How to form an LLC in Florida: Unpack the process of starting an LLC in Florida with our insightful guide. Learn to choose a unique business name, file the Articles of Organization, appoint a Registered Agent, and obtain an EIN.
Gain familiarity with Florida-specific requirements to ensure your new business flourishes.
Form an LLC in Florida for $0 + state fee
To form an LLC in Florida for free + state fee, we have listed 3 options to consider:
You can go online and visit the Florida Secretary of State’s website and do it yourself or you can use the ‘free’ service from Incfile or ZenBusiness.
Want to Keep Things More Private?
- Northwest $39 + state fee ‘Privacy by Default’
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Florida LLC Summary
If you’re looking to form an LLC in Florida, the process begins by visiting the Sunbiz website, the state’s official platform for business registration.
Here, you can find the state of Florida LLC registration form, and fill it out with all necessary information.
As you progress with the application, you might ask yourself, “How long does it take to form an LLC in Florida?”
The timeframe can vary, but it typically takes around 5-7 business days for the Florida Department of State to process the documents.
If you’re interested in how to start an LLC in Florida for free, you should note that while there are some costs associated with starting an LLC, like the state filing fee, you can save money by handling the formation process yourself instead of hiring an attorney or a service.
After submitting your form, you can check the status of your LLC in Florida via the Sunbiz website as well.
Keep in mind that while forming an LLC in Florida can be straightforward, it’s important to properly manage your entity’s legal, financial, and operational affairs to maintain its limited liability protections.
Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC
The first step in forming an LLC in Florida is to select a unique and distinguishable name for your business.
Make sure the name you choose complies with Florida’s naming requirements. It should include the words “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or an abbreviation of either.
Step 2: Check Name Availability
Before proceeding, verify the availability of your chosen LLC name. Conduct a search on the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations website or use a reliable online business name search tool.
It’s important to ensure that no other business is using the same or a similar name.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization
Prepare and file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
The articles outline essential information about your LLC, such as its name, address, registered agent, and management structure. You can file the articles online or by mail.
Step 4: Designate a Florida Registered Agent
Every LLC in Florida must have a registered agent who receives legal and official documents on behalf of the company.
The registered agent must have a physical address in Florida. You can choose to be your own registered agent or hire a professional registered agent service.
Step 5: Create an LLC Operating Agreement
Although not required by Florida law, it is highly recommended to create an operating agreement for your LLC.
This agreement outlines the ownership, management, and operating procedures of your company.
It helps establish clear guidelines and prevent potential disputes among members.
Step 6: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses
Depending on your business type and industry, you may need to obtain specific permits and licenses to operate legally in Florida.
Research the requirements for your particular business activities and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.
Step 7: File for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your LLC for tax purposes.
You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, and it’s usually a straightforward process.
Step 8: Understand Ongoing Compliance Obligations
After forming your LLC, be aware of the ongoing compliance requirements in Florida. This includes filing annual reports, maintaining accurate records, and fulfilling any tax obligations.
Florida government websites that provide information and resources for forming an LLC in Florida:
Florida Division of Corporations – LLC Filing:
- Link: https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/start-business/efile/florida-limited-liability-company-llc/
- Description: This page provides guidance on how to file the Articles of Organization for an LLC in Florida through the Florida Division of Corporations.
Florida Division of Corporations – Name Availability Search:
- Link: https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/start-business/search-records/name-availability/
- Description: Use this link to search for the availability of your desired LLC name in Florida through the Division of Corporations’ Name Availability search tool.
Florida Department of State – Forms, Fees, and Filing Options:
- Link: https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/start-business/forms/
- Description: This page provides access to various forms, fees, and filing options related to forming an LLC in Florida, including the Articles of Organization.
Florida Department of State – Registered Agents:
- Link: https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/start-business/registered-agents/
- Description: Here, you can find information about registered agents in Florida, including requirements, responsibilities, and guidelines for selecting or becoming a registered agent for your LLC.
Florida Business Tips
Forming an LLC in Florida involves several key steps and considerations. To begin, you must complete the necessary paperwork and filings to form an LLC in Florida.
Conducting a thorough Florida LLC name search is crucial to ensure that your desired business name is available and meets the state’s requirements and get your Florida entity name registered. Additionally, drafting a Florida LLC operating agreement is essential as it outlines the internal management structure and operational guidelines for your LLC.
While you have the option to be your own registered agent in Florida, many entrepreneurs opt to enlist the services of professional registered agents for their expertise and convenience. The length of time it takes to get an LLC in Florida can vary depending on various factors such as processing times and the complexity of your application.
Alongside the formation process, you’ll need to obtain a Florida Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, which is necessary for tax purposes. To streamline the process and ensure compliance, it is advisable to seek the assistance of the top-rated LLC services in Florida and the best registered agents in Florida, who can guide you through the process and handle the necessary documentation.
Moreover, it’s essential to consider any required business licenses in Florida specific to your industry and location. Understanding the associated costs to form an LLC in Florida is crucial, as it includes filing fees and potentially additional expenses based on the services you require.
If you need information on getting a Florida resale certificate, we have that.
Lastly, if you ever need to change your Florida registered agent or dissolve an LLC in Florida, it’s important to follow the state’s dissolution procedures to conclude your business operations effectively.
Extended Version and Guide
Learn how to form an LLC in Florida. Get all the information you need to create a limited liability company online in Florida.
This guide to creating an LLC in Florida includes step-by-step directions on how to file documents, get tax IDs, and set up company records.
Forming an LLC in Florida – Overview
You’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations to create a Florida LLC.
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.
If you want to use an LLC formation service, visit our list of the best LLC services in Florida.
Florida Business Resources
Florida LLC – A Step-by-Step Guide
This page will provide you with all the necessary steps to do a Florida entity name search, draft a Florida LLC operating agreement, and answer questions like, can I be my own registered agent in Florida? and how long does it take to get a Florida LLC? and ensure your Florida LLC is properly formed.
LLCs are the most commonly used business structure. This is because they are relatively inexpensive to create, give owners flexibility, and are easy for them to run.
An LLC is a way to legally create your business. This will also limit your personal liability and allow you to be tax flexible.
Let’s get started on the steps.
Check Name Availability
Your LLC’s legal address may not conflict with any other registered title. A name search can help you find out if your name is available.
Florida Department of State Division of Corporations
Name Reservation Optional Suffix:
“(1) The title of a limited responsibility company: (a). Must contain the words, “limited liability”, or the abbreviation L.L.C., or “LLC” to indicate that it’s a limited risk company and not a natural persons, partnership, corporation, or other business entity.
Appoint a Florida Registered Agent
Before you can create your Florida LLC legally, you need to decide who your Florida registered agent will be. A registered agent is the business’s legal representative to receive legal notices.
State law requires that every LLC have a registered representative. The registered representative is named when you file Florida Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations and the Florida Department of State.
Florida Certificates of Formation
Fill out the articles of incorporation to establish your limited liability company.
Agency: Florida Department of State Division of Corporations Form:
Articles of Organization
Filing Method Mail or Agency Fee $125 Turnaround: Usually takes between 1-3 and 7 days to place an order online. 8-17 Days via mail Law:
2013 Florida Statues. Chapter 61: Professional Service Corporations and Limited Liability Companies
Notes: You must include the state prescribed cover letter, the original articles, and a printed copy of the articles when you file by mail.
Establish Company Records
Your LLC must have accurate and complete books and records. Your LLC’s original articles of organization will be the first document you keep. Your LLC will create many other official documents such as:
- Minutes of the meeting
- Operating Agreement
- EIN verification letter
- Amendments and other filings of the LLC during its lifetime
Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement
It is possible to use a template to draft a Florida LLC operating agreement. This document will serve as the governing document. It specifies the legalities of the LLC’s operation, including the annual meeting. At your organizational meeting, you will read and agree to the agreement.
Hold the Organizational Meeting
The organizational meeting, which is the initial meeting of LLC members, is the most important. You’ll need your operating agreements and filed articles to hold this meeting. Keep the minutes of the meeting.
Get a federal employer identification number (EIN)
EINs are required if an LLC has more members than one or plans to hire employees. EINs can also be required to open a bank or other financial account.
Agency: Internal Revenue Service Form:
Filing Method Mail, phone, and fax. Online. IRS fee $0 Turnaround: Available online and by phone immediately By fax, it takes four business working days. 4-5 Weeks by mail Notes: The IRS website cannot be accessed outside of certain hours. Before closing your session close, print your eIN. You can also refer to IRS P 1635: Understanding the EIN.
Get Florida State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts
Florida offers a consolidated application for state tax registration.
- Send an email to:
Florida Department of Revenue
Form DR-1: Florida Business Tax Application
Florida Department of Revenue. Start Kit for New Business Owners
- Filing Method
- Email or
- $0 + $50 for sales tax registration (if any)
Consider Electing C-Corp and C-Corp Taxation
Your LLC will be subject to passthrough taxation by default. However, most LLCs continue to keep this tax type. Some LLCs are eligible to elect S-Corp or C-Corp Tax Treatment.
- S-Corp can help owners-employees making more than 75,000 per year to save on self-employment income taxes.
- C-Corps face double taxation. First, the corporation pays income taxes, and then the members pay distribution taxes. C-Corp treatment may allow you to benefit from low tax rates on retained earnings if you have more than $250,000 in profits per owner.
How to get a Business License & Permit
It is necessary to obtain the required licenses and permits in order to legally operate your business. It’s easy to navigate through the large number of state, federal, and local requirements by searching for your business type using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit lookup tool.
Florida Business License
Florida does NOT require licensure as a general business license.
Florida does NOT have a general license for business at the state level. However, licenses from local authorities are often required.
To Maintain Your LLC, You Need to Continue Ongoing Filings
You must file your federal and state taxes returns.
A lot of states also require businesses to file an annual statement to maintain good standing before the secretary. Below is a table that explains an annual report for Florida LLCs.
Florida Corporation Annual Report Requirements:
Agency: Florida Department of State Division of Corporations Form: Online filing is necessary Filing Method Online. Agency Fee $150 Due: Annually, May 1 Law:
Florida Statutes SS 6007.1622.
Penalties: $400 late charge Notes:
- Anyone with authority may apply.
Florida LLC FAQs
What is the cost to form an LLC in Florida?
Florida’s state fees range from $125 up to $175 for LLC formation. This depends on whether or not you get a fictitious company name. The fees can change, so double-check the SOS website to see the most current fee schedule.
What are the advantages of an LLC in Florida?
Florida offers many business options, including LLCs. Most entrepreneurs prefer to form LLCs over any other type of business. About 90% choose an LLC. LLCs offer many attractive benefits, including those that are more appealing than limited partnerships and corporations.
You’ll enjoy the following benefits by forming an LLC:
- Personal asset protection: You will have a separate liability from your business.
- Avoid double taxation: Personal taxes will be paid only, not corporate taxes.
- Flexible management: You don’t need to have a board or meet annually, unlike corporations.
- LLCs require less reporting than corporations.
An LLC may be a better choice for you than a corporation.
Do I have to file an operating agreement?
No. The Florida operating agreement must be kept by the managers and owners. Although some states require LLCs to have an operating agreement, Florida is not.
How can I change the ownership of an LLC located in Florida?
Your operating agreement is the governance document for your LLC. It outlines who owns it and what other members are responsible for.
You must amend your operating agreement to change the ownership. You will need to notify the state of ownership by amending your Articles of Organization or updating information in your Florida annual report.
Can a Florida LLC operate in other states?
While your Florida LLC may do business in other states, you will need to register as an LLC in foreign countries.
Additional paperwork is required to register as a foreign corporation. This can vary depending upon the state you want to establish as your foreign LLC.
Can I change my LLC’s name in Florida?
It is easy to change the name of your Florida LLC. You simply need to file the Articles of Amendment and Articles of Organization at the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. You will need to pay a small fee.
How can I get rid of a Florida member of an LLC?
You will need to first review your Articles of Organization (or Florida LLC Operating Agreement) before you can remove a member of your Florida LLC. These documents will outline how your company handles LLC members being removed. Before you can remove another member, you may need to obtain consent from them.
After the member is voted out, it’s time to amend or create a new agreement. If you are replacing a member, make sure you have included the new member’s duties, responsibilities, and allocations. It is possible that you will need to amend the Articles of Organization.
How can I dissolve an LLC in Florida?
The Florida Department of State Division of Corporations requires you to file an Articles of Dissolution form and the required filing fee if you feel it is time for your Florida limited liability company to dissolve.
You will need to pay a filing fee when you file the form. Allow two to three days for your paperwork processing to take place after you have filed.
Which tax structure should I use for my Florida LLC?
It will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your LLC. Most LLCs choose the default tax status. This means that owners of the LLC are subject to tax at the federal and state levels on their individual returns. The LLC is not subject to tax as an entity.
However, Florida doesn’t have an income tax. The owner is responsible for only paying the company’s profit federal income taxes.
An LLC may also opt to be taxed like a corporation. This option has some advantages for certain LLCs. However, it is important to carefully review the details of each option to decide which one is best for your business.
Is Florida allowed to have a series LLC?
A Series LLC is a grouping of LLCs that operate under the same “parent” entity.
Although each entity is independent, entrepreneurs often choose to be part of the parent structure to allow them to create multiple companies and explore new avenues without having to risk the success of another.
Only a handful of states have yet to adopt Series LLC laws, none of them being Florida.
What is the difference in forming a PLLC Florida?
The same procedure will be followed when you create a professional limited liability corporation (PLLC) for Florida. You will however specify that the company is a PLLC by using the P.L.L.C. Chartered Professional Limited Liability Company or PLLC.
What licenses and insurance requirements are necessary for Florida?
Florida doesn’t require general business licenses, but specific permits and licenses may be required depending on the industry and location of your business.
It is important to find out what licensing requirements your Florida LLC has in federal, state and local terms.
This type of research is difficult because no single place can check if you have all the licenses and permits you are legally required to have.
Insurance is a complex business. The types of insurance you need will depend on how many people you have and what industry you work in.
More information can be found on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website. You should consult an insurance agent to determine the best option for you.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org