If you’re reading this, chances are you are interested in learning how to establish a business in Florida. Florida is appealing to new business owners because it has one of the most business-friendly tax and regulatory environments in the country. In Florida, you can form a business yourself or hire a service to do it for you. But regardless of which option you choose, use the following steps to get you through the process. There are basic requirements you must satisfy, which we will address later in our six steps.
For starters, it is vital to emphasize the process of selecting the best type of business entity form for your business. According to the Small Business Association, the type of business entity you wish to establish influences several business practices: from how you’ll file annual taxes, to the day-to-day operations of your business, and even how much of your personal assets are at risk.
- Sole Proprietorship
- S Corporations
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Each business entity/structure type has its pros and cons, and our experienced team of attorneys is here to carefully walk you through your options to help decide which is best for you. We’re happy to discuss the benefits and risks associated with each type of entity structure and invite you to contact us here for a free consultation.
Once you establish the form of business you want to pursue those best suits your needs and business, follow these steps to establish a business in Florida:
- Establish a Name – Follow Naming Guideline for Florida
Do your research, and make sure no other business has your desired name or one similar enough that can cause confusion for your customers and clients. To check if your business name is available, you can do a name search on the SunBiz Florida website. If you’re creating an LLC, your name must include the phrase “limited liability company or “LLC/L.L.C.”
- File Articles of Incorporation
Form your business by visiting www.SunBiz.com to file your Articles of Incorporation. You can file your business online or via mail. Non-Profit, Profit, LLC, and Partnership business types all have different and separate Articles of Incorporation. Be sure to fill out the corresponding form for your business type. You are also required to register your business with the Florida Department of Revenue.
- Choose a Registered Agent
Florida requires that you nominate a Registered Agent for your business, who is the business’ point of contact with the state. The registered agent can be an individual within the company, or an authorized services company authorized to do business in the state of Florida. The authorized agent will send and receive legal papers on the business’ behalf, including correspondence such as legal summons and document findings to properly maintain business.
- Register Your Business Name
If you selected to open your business as a Sole Proprietorship, The Fictitious Name Act (s.865.09, F.S.) requires any person (which, by definition, includes an individual, as well as a business entity) to register their “fictitious name” or “dba” name with the Florida Department of State prior to conducting business in Florida.
Registration of a fictitious name under the Fictitious Name Act allows:
- An individual or business to operate under a name other than their legal name.
- The public to search SunBiz to determine what individual or business is operating under the fictitious name.
- Seek Legal Advice
If you established a business where more than one owner or individual is involved, seek legal advice to create an operating agreement. Whether you’re starting a new business or revising your existing business structure, our experienced team of attorneys can help you draft an operating agreement tailored to your needs. We’ll make sure your agreement complies with applicable laws and regulations, and provides the protection you need to keep your business running smoothly.
- Get an EIN for your Florida LLC
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS); an Employer ID Number is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting.
If you are looking to establish a business in Florida, it is important to follow the proper steps and seek legal assistance. The Markarian Group has a team of experienced attorneys who can help you navigate the complex process of starting a business in Florida. We understand the importance of getting your business set up properly for success, and will work diligently to ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed and that your company is compliant with state laws. Contact us today for more information about our services or to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.