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How to Start an LLC in Florida

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Set Up An LLC

According to Florida Department of State statistics, when you start a limited liability company (LLC) in Florida, you’ll become one of over 2.2 million companies that have done the same.

Florida is a great state to do business. It ranked number 11 on CNBC’s Top States For Business 2022 list due to the strength of its economy and active workforce.

Starting an LLC in Florida involves several steps provided for you in this convenient guide.

Check Name Availability

You’ve no doubt chosen an excellent name for your LLC, but you’ll need to make sure it’s available for use. You’ll also need to ensure it meets Florida’s LLC name regulations.

Florida’s LLC name regulations include the following criteria.

  • Must contain “limited liability company,” or LLC or L.L.C.
  • Must be distinguishable from all other business names in the state
  • This may not imply that the business is affiliated with a government agency or other entity
  • This may not mean that the company has any purpose other than the one stated in its articles of organization

If your LLC name meets these requirements, head to the Florida Division of Corporations website for a business name search. Then visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website to ensure the name is not nationally trademarked.

Select a Registered Agent

In Florida, you must appoint a registered agent for your LLC, which is a person or business that will accept your LLC’s official documents and correspondence.

Florida’s rules regarding who can be a registered agent are as follows:

  • If it’s an individual, they must be 18 or older
  • They must have a physical address in Florida
  • They must be personally available at their registered agent address during regular business hours
  • If it’s a business, it must be registered to do business in Florida

You can be your registered agent if you meet those requirements, although being personally available during regular business hours can be a challenge for new business owners. That’s why many entrepreneurs hire a registered agent service to receive their correspondence, provide prompt notification of its receipt, and make documents available online.

Determine Your Management Structure

In Florida, you need to disclose your management structure in your articles of organization. An LLC can have one of two management structures.

  • Member-managed – All members are involved in the management of the LLC
  • Manager-managed – Only certain members are designated as managers of the LLC

To explain, let’s look at this example. Perhaps one of the LLC members is an investor in the LLC but will not have an active role in the company. Then your LLC would be considered manager-managed. Other members will be designated as managers in the articles of organization and in your LLC’s operating agreement.

File Articles of Organization

To officially form an LLC in Florida, you’ll file articles of organization with the Division of Corporations. When you visit their website, you can simply follow the prompts to file online. You’ll need the following information.

  • Your LLC name and address (principal place of business)
  • Your mailing address, if different
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • Correspondence name and email
  • Manager names and addresses

Once you complete the form, you’ll submit it and pay the $125 filing fee. Alternatively, you can print the form and mail it to:

New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

If you file online, your LLC should be approved and formed within 1 to 2 business days. Mail filings may take 3 to 4 weeks.

Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required in Florida, but it’s a critical document to have in place. It defines the ownership of the LLC, profit distributions, management, voting rights, and how disputes are resolved.

Without an operating agreement, Florida LLC regulations will apply by default, but those regulations do not cover all possible situations, which could mean that disputes will end up in court.

You can easily find operating agreement templates online, but it’s often advisable to have an attorney draft it for you, particularly if you have a multi-member LLC.

An attorney can ensure that the agreement covers all bases, adheres to Florida state laws, and protects the rights of all members.

Apply for an EIN

You must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if your LLC has more than one member or if your business has or will have employees. It’s a tax identification number for your business and can be obtained for free on the IRS website.

Check Business License and Permit Requirements

Depending on your industry, your business may require various licenses and permits. Florida offers a website that can provide you with state licensing requirements.

If your business sells goods or services subject to sales tax, you must file a Florida business tax registration. You must create an account on the site to complete the registration. There is no fee.

You may also need various business licenses and permits at the local level, so check with your regional government offices for requirements.

In Closing

Starting an LLC in Florida involves more than filing with the state, so be sure not to skip any steps. If you need assistance, you can find business formation services online or enlist the help of an attorney. Once the steps are completed, you can focus on getting open for business and making money!