one. This enables the state to ensure the delivery of legal mail and that court documents can be tracked appropriately. The Registered Agent will also act as the contact point between the Florida Secretary of State and LLC. Once you assign someone as your Registered Agent or Office, they can receive official correspondence and documents on behalf of your business.

A Registered Agent can be either an individual who is a resident of Florida or a business entity or office that is authorized to conduct business in the state (but not your own business). This can be you or someone else within your company, but keep in mind that this person will be through whom the state has contact with your business. This agent will receive legal documents (known as “Service of Process”) that pertain to your business. You are legally required to have one.

Generally speaking, the Florida LLC Registered Agent requirements are:
  • Possess a physical street address located in Florida (no P.O. Box address).
  • Be available during regular business hours, typically Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Although the most comfortable option for a Registered Agent would be to name yourself, a friend, or a family member, know that this information will be public record. Not only will the Florida LLC information be searchable on the state’s LLC website, it can also be republished on other sites as well. If you work from home and would much rather keep your home address private, this might not be the best choice. An alternative you can look into is hiring a Florida Registered Agent LLC Service. We also offer a Registered Agent Service for a small charge that you can include as an add-on to your shopping cart.

Any changes to the Registered Agent or Office need to be submitted to the Florida Division of Corp. The changes would have to made on this form.

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Decide on a Registered Agent or Office

Next, figure out who the Registered Agent or Office for the LLC should be. The State of Florida LLC registration process requires every LLC in the state to have one.

Submit Your Articles
of Organization

While establishing an LLC in Florida, you will need to register your Florida Limited Liability Company by submitting what is called the Articles of Organization--a type of State of Florida LLC registration form. The Articles of Organization are filed with the Secretary of State for Florida LLC registration. The form includes information such as the LLC's name and address, the Registered Agent’s information, whether the LLC is run by managers or members, etc. If you also have a Florida Limited Liability Operating Agreement form written out, you would include a copy of it with the Articles of Organization in your records. Submitting your Articles of Organization is one of the Florida LLC filing requirements and the Articles of Organization is one of the most important State of Florida LLC forms you will need to file.

When filing your Florida LLC application, there are usually non-refundable fees (Florida LLC registration cost) that you have to pay with check or money order, additional fees for hand-delivery of Florida LLC forms, and long wait times whether in person or by mail--especially if you’re filing for an LLC in Florida during peak season. GovDocFiling can speed up the process for you. We can help you form a Florida LLC online, offer you expedited pricing, and give you a free business start-up guide and resources with all filings. You can apply here today.

Once your completed Articles of Organization Florida LLC form is accepted, congratulations! Your company now exists as a recognized legal entity that is authorized to conduct business within the State of Florida.

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Submit Your Articles of Organization

While establishing an LLC in Florida, you will need to register your Florida Limited Liability Company by submitting what is called the Articles of Organization--a type of State of Florida LLC registration form. The Articles of Organization are filed with the Secretary of State for Florida LLC registration.

Obtain an Employer
Identification Number

The next part to filing an LLC in Florida is getting an EIN. Your LLC will need to file with the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a nine-digit number assigned to businesses for tax filing and reporting purposes that allows the IRS to identify the taxpayer. (Note: you do not need an SSN to apply for an EIN, so international applicants are welcome.) Corporations, partnerships, and LLCs require an EIN, while sole proprietors do not. Instead, sole proprietors can use their Social Security Number, but that is not recommended as that exposes you to potential identity theft/fraud. In any case, it is a good idea to obtain one in case the company grows or for banking purposes.

Fortunately, you do not have to waste time dealing with the IRS on your own. Going through the IRS directly to get your EIN can be complicated, confusing, and frustrating. GovDocFiling alleviates the angst and aggravation of Florida business filing with the government, including applying for an EIN, or Tax ID number. Plus, GovDocFiling has one low price for same-day processing and delivery of your EIN (other Tax ID filing services charge more than $300 for same-day service!). Easily apply for your EIN/Tax ID online here. In addition, if you have any questions about obtaining an EIN or how to set up a Florida LLC online, we offer 24/7 email and phone support to help you through the process. Emails are answered quickly at info@govdocfiling.com.

Once you designate how you prefer to be taxed, that decision must remain in effect for five years before being changed without approval from the IRS.

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Obtain an Employer Identification Number

The next part to filing an LLC in Florida is getting an EIN. Your LLC will need to file with the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a nine-digit number assigned to businesses for tax filing and reporting purposes that allows the IRS to identify the taxpayer.

Fill Out an Operating
Agreement

The next step in becoming an LLC in Florida is to create a business contract that holds members to their assigned responsibilities. An LLC Operating Agreement in Florida is a legal document that determines the financial and working relationships among business owners, members, and managers. Member duties would be explained and “what if” scenarios would be covered (such as what happens if a member leaves the LLC). If you do not have an Operating Agreement set up for your business, when something unforeseeable happens, it will be up to the state to decide how to proceed justly, and this may not be what you want.

While it is not a necessary part of a Florida LLC registration to have an Operating Agreement, it is still extremely important to have one in order to protect your business. You can have a lawyer look over your Florida LLC Operating Agreement prior to submitting it. Get the legal advice you need to protect you and familiarize yourself with Florida LLC law with our partner, Rocket Lawyer. Your company is responsible for maintaining copies of the Operating Agreement, as well as any Florida LLC amendment that may be necessary down the road.

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Fill Out an Operating Agreement

The next step in becoming an LLC in Florida is to create a business contract that holds members to their assigned responsibilities. An LLC Operating Agreement in Florida is a legal document that determines the financial and working relationships among business owners, members, and managers.

Familiarize Yourself with the
State’s Taxes and Licenses

Income from pass-through entities such as a Florida Limited Liability Company and Florida S corp “pass through” the business to the owners, who are required to report this information on their personal tax returns. Each individual LLC member will then have to pay taxes on his or her share of the LLC’s income. The LLC itself does not pay federal income taxes, but some states do charge the LLC other various taxes. For example, employers owe payroll tax on employees wages. Plus, there is a sales and use tax in Florida with a rate of 6% that can go up to 8.5% with local taxes. You can find more information about state LLC taxes on the Florida Department of Revenue website. Good news for prospective LLC owners in Florida: there is no state income tax.

In addition, there may be extra fees for certain insurances, permits, and licenses, depending on the state’s laws and the type of business you own. For example, you may need worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, building permits, etc. Most Florida business licenses for skilled trades can be found on the Florida Department of State website. Find out the LLC Florida requirements regarding insurances, permits, or licenses you might need to obtain before you begin operating your business. Keep in mind that different cities or counties may require certain permits and licenses that other regions do not. Contact your city or county to request more information.

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Familiarize Yourself with the State’s Taxes and Licenses

Income from pass-through entities such as a Florida Limited Liability Company and Florida S corp “pass through” the business to the owners, who are required to report this information on their personal tax returns.

File an Annual Report

Like most states, the State of Florida requires all LLC owners to file an Annual Report. It is due on or before May 1 of each year, along with a fee of $150. The FL filing fee must be paid when you file. All reports must be filed online with the State of Florida Division of Corporations. If you don’t file or pay the FL Div of Corp on time, there is a $400 late fee. Filing an Annual Report is necessary for maintaining an active status after starting a business in Florida. Not filing an Annual Report or paying the fee will result in the State of Florida assuming you have an inactive LLC in Florida. This means that you will be presented a Florida LLC dissolution form, after which the state will dissolve your business.

The statement can be rather complex–requiring the deciphering of gross receipts, dividends, interest, losses, and all Florida LLC fees–and you should seek the help of an accountant to ensure that it is filled out properly. Our partner, Bench, will provide you with a team of accountants to help you with your franchise tax reports, as well as general bookkeeping services with monthly financial statements and intuitive software to monitor your business profits and expenses.

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File an Annual Report

Like most states, the State of Florida requires all LLC owners to file an Annual Report. It is due on or before May 1 of each year, along with a fee of $150.

Raise Funds for Your LLC

You may want to start a free LLC in Florida, or at least a cheap LLC in Florida, but you can’t start a business with zero capital. There are legal fees, the Florida LLC filing fee, taxes, employees to pay if you are not an SMLLC, as well as the general Florida LLC cost of operating a business. Some of the most commonly-used options for obtaining funding for your LLC are:

  • Personal savings and assets
  • Informal loans from family and friends
  • Peer-to-peer lending sites or crowdfunding
  • Conventional bank loan
  • Short-term credit card loans
  • Government-sponsored grants/loan programs
  • Adding LLC owners
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Personal Saving/Assets

Use your own savings, liquidate your assets, refinance your home, borrow your Roth IRA, etc.

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Informal Loans From Family/Friends

Ask friends or family members if they would be willing to invest in your business.

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Peer-to-Peer Landing Sites

LLC members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity, and they must determine for themselves what percentage of the profits/losses goes to whom.

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Conventional Bank Loan

LLC members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity, and they must determine for themselves what percentage of the profits/losses goes to whom.

Many new LLC owners begin with their savings to fund their new business venture. If your savings are not enough, you may need to look into liquidating your personal assets or use them as collateral for loans. Can you sell your property or refinance your home? Do you have a retirement account such as a Traditional or Roth IRA? Usually, you can withdraw contributions you made to your IRA anytime, tax- and penalty-free, but that is not always the case. Find out what kind of fees your particular retirement plan will hit you with before using your IRA to fund your business.

Next, look into whether you know someone who shares your passion for your business and has the ability to contribute financially to your dream. These personal connections may want to support your startup idea. Although accepting an informal loan from a close friend or relative may feel safe, you should still protect yourself in case your relationship with the friend or family member goes sour. Have an official contract drawn up that all parties agree to. You can choose to have it notarized and have witnesses present for extra protection.

If you prefer not to borrow from friends and family, you can turn to a peer-to-peer (P2P) or social lending website. A P2P site is a place where investors seek out alternative opportunities to invest outside of stocks and bonds. You can apply for a loan and investors can decide whether or not they wish to fund your proposed business through interest-based loans. You can also look into crowdfunding, which is a way for small businesses or startups to raise money online through donations. These options typically require the ability to promote your business well, ensure complete transparency of where the funds go, and sometimes, the possibility of giving up ownership of a piece of your business. Make sure you look into all of the specifics.

You might be hoping to rely on a conventional loan from a bank, credit union or other lending institution for your main source of funds. In this case, you would need a formal business plan to present during your loan application process. If approved, you would be required to sign a legal contract, or a Promissory Note, outlining your obligations to the lender (which would primarily entail regular payments until the loan is paid off). If you are a first-time business owner, it is likely that you may be rejected initially. In that case, you can improve your application and reapply, or look into alternative sources of funding such as short-term financing via credit cards.

Using a credit card as a means of obtaining a fast and easy business loan would grant you use of immediate funds without the hassle and paperwork of loan applications or business plans. This is the best option for a brand new business, and we work with Nav to give our customers access to the credit they need. Visit our financing page and fill out the form for more information.

There are many credit cards that have low or no annual fees, low introductory interest rates, and other rewards depending on your spending. But be careful: make sure you pay back your credit card before the promotional low interest rate expires and skyrockets, or prior to having to pay large annual fees. And don’t make large purchases that can take years to pay back. For example, getting an equipment loan to purchase a piece of equipment is smarter than putting it on a credit card. Credit cards can be a good temporary solution if your business plan will allow you to pay back the debt quickly.

Another option at your disposal is a government-sponsored grant or loan program. Traditional lenders can turn to federal, state, or local governments to finance their business if such a grant or program is available. Typically, these programs consider sponsoring specific type of businesses or certain business owners, so be sure to research what government-sponsored loan your particular business or you might be eligible for.

Lastly, you can invite new members to your team. If you could see your businesses strategy succeeding with a partner or multiple partners, pool together your financial resources with another member to support your startup. An advantage to this funding option is your partner(s) may come with their own social network of business contacts and possibly even their own potential investors. To protect yourself, you can adjust your Florida Operating Agreement and ensure that you are still the primary owner of the LLC.

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Raise Funds for Your LLC

You may want to start a free LLC in Florida, or at least a cheap LLC in Florida, but you can’t start a business with zero capital. There are legal fees, the Florida LLC filing fee, taxes, employees to pay if you are not an SMLLC, as well as the general Florida LLC cost of operating a business.

Create a Business Website

While forming an LLC in Florida, you might want to look into getting your business online. Creating a website for your new LLC in Florida is not one of the Florida LLC formation requirements, but it is recommended to any business owner operating in the modern world. An online presence is important to have and maintain in order to ensure that your customers trust your company and know they will receive good customer service. Having a website gives your business legitimacy; your customers will visit your website and see that you are a real company with an actual website where they can read about the company’s origin and products/services and access contact information. Being able to read up on a company on their website leads to trust between a consumer and an organization. Also, dependable customer service is often offered through a website. By offering an email address, a contact form, and/or live chat with a representative on your website, you are making it easy for a customer to get connected with someone knowledgeable about the product/service. That allows a customer to know that there is a real person who cares about their satisfaction within the company that they are doing business with.

Start LLC formation

If the website is outdated or there is no website, a consumer may feel that you are not a legitimate business but a scam with no licenses to back up your business’ operations. You can avoid losing customers due to not having a professional website by ensuring that you have one. We work with GoNorth Websites to provide new businesses with high quality, cost-effective websites. Find out more about our custom designed, written, and developed websites, plus optional internet marketing add-ons that help you grow your business.

But websites needs maintenance too. You can’t simply have one created and never update it throughout the years. Policies and terms change, companies grow, products/services improve, and all of that (and more) can be reflected on the website. This keeps your customers up-to-date and offers a personal touch that is valued by any consumer.

In addition, you can look into having a blog or utilizing social media as another means of keeping your customers in-the-know and offering them a way to interact with your company. An online and/or social media presence can also lead to responsive customers who can offer you feedback on how you’re doing—plus, it’ll help get your company’s name out there.

If this all sounds like more than you’d like to deal with on your own, know that you can hire someone to maintain your website and social media presence for you—just like you can hire customer representatives to handle all correspondence. You can employ a web agency to monitor your website and/or a social media marketing agency to manage your social media campaign. A social media campaign is a coordinated marketing plan that can assist you with your business goals, which translates into extra advertising for your new business. Marketing your company can help you have a more profitable business and can aid you with paying back your business loans quicker—something any business owner aims for. Regardless of industry, all businesses should consider having a website as part of the first steps of starting a business.

T The Benefits of Having an Online Presence
benefis_hand
You will show your customers that you are a legitimate business and build trust.
benefis_message
Your company will be easy to correspond with and you can provide good, responsive customer service.
benefis_calendar
Your customers will be kept up-to-date on all exciting news related to your business.

If you’ve decided that you want to have a website for your business, keep a few things in mind. When coming up with a website name, make sure that the domain contains your business name and is easy to type and remember for future visits. If you come up with a great web domain that you’d like to use for your business but you don’t plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.

While brainstorming website URLs for your website, you’re going to either realize that you already know what your business is going to be named or that you have no idea what or how to name your business. Here are a few quick Florida LLC name requirements:

  • Follow LLC naming guidelines. Make sure that the name of your business ends with the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “LLC.” It’s also important not to use any words or phrases that will make it easy for someone to mistake your company for a federal agency; think “State Department.”
  • Find a unique name. If you’re getting an LLC in Florida you will need an original name that is not in use by another LLC. To check if a name has already been taken, you can search the Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, and Trademarks database.
  • Make sure it is available as a web domain. This way, you can find out if another company outside of Florida has a business with the same name. In that case, think of something more original.
liability
Decreased Liability
An LLC separates your personal assets from any business decisions made or actions undertaken by the LLC.
keeping
Reduced Record Keeping
When compared to a corporation structure, an LLC has less registration paperwork and startup expenses.
profit
Sharing of Profits
LLC members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity, and they must determine for themselves what percentage of the profits/losses goes to whom.
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Create a Business Website

While forming an LLC in Florida, you might want to look into getting your business online. Creating a website for your new LLC in Florida is not one of the Florida LLC formation requirements, but it is recommended to any business owner operating in the modern world.

Begin Operating Your Business

Once you register an LLC in Florida, make sure to keep your LLC compliant. To do so, keep track of all important dates, such as those for filing annual documents and license/permit renewals, and pay all necessary Florida LLC formation fees. If you’d rather not do these tasks yourself, you can sign up for a service that will automatically send you alerts ahead of crucial state and federal filing deadlines. Likewise, you can hire an accountant, a tax professional, and/or an attorney to ensure you are not making errors when keeping records, filling out paperwork, and making payments.

You can begin operating your LLC company in Florida with peace of mind, knowing that you are protected by an LLC in case anything unforeseeable affects your new business venture.

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Begin Operating Your Business

Once you register an LLC in Florida, make sure to keep your LLC compliant. To do so, keep track of all important dates, such as those for filing annual documents and license/permit renewals, and pay all necessary Florida LLC formation fees.