Starting a Florida LLC is Easy
Starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Florida is the best way to protect your personal assets and add credibility to your small business.
To create a Florida LLC, you will need to submit the Articles of Organization — a legal document that officially establishes your business — to the Florida Division of Corporations. You can apply online at the SunBiz website or by mail, and the filing fee is $125.
Follow our How to Start an LLC in Florida guide below to get started.
For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Start an LLC guide.
Step 1: Create a Name For Your Florida LLC
Before you register your Florida limited liability company, you'll need to come up with a name. Your business name needs to be catchy for branding purposes and legitimate for legal purposes.
We go into depth on this topic in our LLC naming guide. We’ll go over the basics below.
Naming Your LLC
First, brainstorm some possibilities. Use our LLC name generator if you get stuck.
Next, make sure your name meets the following guidelines:
- it must contain the words limited liability company, limited company, or LLC or L.L.C.
- it must not contain words like bank, attorney, and university, etc. without approval
- it must be distinguishable from any other business entity or DBA registered in the state
- full list of Florida naming guidelines
Next, do a SunBiz LLC name search with the Division of Corporations to find out if your name is available.
If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file Florida Articles of Organization with the Division of Corporations.
Is the URL available? Before you commit 100% to a name, check to see if there’s a good web domain available.
We recommend buying your domain right away because even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it will be soon.
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Once you register a domain name for your company, consider setting up a business phone system to establish credibility and enhance your customer service. Nextiva provides a plethora of useful features and a quick, easy setup. Try Nextiva.
Using a Fictitious Name (DBA)
A Florida DBA (doing business as), also known as a fictitious name, is any registered name that a company operates under that isn't its legal business name. A fictitious name can be used by any type of business structure, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company.
Learn how to get a DBA in our Florida DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Florida Registered Agent
When you file your Florida LLC Articles of Organization, you'll need to list a registered agent.
Your registered agent can be a person or a registered agent service. You can act as your own registered agent, but many LLC owners choose to use a registered agent service.
Here are a few things to think about before you decide to act as your own registered agent:
- You’ll need to be available during normal (9 am - 5 pm) business hours at the address you provide
- If you run your venture from home, you’ll have to make your personal address public
- You could be served with a lawsuit in front of your family or coworkers
Recommended: Northwest offers a free year of registered agent services when you form your Florida LLC ($29 plus state fees) with them.
Step 3: File the Florida LLC Articles Of Organization
It’s time to officially form your LLC in Florida by filing your Articles of Organization with the Division of Corporations.
Recommended: Now is a good time to decide if your Florida LLC will be member-managed vs manager-managed.
You will be asked to provide the:
- full company name
- company’s effective date (up to 5 business days prior to the date of submission or 90 days after receipt)
- mailing/street addresses of your company’s principal office
- name, street address, and signature of your registered agent
- name and signature of every authorized member and manager
- name and email address for confirmation and additional communication
For detailed instructions, visit our Florida Articles of Organization guide.
Mail Your Articles of Organization:
Send the form and payment ($125 payable to the Florida Department of State) to:
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
How long does it take to get a Florida LLC approved? The LLC processing time is 2 to 4 weeks.
Step 4: Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement
Creating a Florida LLC operating agreement is the only way to legally lock down your company’s management and ownership structure. Having an operating agreement in place will give you something to return to if a dispute or lawsuit arises.
Even single-member LLCs benefit from having an operating agreement.
Your operating agreement should outline the following:
- Each member’s responsibilities
- How new members will be admitted
- How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
- How profits and dividends will be distributed
You can add as many provisions to the operating agreement as you want, as long as they don't conflict with Florida law. Take a look at our What is an Operating Agreement guide to learn more.
Download a template or create a custom Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
Step 5: Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state will use this number to track your business activity.
Your EIN will come in handy when it’s time to:
- Open a business bank account
- File Federal and State taxes
- Hire employees
The best way to get an employer identification number for your LLC in Florida is by using the free online application on the IRS website.
Read our Get an EIN guide for instructions.
Steps After Forming an LLC in Florida
After forming your new company, it's important to:
Open A Business Bank Account
A business bank account helps separate personal expenses and company expenses, which is required to maintain your corporate veil. A corporate veil protects your personal assets from creditors in potential lawsuits against your venture.
Learn more by reading this guide to Banking for Entrepreneurs. For a multi-member LLC, you'll also want to set up capital accounts for LLC members. We also recommend checking out our review of the best business bank accounts.
Get A Business Credit Card
A business credit card will help separate personal and business expenses while building your company's credit history. A strong credit history will be useful for raising capital in the form of venture capital, angel investment, or small business loans.
Set Up Business Accounting
Hiring a business accountant is one of the best ways to ensure you’re taking advantage of LLC tax benefits; possibly saving you and your company thousands of dollars per year.
When forming an LLC in Florida, it’s a good idea to start a relationship with a business accountant as soon as you start your venture to help set your company up for success.
Get Business Insurance
Keep Your Company Compliant
Research Business Licenses and Permits
To operate an LLC in Florida, you will need to comply with federal, state, and local government regulations such as health permits, building permits, and signage permits.
Business licensing and permit requirements vary from state to state. To get started, visit our How to Get a Business License in Florida guide. To help facilitate this process, you can also utilize a business license service.
File Your Florida LLC Annual Report
All LLCs must file an annual report with the Division of Corporations each year, regardless of whether any of their business information has changed. This must be submitted online by May 1 each year, along with the filing fee of $138.75.
Understand Florida State Tax Requirements
Businesses selling a physical product are generally required to register for a seller’s permit through the Florida Taxation website. Visit our Florida Sales Tax guide to learn more.
Additionally, companies with employees must register for unemployment insurance tax, known in the state as the Reemployment Tax, through the Florida Department of Revenue.
If your venture is part of a specific industry (e.g., commercial real estate, restaurants, etc.), you may also be required to pay additional state taxes. Check the Florida Department of Revenue website to see if your company qualifies.
Understand Your LLC’s Federal Tax Requirements
How you pay yourself will affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.
Know Your Florida LLC’s Federal Tax Election Options
Pass-through taxation entails a business’s profits passing through to the LLC member’s individual tax returns. Like a sole proprietorship, an LLC is taxed as a pass-through entity, also known as a disregarded entity.
Once this process is completed and after any tax-deductible expenses are taken out, the LLC members pay self-employment taxes and income tax on their portion of the business income.
Alternatively, Florida LLCs can choose to elect to be taxed as an S corporation (S corp) or C corporation (C corp). If S corporation tax status is elected, members can be taxed as employees of the company, potentially reducing tax burden.
- Florida Foreign LLCs: Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. Download the Florida foreign LLC form to get started.
- Certificate of Good Standing: A certificate of good standing verifies that your LLC was legally formed. To order, follow our Florida certificate of good standing guide.
- Dissolving a LLC: If you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Florida LLC Dissolution Guide.
- Legal Forms: TRUiC offers a number of free LLC legal forms including operating agreements, LLC resolutions, and hiring documents.