How to Start an LLC in Florida | 2024 Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
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Start a LLC in Florida

How to Start an LLC in Florida: If you’re looking to launch a business in Florida, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be the right choice for you. An LLC provides personal liability protection for its owners while giving them flexibility in managing and taxing the business. This guide provides a step-by-step process for starting an LLC in Florida. From choosing a unique name to registering with the state and obtaining necessary licenses and permits, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through setting up your new business entity. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

What is a Limited Liability Company?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business entity that combines a corporation’s limited liability protection with a partnership’s tax benefits. LLCs are popular among small business owners for their flexibility and ease of formation. In Florida, an LLC must have a unique name and file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. Depending on their business needs, LLCs may also elect to be taxed as a corporation or an S-corp. Owners of an LLC, called members, are not personally liable for the company’s debts and losses, and the company’s profits and losses are passed through to the member’s personal tax returns. This makes an LLC an attractive option for those seeking personal liability protection and simplified taxation.

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Steps on How to Start an LLC in Florida

To form an LLC for your business, you must follow the guidelines that include naming your LLC, hiring a Registered Agent, filing your Articles of Organization, creating your LLC operating agreement, getting an employer identification number, opening a bank account and getting business licenses and permits.

Step 1: Name your LLC in Florida

After you have decided on the idea to form an LLC in Florida, deciding the name for your LLC is significant. There is a complete guide on LLC name guidelines for you to have a proper LLC business name. Here are some regulations you must follow while naming your LLC,

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Florida, if you do not wish to file your LLC right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application in Florida Secretary of State to keep the name.

Recommended: We recommend a professional service that can offer you unlimited name search, trademark and copyright registration at a reasonable price. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fees for LLC Formation)

You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available. Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for filing Florida DBA (doing business as). In this manner, you can choose any name you desire for your business. A DBA allows a company to operate under the name of the person or entity who owns it. If you have decided to file for a DBA, you can file it in three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing.. However, before filing a DBA, you should know that you need to renew your DBA from up to five years, which costs around $50 Processing Fee, $10 Certificate of Status, $30 Certified Copy.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent in Florida

Hiring a Registered Agent in Florida is a must since a Registered Agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your Florida LLC. Most states require you to designate a Registered Agent when forming your LLC.

The qualifications of a Registered Agent vary depending on the jurisdiction. Still, generally, a Registered Agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Availability: A Registered Agent must be available during regular business hours to receive and process legal documents and official correspondence.
  • Physical Address: A Registered Agent must have a physical street address within the state where the LLC is registered. This address, known as the registered office, cannot be a P.O. Box.
  • Residency or Authorization: For individuals serving as Registered Agent, they must be residents of the Florida where the LLC was formed. A business entity acting as a Registered Agent must be authorized to do business within that state.
  • Age: A Registered Agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • Good standing: A Registered Agent should not have any legal or financial issues that impede their ability to fulfill their duties.

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. Some businesses use professional Registered Agent services to ensure compliance and proper handling of legal matters.

However, if you would like to have an easier process in filing the necessary documents, you can get Florida Registered Agent Services.

Step 3: File your Articles of Organization in Florida

The Articles of Organization for an LLC is an important document to start your limited liability company (LLC). Florida Articles of Organization is a simple document that contains the business name and address as well as the name and address of the person who received lawsuits on behalf of the organization.

Here are the guidelines and specific requirements in filing your Articles of Organization in Florida.

1. Obtain the Necessary Forms: Visit the Florida’s business filing office website, usually the Florida Secretary of State’s office, to download the required forms or file online.

2. Provide the Required Information: Fill in the necessary details in the form, which typically include:

  • The name of your LLC (must include an LLC designator such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Company”)
  • The purpose of your LLC (a general statement or specific business activities)
  • The address of your LLC’s principal place of business
  • The name and address of your registered agent (the person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your LLC)
  • The management structure of your LLC (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • The duration of your LLC, if not perpetual
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s organizers or members

3. Sign and File the Form: Submit the completed form in the {state} state office, either by mail, in person, or online. You may mail it at New Filing Section, Division of Corporations, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314.

4. Pay the Filing Fee: When you submit your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $100. Make sure to check and include the correct payment with your submission.

5. Receive Confirmation: After your Articles of Organization have been filed and processed, you’ll receive a confirmation from Florida, typically a stamped and approved copy of the document or a Articles of Organization.

Recommended: Filing formation papers is easy and hassle-free if you hire a professional service. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee)

Once you have successfully filed your Articles of Organization and it has been approved, your Florida LLC is officially formed. However, remember to complete additional steps, such as creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and registering for any required licenses and permits.

Step 4: Create Your Florida Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that contains all of your company’s organizational details. Drafting an operating agreement in most states is not required. Yet, having one as an internal document is strongly advised. An operating agreement includes information like-

  • About Business
  • Members and management
  • Capital contribution
  • Profit Distribution
  • Change of membership
  • Dissolution

To understand how an operating agreement works, you should check out how to create an operating agreement in Florida.

Recommended: Get oprating agreement drafts ready on your table with a help of a professional service. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 5: Get an EIN

After documenting the operating agreement, you should get or request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Florida. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website.

The application of an EIN in Florida can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

In obtaining an EIN for your LLC, you should be aware to ensure that your LLC is eligible for an EIN. You need an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet other specific IRS criteria. Before applying, gather the required information, including your LLC’s name, mailing address, and the responsible party’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Also, you can apply for an EIN through various methods, including online, by fax, mail, or telephone (for international applicants).

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Open a Bank Account and Prepare for Taxes

After you have filed for and received your Employer Identification Number, you should open a bank account because you will use this account for yourself, your clients, and your employees.

Your business dealings in Florida might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Most banks demand an EIN to create a business bank account for firms other than sole proprietorships. Also, having an EIN makes tax preparation easier. You can anticipate paying employment and corporate taxes with Florida LLC.

Opening a bank account is necessary for Florida business. If you are still wondering where to open an account in your Florida, you should check the Best Bank for Small Business in Florida.

Step 7: Get a Business and License Permit

You must get a business license in Florida before establishing your LLC. A business license is a legal document granted by a state government body that permits you to conduct business within the area under its jurisdiction. The price of business licenses and permits in Florida ranges from $50 – $300. If there is a requirement for a specific license or city-based permit, you must inquire with the Florida Secretary of State.

Cost to Form an LLC in Florida

Even if you have a business name and structure in mind, you should consider whether you can afford the costs of forming an LLC in Florida. Articles of Organization costs around $100. The initial filing fee is $125, and the annual fee is $138.75.

If you forget to pay the annual fee for your Florida LLC, you will have a penalty of $400. However, you can check the Florida LLC Cost for additional information.

Advantages of Creating Florida LLC

Even though some people decide on what to do with their businesses, some choose to put it in their own individual name, while others still choose to set it up via LLC in Florida. Important benefits will help you set up an LLC in Florida.

  • Pass-Through Taxation: The pass-through structure will make the company not pay twice the tax. Most start-ups and entrepreneurs in Florida apply for an LLC because of this structure. Pass-through taxation refers to how income and losses from an LLC (Limited Liability Company) are passed through to its members (owners) for tax purposes rather than being taxed at the business entity level. This means the LLC does not pay federal income taxes; the members’ profits and losses are allocated based on their interests. Each member then reports their share of the LLC’s income or losses on their personal tax returns and pays taxes at their individual tax rates.
  • Ownership Flexibility: If you need sole and primary control over your company’s operations, a sole proprietorship will allow you to do so. If you apply for an LLC in Florida with flexibility, you will have default rules set by law and need an operating agreement.
  • Personal Liability Protection: Personal Liability Protection protects your business from damage, debts, or legal obligations. In personal liability protection, the company’s profits and earnings will stay as is even if your company is about to be sued. This protection of having an LLC in Florida can also be extended to the company’s properties and assets. Many start-up companies will benefit from this since most are starting to build a company. Even if liability exists, the LLC in Florida will protect its assets.

FAQs

What does LLC stand for?
LLC stands for Limited Liability Company.
What are the benefits of forming an LLC in Florida?
Some benefits of forming an LLC in Florida include limited personal liability, fewer regulations and requirements, and simplified taxation.
Can a non-resident form an LLC in Florida?
Yes, a non-resident can form an LLC in Florida.
How much does it cost to form an LLC in Florida?
It costs $125 to file an LLC formation in Florida.
What is the filing fee for the Annual Report in Florida?
The filing fee for the Annual Report in Florida is $138.75.
What is the processing time for LLC formation in Florida?
The Florida Division of Corporations typically processes LLC formation documents within 5-7 business days.
What is the minimum number of members required to form an LLC in Florida?
There is no minimum number of members required to form an LLC in Florida.
How do I reserve a name for my Florida LLC?
You can reserve a name for your Florida LLC by submitting a Name Reservation Request form and paying a $30 fee.
How do I check if my LLC name is available in Florida?
You can check if your LLC name is available in Florida by searching the Division of Corporations’ Business Name Search database.
What is the maximum number of members allowed in an LLC in Florida?
There is no maximum number of members allowed in an LLC in Florida.
Can an LLC have only one member in Florida?
Yes, an LLC can have only one member in Florida.
What is the Publication Requirement in Florida for LLCs?
There is no Publication Requirement in Florida for LLCs.
Who can act as a Registered Agent for an LLC in Florida?
A registered agent can be either an individual resident of Florida, or a Florida corporation authorized to do business, which has a business office that is open during regular business hours.
Can I be my own Registered Agent in Florida?
Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Florida if you are a Florida resident and have a physical address in Florida.
Do I need a business license in Florida for my LLC?
Whether or not an LLC needs a business license in Florida depends on the type of business and location of the LLC, so check with the county and/or municipality where your LLC will operate.
Do I need an Operating Agreement for my LLC in Florida?
Although it’s not required by Florida law, it is still essential to have an operating agreement for your LLC in Florida to establish ownership rules, profit and loss allocations, and management structure.
Can a foreign LLC do business in Florida?
Yes, a foreign LLC can do business in Florida by registering with Florida’s Division of Corporations.
What is the tax structure for LLCs in Florida?
LLCs in Florida are considered to be “pass-through” entities, which means that profits and losses are passed through to individual members, who then report this income on their personal tax returns.
What is the Florida LLC Annual Report Filing Deadline?
Your LLC’s annual report must be filed by May 1st of each year.
Is an LLC taxed as a sole proprietorship in Florida?
No, an LLC is not taxed as a sole proprietorship in Florida. It defaults to either a partnership or a corporation tax structure.
Can a single-member LLC file as an S-Corp in Florida?
Yes, a single-member LLC can file as an S-Corp in Florida if the member elects to be taxed like an S-Corp.
What are the ongoing obligations of an LLC in Florida?
Some ongoing obligations of an LLC in Florida include filing an annual report, maintaining accurate records, and paying state and federal taxes.
How do I dissolve my Florida LLC?
You can dissolve your Florida LLC by filing articles of dissolution with the Florida Division of Corporations.
Is it possible to change an LLC’s name in Florida?
Yes, it is possible to change an LLC’s name in Florida by filing a certificate of amendment.
Can a Florida LLC convert into another type of business entity?
Yes, a Florida LLC can convert into another type of business entity by filing conversion documents with the Florida Division of Corporations.
Are the names and addresses of LLC members public in Florida?
No, the names and addresses of LLC members are not public in Florida.
Can an LLC in Florida be managed by its members?
Yes, an LLC in Florida can be managed by its members.
What is the process for foreign LLC registration in Florida?
The process for foreign LLC registration in Florida involves submitting an Application by Foreign Limited Liability Company for Authorization to Transact Business in Florida and paying a filing fee.
Can I change the business address for my Florida LLC?
Yes, as an LLC it is possible to change the business address for your Florida LLC by filing amendments to your Articles of Organization.
What are the basic requirements to start an LLC in Florida?
To start an LLC in Florida, you need to file articles of organization with the Florida Division of Corporations, pay a registration fee, and choose a registered agent with a physical address in Florida.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Florida?
The filing fee for articles of organization in Florida is $100. However, other fees may apply depending on your business needs.
How long does it take to start an LLC in Florida?
It typically takes between five and seven business days to process your articles of organization filing in Florida.
What are the benefits of starting an LLC in Florida?
Benefits of starting an LLC in Florida include limited personal liability, a simpler tax structure, and few filing requirements.
Can I form an LLC in Florida online?
Yes, you can form an LLC in Florida using the Division of Corporations’ online filing system.
What is Florida’s LLC operating agreement?
Florida’s LLC operating agreement outlines the shared duties and expectations of the business’s members.
Do I need a business license to start an LLC in Florida?
Depending on your business type and industry, you may need to obtain a business license or permit to start an LLC in Florida.
Can a single member start an LLC in Florida?
Yes, a single member can start an LLC in Florida.
What is a registered agent in Florida?
A registered agent accepts important legal and tax documents on behalf of your LLC, such as service of process notices.
How do I choose a registered agent in Florida?
To choose a registered agent in Florida, you need to look for a reliable, third-party service who meets any state-based and business-specific requirements.
What type of businesses are most suitable for forming an LLC in Florida?
Most types of businesses, including small businesses and contractors, are suitable for forming an LLC in Florida.
Can an LLC in Florida convert to a corporation or vice versa?
Yes, an LLC in Florida can convert to a corporation or vice versa by filing updated paperwork with the Division of Corporations.
How does the Florida LLC tax work?
Florida LLCs are not subject to state-level income tax. However, they generally still need to file federal taxes.
What are the Florida LLC operating agreement clauses?
The Florida LLC operating agreement may include clauses related to the management structure, capital contributions, voting rights and ownership changes.
Can a non-US citizen start an LLC in Florida?
Yes, a non-US citizen may start an LLC in Florida, but there are additional filing requirements for foreign-owned LLCs.
How do I maintain my LLC in Florida?
You need to submit an annual report and fee to the Division of Corporations to maintain your LLC in Florida.
Is an LLC in Florida required to have an office?
Yes, an LLC in Florida is required to have a registered office and a registered agent.
How do I conduct a name search for my LLC in Florida?
You can conduct a name search for your LLC in Florida by accessing the Division of Corporations’ entity search tool.
Can I change my LLC name after filing in Florida?
Yes, you can change your LLC name after filing in Florida by filing updated articles of organization.
What is the difference between domestic and foreign LLC in Florida?
A domestic LLC is located in Florida and subject to Florida laws and regulations, Whereas, a foreign LLC conducts business in Florida but is registered in another state.
Can I have multiple LLCs in Florida?
Yes, you can have multiple LLCs in Florida under different names but there are stated regulations that must be considered.
Can an LLC in Florida have just one member?
Yes, an LLC in Florida can have just one member, who is entitled to the same protections and considerations as multi-member LLCs.
Do I need to file a business plan to start an LLC in Florida?
No, you are not required to file a business plan to start an LLC in Florida, but creating one may benefit your business in other ways.
Is an LLC in Florida taxed as an S corporation?
No, an LLC in Florida is taxed as a partnership by default, but you can choose to be taxed as an S corporation by filing Form 2553 with the IRS.
How do I dissolve my LLC in Florida?
To dissolve your LLC in Florida, you need to file a dissolution with the Division of Corporations, fulfill outstanding tax obligations, and pay any necessary fees.
What is Florida’s LLC liability protections?
Florida offers strong liability protections for LLCs, meaning that an LLC member’s personal assets are safe from business debts and liabilities.
Can a corporation start an LLC in Florida?
Yes, a corporation can start an LLC in Florida provided the there is no limit stated in their memorandum of establishment.
What are the annual fees for LLC in Florida?
LLC annual fees for Florida are $138.75 coming after their first 12 months of filing, through SSLi and future LLC’s will have to pay $61.25 as renewal fees.
Can I use a PO Box for my LLC address in Florida?
You cannot use a PO Box for the registered agent or office address of an LLC in Florida. To include a PO Box, you have to specifically include the street address as well.

Also Read

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Florida

One of the key factors that influences how fast one can form an LLC in Florida is preparedness. Before starting the process, individuals should have a clear understanding of what it takes to establish an LLC. This includes having a business name that complies with Florida’s regulations, a registered agent, a business address, and a completed Articles of Organization form.

Once all the necessary information and documents are in order, the next step is to file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. This can typically be done online, which helps expedite the process. The filing fee must also be paid at this time.

After the Articles of Organization have been submitted, the next step is to create an operating agreement for the LLC. While this document is not required by law in Florida, it is highly recommended as it outlines the ownership and structure of the company.

Once all the necessary steps have been completed, the LLC will be officially formed and registered with the State of Florida. The processing time for forming an LLC in Florida can vary depending on the workload of the Division of Corporations and the completeness of the submitted documents. However, in general, forming an LLC in Florida can be done in a matter of weeks.

For those who need to expedite the process further, there are options available. For an additional fee, individuals can choose to utilize a professional LLC formation service or hire an attorney to help with the process. These services can help ensure that all documents are in order and can help speed up the formation process.

In conclusion, forming an LLC in Florida can be done relatively quickly with the right preparation and resources. By understanding the steps involved and having all the necessary documents ready, individuals can establish an LLC in a timely manner. It is important to remember that the timeline for forming an LLC can vary depending on the workload of the Division of Corporations, but with diligence and proper planning, entrepreneurs can have their LLC up and running in no time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, starting an LLC in Florida is a strategic choice for entrepreneurs seeking a flexible, straightforward business structure with limited liability protection. By following the essential steps, including choosing a business name, filing Articles of Organization, appointing a Registered Agent, creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and securing the necessary licenses and permits, you can successfully establish your LLC. This business structure offers numerous advantages, such as pass-through taxation and ownership flexibility, making it an attractive option for small business owners looking to grow and protect their ventures. As always, consult legal and business professionals for guidance specific to your situation and state requirements.

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