How to Start an LLC in Florida (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Florida? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations ($125 processing fee).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Florida LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in Florida in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Florida, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Name Your LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File Your Articles of Organization
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Obtain an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Florida LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Florida LLC.
This should adhere to all relevant Florida naming regulations and be concise and catchy, ensuring it's easily discoverable by prospective clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for Florida LLCs:
- Your name must include “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 your LLC to obtain a specific business license or hire a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Florida LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from other businesses registered with the state. Changes in suffixes, articles (e.g., the, an, etc.), and punctuation do not make a name distinguishable.
- Names cannot imply that the LLC was formed for a purpose other than the ones listed in its Articles of Organization.
For a complete list of naming rules in Florida, we recommend checking out Florida’s official Naming Guidelines.
2. Is the name available in Florida?
Good names for businesses can be competitive to obtain. Before proceeding to the next step, you’ll need to confirm that your desired name is not already in use by another business entity by using the Sunbiz Florida Entity Name Search tool.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 120 days.
For more information, you can have a look at our Florida LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't have immediate plans to develop a business website, securing a domain early is essential to ensure that others can't claim it and can potentially save you considerable time and resources in the future.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you can select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process.
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FAQ: Naming a Florida LLC
You must follow the Florida limited liability company naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
Include "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 creating a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. We’ll help you find a unique name for your business and an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known as a fictitious name in Florida. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name, and you can accept checks and other payments under that name. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you want to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA in Florida guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Florida
After you’ve decided upon a name for your LLC, it’s time to elect a Florida registered agent. This is a necessary step in submitting your Articles of Organization (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC with the Florida Division of Corporations).
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving necessary tax forms, legal documents, notices of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. Your business’s registered agent essentially acts as your primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a corporation or a full-time resident of Florida — such as a registered agent service, business attorney, or individual within your company (e.g., yourself, etc.) — that is authorized to conduct business in the state.
It’s worth noting that, under Chapter 607 of the Florida Statutes, the registered agent you appoint must provide a written statement to the Florida Division of Corporations acknowledging that they understand and agree to fulfill the responsibilities of this position. This can be done in Article III of your Articles of Organization.
- If filing by mail, your registered agent must physically sign the document
- If filing online, your registered agent must enter their full name or give you permission to enter it on their behalf
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can be your Florida registered agent. Having said that, this is hardly ever the recommended option for small business owners.
Read more about being your own registered agent.
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.
Step 3: File Florida LLC Articles of Organization Online
To register your Florida LLC, you must file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. You can do this online or by mail.
Before filing, make sure you have completed your Articles of Organization correctly. You will need to have filled in the information:
- The name of your LLC
- The mailing address and principal office Address of Your LLC
- The name, address, and consent signature of your registered agent
- The names and addresses of each person authorized to manage the LLC (optional unless you’re a financial institution)
- The effective date (if it’s different from the date of filing)
- Any other special provisions
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Florida Department of State Sunbiz WebsiteFile Online
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by MailDownload Form
Florida 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 completing the form, visit our Florida Articles of Organization guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of Florida, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).
FAQ: Filing Florida LLC Documents
An LLC is called a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC, we are referring to a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Sunbiz is the primary online filing portal for starting and maintaining a business in the state of Florida. This service is offered by the Department of State’s Division of Corporations.
The filing fee to form an LLC in Florida is currently $125. This document formally registers your LLC with the Department of State.
Step 4: Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement to Protect Your Business
An operating agreement is not required for an LLC in Florida, but having one is a good practice.
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 LLC members are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
Read our Florida LLC operating agreement guide for more information on operating agreements.
FAQ: Creating a Florida LLC Operating Agreement
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference.
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Florida LLC
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It 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.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
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 IRSApply Online
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or FaxDownload Form
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a federal tax identification number that acts as a Social Security number for your business. This number is given out by the IRS, not the State of Florida.
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
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Maintain Your Florida LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC in Florida, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:
- Filing an annual report
- Sorting out your taxes
File an Annual Report
In order to maintain the active status of your Florida LLC, you’re required to file an annual report with the Florida Division of Corporations by May 1 of each year.
The purpose of this report is to keep the state updated with any important changes in your business information over the past year, such as your business’s name, registered agent address, etc.
You can submit your annual report, along with the $138.75 filing fee, online using Florida’s Annual Report-Sunbiz page. More detailed instructions on how to complete the process of filing your annual report can also be found on the Report-Sunbiz page.
Note: Filing your annual report on time keeps your LLC in good standing with the State of Florida. If you miss the initial deadline, you will need to pay a $400 penalty fine, and if this is still not paid by the third Friday of September your LLC will be dissolved.
Sort Out Your Taxes
As an LLC in Florida, you will likely need to pay taxes at the local, state, and federal levels. Having said that, this will depend on the nature of your business (e.g., industry, niche, number of employees, etc.).
Below, we’ve broken down the most common taxes in Florida:
Sales and Use Taxes
In Florida, sales tax is applied at a flat rate of 6% on the price of all tangible goods and taxable services sold within the state. Similarly, use tax must be paid on the consumption of a taxable good or service on which sales tax was not paid (e.g., buying a taxable item outside Florida and having it delivered to within the state.).
Florida counties are also entitled to levy their own additional “discretionary sales surcharge”, which applies to taxable items or services sold within its jurisdiction. Since these apply in addition to the general statewide rate, total sales tax can reach up to 7.5% depending on your LLC’s location.
While it is true that most physical goods are subject to these local and state sales tax rates, there are a few exceptions to this general rule that have their own unique rates, such as:
- Retail Sales of New Mobile Homes: 3%
- Amusement Machine Receipts: 4%
- Rental, Lease, or License of Commercial Real Property: 5.5%
- Electricity: 6.95%
Note: To be able to collect sales tax, your LLC will need to obtain a sales tax permit from the Florida Comptroller of Public Accounts if it plans to sell taxable goods or services.
Florida is extremely business-friendly when it comes to income taxes. Not only does it not have any state-level personal income tax, corporation tax is paid at a flat rate of 5.5% — which is far lower than most states.
This means that your LLC won’t be liable to pay state income tax on its net earnings unless you’ve elected to be taxed as a corporation. What this means for your LLC is that it won’t need to pay taxes on its income at a state level unless it’s elected to be taxed as a C Corporation or an S corporation — in which case it must pay corporate income tax.
Note: Regardless of whether or not your LLC owes any corporate income tax, if it has elected to be taxed as a C Corp, it will need to submit a return using Florida Form F-1120.
Business Privilege Taxes
Certain sectors and industries in Florida are regulated with a specific statewide tax or charge that LLCs must pay for the privilege of conducting particular business activities. Some of the most common ones present in Florida include:
- Fuel Tax
- Gross Receipts Tax on Dry Cleaning Businesses
- Motor Vehicle Warranty Fee
- New Tire Fee
- Prepaid Wireless Fee
- Secondhand Dealers and Secondary Metal Recyclers
Each of these taxes has its own set of details, such as rates, filing obligations, and possible exemptions. This makes it crucial to seek advice from an accountant in order to guarantee that your LLC stays compliant with Florida law.
Note: You can also find a complete list of all the statewide taxes on the Florida Department of Revenue website.
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort all required business licensing, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.
- LLC Cost Florida
- Florida LLC Taxes
- Florida LLC Operating Agreement
- Florida LLC Registered Agent
- Florida LLC Annual Report
- How to File Articles of Organization in Florida
- Florida LLC Name Search