Starting an LLC in Florida is Easy
To start a Florida LLC, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. The filing fee is $125. This can be done online at the SunBiz website or by mail. The Articles of Organization is the document that officially creates your Florida limited liability company.
Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Florida guide to get started today. You can learn more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.
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STEP 1: Name Your Florida LLC
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in forming an LLC in Florida. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Florida naming laws, requirements, and is easily searchable by potential business clients.
1. Follow the naming guidelines for a Florida LLC:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Florida LLC.
2. Is the name available in Florida? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Sunbiz Florida website.
To learn more about searching for a Florida LLC name, read our full guide.
3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Once you have verified your name is available you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you. We recommend using one of these professional services:
STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Florida
You are required to appoint a Florida Registered Agent for your Florida LLC.
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business' point of contact with the state.
Who can be a Registered Agent? A registered agent must be a full-time resident of Florida or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to conduct business in the state of Florida. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.
Recommended: Northwest provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($29 + State Fees)
STEP 3: File Your Florida LLC Articles of Organization
To register your Florida LLC, you'll need to file Form LLC-1 - Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. You can apply online or by mail.
Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.
FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION
OPTION 1: File Online through the Florida Department of State Sunbiz Website
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by Mail
State Filing Cost: $125, payable to the Florida Department of State. (Nonrefundable)
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
For help with completing the form, visit our Florida Articles of Organization guide.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the state of Florida, you’ll need to register as a Foreign LLC.
STEP 4: Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for an LLC in Florida, but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Florida LLC operating agreement guide.
Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
STEP 5: Get an EIN for your Florida LLC
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN), 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. It is essentially a social security number (SSN) for the company.. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business business bank account for the company
- For Federal and State tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to obtain an EIN. Read our guide to getting an EIN for international entrepreneurs.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an LLC?
LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read "What is a Limited Liability Company?" for more information.
Watch our 2 minute video: What is an LLC?
How do I name my Florida LLC?
You must follow the Florida LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
After you get your business name, your next step is getting a unique logo. Get your unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.
Do I need to get a DBA or Trade Name for my business?
Most LLCs do not need a DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To Learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA in Florida guide.
Can I be my own Registered Agent?
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC. Read about being your own registered agent.
Is a Registered Agent service worth it?
Using a professional Registered Agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages (e.g. privacy, peace of mind, and preventing lawsuits) of using a professional registered agent service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
For more information, read our article on Florida registered agents.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the State of Florida?
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference.
How long does it take to form an LLC in Florida?
Florida LLC Articles of Organization are processed in the order they are recieved, and can take up from 2 to 4 weeks.
What is the difference between a domestic Florida LLC and foreign LLC?
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC we are actually referring to a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state. If you are filing as a foreign Florida LLC read our guide for more information.
How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?
An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at 267-941-1099 to complete your EIN application. Read our guide for international EIN applicants.
What tax structure should I choose for my LLC?
When you obtain an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing S corporation status. We recommend consulting with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.
What is the minimum wage in Florida?
The minimum wage in Florida is $11 per hour
How often do I need to pay employees?
Florida has no specified regulations on pay frequency. However Federal law states that you must have a consistent pay frequency. Typically most employers pay on a semi-monthly basis.
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
We reviewed and ranked the top 5 LLC formation services. Find out which is best for you.Best LLC Services
Important Steps After Forming an LLC
Separate Your Personal & Business Assets
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your Florida LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing the corporate veil.
You can start protecting your LLC in Florida with these steps:
1. Opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Need help finding your EIN for your bank application? Visit our EIN Lookup guide for help.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
2. Getting a business credit card:
- Helps categorize and separate all business expenses for end-of-year tax purposes.
- Helps build your business credit score — an essential step toward getting a line of credit or business loans in the future.
- Allows you to keep track of department expenses by issuing multiple cards (with multiple budgets) to your employees.
For a closer look at business credit cards and their benefits, check out our review of the best small business credit cards.
Recommended: Visit Divvy to apply for their business credit card and build your business credit quickly.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
- Prevents your business from overpaying on taxes while helping you avoid penalties, fines, and other costly tax errors.
- Makes bookkeeping and payroll easier, leaving you with more time to focus on your growing business.
- Manages your business funding more effectively, discovering areas of unforeseen loss or extra profit
Recommended: Find out how much you could be saving today by scheduling a consultation with a business accountant.
For more business accounting tools, read our guide to the best business accounting software.
Get Business Insurance for Your LLC
Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your Florida LLC. The most common types of business insurance are:
- General Liability Insurance: A broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses get general liability insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance: A business insurance for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) that covers claims of malpractice and other business errors.
- Workers' Compensation Insurance: A type of insurance that provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths.
Ready To Protect Your Business? Get the protection you need with a dedicated small business insurance provider. Find out how much insurance will cost you by getting a quote from our partners at Next Insurance.
Read our review of the best small business insurance companies.
Create Your Website
Creating a website is an important step in legitimizing your business. Every business needs a website if you want your customers to find you.
Send Out a Press Release
Press releases are among the easiest and best ways to promote your business. They are also one of the most cost-effective strategies as they:
- Provides publicity
- Establish your brand presence on the web
- Improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), driving more customers to your website
- Are a one-time cost in terms of effort and money
- Have long-lasting benefits
Read our review of the best press release services.
Keep Your Company Compliant
Florida Business Permits & Licenses
Do I need business licenses and permits?
To operate your LLC you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read carefully. Don't be surprised if there are short classes required as well.
Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.
Find out how to obtain necessary Florida business licenses and permits for your LLC or have a professional service do it for you:
- Business License Guide: Use our detailed Florida Business License guide.
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Check out the SBA's Florida Business Resource page to research which permits you will need for your LLC.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review on Startup Savant.
Florida LLC Tax Filing Requirements
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
This certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.
Sales tax, also called "Sales and Use Tax," is a tax levied by states, counties, and municipalities on business transactions involving the exchange of certain taxable goods or services.
Read our Florida sales tax guide to find out more.
If you have employees in Florida, you will need to register for Florida Re-employment Tax, a type of unemployment tax, through the Florida Department of Revenue. New employers pay an initial tax rate of .0270 (2.7%) on the first $7,000 of yearly wages paid to employees.
Industry Specific Taxes
If your business falls within a specific industry, additional state taxes may apply.
Federal LLC Tax Filing Requirements
Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using:
- Form 1065 Partnership Return (most multi-member LLCs use this form)
- Form 1040 Schedule C (most single-member LLCs use this form)
How you pay yourself as an owner will also affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.
Read our LLC Tax Guide to learn more about federal income taxes for LLCs.
Florida LLC Annual Report
LLCs in Florida are required to file an annual report with the Florida Department of State. This can be done online.
FILE YOUR ANNUAL REPORT
File Online through Sunbiz Florida for your LLC
Fee: $138.75 (Nonrefundable)
Due Date: Florida's deadline for filing the annual report is May 1st of each year. Your LLCs first annual report is due the next calendar year after your llc was formed, so for an LLC formed in 2022, its first annual report can be filed anytime between January 1st 2023 and May 1st 2023, then before May 1st each subsequent year.
Late Filings: Florida charges a $400 penalty if you miss the May 1st filing deadline. In addition, failure to file your annual report by the third week of September will cause your LLC to be dissolved.
Avoid Automatic Dissolution
LLCs may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings. When this happens, LLC owners risk loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines, and even submitting reports on your behalf for an additional fee.
If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the State
- Provide workers' compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your work space
Recommended: Check out our Hiring for your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.
Small Business Resources
Get Help Starting a Business in Florida
We understand that creating an LLC in Florida and getting your business up and running comes with many challenges. To help you succeed, we compiled the best local resources in every major metro area in Florida. You can get free assistance in the following areas:
Local Resources in Florida
State of Florida Quick Links
- Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations
- Florida Department of Revenue
- Contact Division of Corporations - Florida Department of State
- Workers' Compensation - My Florida CFO
- SBA's Small Business Resource for North Florida
- SBA's Small Business Resource for South Florida
- Florida LLC Statutes
- Understanding the Florida Revised LLC Company Act
- Florida LLC Formation Services
- Florida LLC Annual Report
- Best Registered Agent Services in Florida
- Understanding Florida LLC Laws
More Florida LLC Information
Florida Foreign LLCs
Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. If you have an existing LLC and want to do business in Florida, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail.
REGISTER AS A FOREIGN LLC IN FLORIDA
File a Foreign LLC by Mail
Fee: $125 (Nonrefundable)
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
How to Obtain Certificate of Good Standing in Florida
A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Florida as a Certificate of Status, verifies that your Florida LLC was legally formed and has been properly maintained. Several instances where you might need to get one include:
- Seeking funding from banks or other lenders
- Forming your business as a foreign LLC in another state
- Obtaining or renewing specific business licenses or permits
You can order a Certificate of Status either online or by mail.
ORDER A CERTIFICATE OF GOOD STANDING
Request a Certificate Online through the Florida Department of State
How to Dissolve an LLC in Florida
If at any point in the future you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your LLC, there are two broad steps:
- Close your business tax accounts
- File the Articles of Dissolution
When you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Florida LLC Dissolution Guide.