Included In All LLC Packages
- Verify Company Name Availability
- Preparation & Filing of Articles
- Next Business Day Processing
- Registered Agent Service (1st Year FREE)
- Lifetime Company Alerts
- Online Order Status Tracking
- Free Business Tax Consultation
- Lifetime Customer Support
- Online Access to incorporation Documents
Having Your business up and running in 3 easy steps.
Choose Your New Florida LLC
Using a professional can ensure you complete the process correctly in just minutes. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Paperwork Completed By a Professional
Your documents will be prepared by an industry professional and filed directly with the Secretary of State. Follow the process with an Online Order Tracking System.
Launch Your Business
With next business day processing you will receive notification your LLC is active as soon as it is approved by the State.
How to Start an LLC in Florida
In many cases, unprotected business owners can be required to use personal assets – a home, car, or money in investment accounts – to pay off debts and lawsuit settlements for their business. However, there is a much better way to do business, and it will also protect you and your personal assets. The best solution for protecting your personal assets while operating a Florida business is to register your company as a limited liability company, or LLC. At LLC Formations, we have the expertise and the available tools to help you form your Florida limited liability company.
Benefits of Forming an LLC in Florida
If you’re looking to start an LLC, Florida is one of the best states to do so. The term “limited liability” means that the member or members of the LLC are not responsible for the debt of the LLC, nor are they personally responsible if the LLC is involved in a lawsuit. This means that although creditors can sue the LLC, the owner’s personal property – cars, homes, personal investments – are all protected as long as the owner conducts business legally.
There are many benefits from doing business in the state of Florida besides asset protection. Operating your Florida business as an LLC also gives your business more credibility, prevents double taxation, and requires fewer regulations than a corporation.
Florida LLC members have some choice in how they are taxed. A Florida LLC may be taxed as a sole proprietor/single member, partnership, or corporation. Both the sole proprietorship and partnership options allow the owners to avoid being taxed twice because the income is reported on the individuals’ tax returns as income tax. If you operate your own business, you will be a single-member LLC, otherwise, you will be a multi-member LLC.
There are also fewer regulations at the start-up of an LLC than there are for corporations. Florida LLCs do not have to assign officer roles, hold yearly meetings or record meeting minutes. Also, the paperwork for starting a Florida LLC is fairly easy to complete, although it’s best to use an LLC formation professional to ensure that all of the paperwork and tax information is filled out correctly, especially if operating a multi-member Florida LLC.
In rankings of the best states in which to form an LLC, Florida consistently ranks in the top ten according to the Tax Foundation. Florida’s 0% income tax rate and its relatively low corporate tax rate of 5.5% contribute to its rank in the top ten places. In addition, Florida has a number of tax exemptions that benefit businesses, often leading to them paying no taxes at all. All of these factors combined make it ideal to form an LLC in Florida, and many people even choose to form a foreign LLC in Florida. However, if you are unsure of how to form an LLC in Florida, the team at LLC Formations can focus on the paperwork so you can focus on growing your business.
How to Form an LLC in Florida
So, if you believe it is in the best interest of your business to open your LLC in Florida, here are the steps for forming your Florida LLC. For each step of this process, LLC Formations provides a service to help streamline the process and to make sure that you receive up-to-date legal advice, tax advice, and filing services for all LLC business entities.
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The Steps to Forming Your Florida LLC
1. Name Your Florida LLC
Before you file your paperwork with the Florida Department of State, you will need a name for your Florida LLC that is both unique and distinguishable. The name of your Florida LLC must not closely resemble the names of other businesses in the state, nor can it violate any trademarks. You can check the Florida Division of Corporations website to see if your business name matches any names of current Florida businesses and the United States Patent and Trademark Office to see if your name contains any trademarked words or phrases.
Florida law requires that the name of your limited liability company includes the designation Limited Liability Company, LLC, or L.L.C. Naming guidelines also require that you do not include words that would lead others to confuse your business with a government agency, such as FBI, IRS, and Department of Defense. Your Florida LLC name also may not include words such as “insurance company” or “attorney,” which may require additional paperwork and license. For a complete list of non-distinguishable factors, please visit the Florida Division of Corporations FAQ page.
LLC Formations offers services that will help you name your company and obtain the rights to trademarks so you can successfully start your LLC in Florida.
2. Appoint a Florida Registered Agent
A registered agent is your Florida LLC’s main contact with the state of Florida when you form your Florida LLC. This authorized representative must be reliable and also must reside in the same state as the business entity. The registered agent is the responsible party selected to receive all legal documents and mailings: tax forms, service of process notices, government correspondence, lawsuit notifications, etc.
You can be the registered agent of your own Florida LLC or you can choose someone else to be your registered agent. In order to be a registered agent, an individual must be a resident with a legal address in the state in which the LLC is being formed. The agent must be at least 18 years old and be available to receive documents during regular business hours. If the registered agent is a company or a commercial registered agent, then the company must be registered in the state in which you are forming your LLC.
Although hiring a registered agent service will cost you money, there are several advantages to hiring a registered agent service to assist your Florida LLC. A commercial registered agent service allows LLC owners to protect their privacy by providing the listed address for the Florida LLC. If you use a registered agent service, then their address will be listed instead of yours. Since LLC addresses are public record, this could be something that is very important for business owners who want their personal information protected.
Additionally, hiring a registered agent service is convenient. If work, family, or travel ever takes you out of your office, then there is the chance that you will not be available to receive important mail, which can put your business at risk. If you hire a commercial registered agent, then you don’t have to worry about receiving important correspondences while you’re away.
A registered agent company also comes with the benefit of experience. A registered agent company will know the laws, know state deadlines for filing paperwork, and they will help you to comply with all laws, which will make it easier for you to expand your business.
LLC Formations offers registered agent services that can help you to find the right assistance for your specific type of business.
LLC Formations offers registered agent services that can help you to find the right registered agent for your business type.
3. File the Articles of Organization
Once you have a name and a registered agent, it is time to fill out and file your Florida LLC Articles of Organization. The Florida statutes governing the LLC Articles of Organization may be found on the Florida State Legislature’s Online Sunshine page.
You will need to have the following information on hand when you complete your Florida LLC Articles of Organization:
- The Limited Liability Company name
- The street address of your LLC’s principal office
- The LLC’s mailing address (if different from the principal office address)
- The name and address of your registered agent
- The names and street addresses of all authorized representatives and at least one signature
- The effective date for the LLC (up to five days before or 90 days after the receipt of application)
- A valid email address
- A method of payment for the $125 filing fee
- A decision about whether you want to order a certificate of status ($5) and/or a certified copy ($30).
You may choose one of the following methods to complete this application:
To file online, visit the Division of Corporations page for the correct forms and instructions. This option is the most convenient and the only way that you may pay for your filing fees with a credit card. Once your Articles of Organization have been approved by the Division of corporations, you will receive your confirmation letter via email at the address that you provided on your application. Save this confirmation as you will not receive a paper copy via mail.
File online with a professional: Get Started
If you prefer to file by mail, visit the Division of Corporations Start a Business page for the pdf version of correct forms and instructions. Complete the forms and mail them to the following address:
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
Payment for filing by mail must include either a check or money order made payable to the “Department of State.” Once your Articles of Organization have been approved by the Division of corporations, you will receive your confirmation letter via mail at the address that you provided on your application.
To file in person, visit the Division of Corporations Start a Business page for the pdf version of correct forms and instructions. Complete the forms and take them to the following address:
New Filing Section
2661 Executive Center Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Payment for filing in person must either be made by check or money order, made payable to the “Department of State.” You will receive your confirmation in person. Arriving before 4:30 p.m. to file your articles of organization should ensure that you will receive confirmation in your hand on the same day as your filing.
4. Create Your Florida LLC Operating Agreement
After you have filed your Articles of Organization and have received confirmation that your Florida LLC is a legal entity with active status, it is time to create your Florida LLC Operating Agreement. While the LLC Operating Agreement is not a legal document that you must file with the state, it is important that your LLC has one. A clear Operating Agreement will help you to keep your personal liability protection should you ever end up in court. It also shows that you are a serious business, which will help in your dealings with vendors and lenders around Florida.
The Operating Agreement is the foundation of your business operations. This internal document should spell out the governance of the Florida LLC for the lifespan of the company. The operating agreement should contain bylaws that delineate the financial and management rights and responsibilities of the Florida LLC and its members. The Florida statutes governing the operating agreement for an LLC may be found on the Florida State Legislature’s Online Sunshine page.
An operating agreement should address the following areas:
1. It should address the percentage of Florida LLC that each member owns. This will help to determine who gets to make decisions for the LLC, so you should take time to think through this decision.
2. It should clearly outline how profits and losses are to be split and distributed among the members. In addition, the document should clarify whether the profits will be distributed at regular intervals or withdrawn at any time at the request of individual members.
3. It should define the roles for each one of the members and answer questions about management, decision making, and operation procedures. The clearer your company operating agreement is, the fewer disagreements and misunderstandings you are likely to have among members in the future.
4. It should stipulate how your Florida LLC will handle accounting. Keeping every member informed about the financial status of the LLC will help to ensure the company’s financial health from the start.
5. Your agreement should specify procedures in the event of either a member’s withdrawal from the LLC or the transfer of an LLC share from one member to another current or future member. It is important at this point to also make clear who is allowed to purchase a co-owner’s share of the LLC and who is not.
6. Finally, your operating agreement should lay out the steps for the dissolution of the LLC. In an ideal world, your LLC will outlive you and will be passed on at your retirement via the transfer of share procedures that you outlined above. However, if it becomes necessary or desirable to dissolve your Florida LLC before that time, it is important that you have processes in place for how to do so.
LLC Formations has the expertise to help you craft your Operating Agreement so that the language is clear and legally sound. Whether your Florida LLC lasts beyond your lifetime or you decide to sell and retire, you will have the confidence from the start that the correct procedures are in place.
5. Getting You Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
Once your Florida LLC is registered with the state, you will need to register to get a Federal Tax ID Number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). You will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, and it is required if your Florida LLC will have any employees.
An EIN is your LLC’s version of a social security number. It is used primarily for LLC tax purposes, but most banks will require you to have one when you open a business bank account. Also, when you apply for certain licenses and permits, the agencies to which you apply may require an EIN. You can easily obtain an EIN even as a foreign LLC.
You have several options when applying for your EIN for your Florida Business:
You may apply for your EIN from the IRS by using the IRS website, which is the recommended method of obtaining your number. Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., online applications will be processed immediately, and they are free for every business entity.
Via Fax or Mail
There is also no fee to file by fax or mail. You may apply by filling out the SS-4 form and either faxing or mailing the completed form. You can find the appropriate fax number on the “Where to File Your Taxes” (for Form SS-4) site.
Forms must contain all requested information and responsible entities must be eligible for a new EIN. If your application meets these criteria, you will receive your EIN. Faxed forms should be processed within four days, and you should receive your EIN via fax to the fax number that you listed on your application. If you mail your completed form, the processing time by mail is four weeks.
LLC Formations will gladly complete this application for you.
6. Obtaining Licenses and Permits for Your Florida LLC
Once your LLC is registered and has a Federal Tax ID Number, you will need to get the appropriate licenses and permits for your business to operate legally in the state of Florida. Since Florida does not have a statewide general business license, you will need to obtain the specific federal, state, and local licenses that pertain to your specific business. For example, businesses that sell alcohol require federal, state, and in some cases local permits. Also, many municipalities require separate retail, restaurant, day care, manufacturing, or repair licenses when forming an LLC.
You can do the research to find what licenses your LLC requires by visiting the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation website and the Florida Association of Counties website to see what businesses are required to be licensed in the state and what specific counties/municipalities require.
LLC Formations‘ business formation specialists will help you to comply with all federal, state, and local licensing requirements for your particular Florida LLC business type.
7. Understand State Taxes Regarding Your Florida LLC
In terms of federal taxes, a Florida LLCs is taxed either as a Sole Proprietorship (for LLCs with only one member) or as a Partnership (LLCs with multiple members). LLCs are pass-through or disregarded entities, so they do not have to file federal taxes as an LLC and are therefore not subject to double taxation like corporations are. The profits or losses from your LLC will be reported on the individual tax returns of the members. Florida also has no personal state income tax.
Depending on the type of business that your LLC does, you may have to pay certain state and local business taxes or sales tax, however, you should check with the Florida Department of Revenue to see what types of taxes (corporate, sales, withholding, communications services, etc.) your particular business is required to pay.
Failure to file and or pay taxes appropriately can have adverse effects on your LLC. You may want to consider working with an accountant for tax purposes after you have formed your LLC to ensure that you are abiding by all tax laws.
These tax laws can be confusing, but LLC Formations can help you to weed through the legalese and comply.
8. Open Your Florida LLC Bank Account
It is important for the well-being of your new LLC that you set up a separate bank account from the start for your Florida LLC. Not only will this make the accounting easier, it will also protect all members’ personal assets in the event of debt collection or a lawsuit.
You will need to set up a bank account in your LLC’s business name so that you can ensure that you have sufficient funds to properly operate your business. Some banks charge fees for LLC accounts while others do not, so it’s wise to call around to a few different banks so you can understand their policies. LLC Formations can recommend banks in your area for you to start your business account.
Filing Your LLC Florida Annual Report
Florida requires that every business files a Florida LLC annual report in order to remain in good standing with the Florida Department of State. An LLC that misses the deadline to file annual reports will not be in good standing, and it can also incur fines and penalties. The Florida statute regulating the filing of your LLC annual report is available on the Online Sunshine site.
The annual report must meet the following criteria:
- Contains the name& address of the Florida LLC
- Contains the effective date of the start of the Florida LLC
- Contains the LLC’s EIN or a statement that the LLC has applied for an EIN
- Contain the name, title, and address of at least one of the managers of the LLC
You must submit your annual report online to the Florida Department of State using their Annual Report-SunBiz page. If you want to see a copy of your annual report, you will need to go to the Sunbiz page and do a Florida LLC search.
LLC Formations can help you write your annual reports and can assist you with filing them.
Let Us Help You!
Let Us Help You!
Starting a business in Florida can offer many benefits to you and your members. Careful thought and planning are the secrets to success in any business venture. LLC Formations can help do your research for you so you can get started on operating your business in Florida.
The professionals at LLC Formations are happy to answer any questions about how to start an LLC in Florida, and we can make sure that all of the paperwork is filed correctly so you can focus on the most important thing— growing your business. After all, this LLC is a big investment of your time and money, so consider trusting it to the experts. Check out our Georgia guide to starting LLCs.