If you have decided to open a business in the state of Florida, it is often most advantageous to open the business as an LLC.
The formation of an LLC in the state of Florida requires some registration steps to be completed. Until you have followed this process, your business will not be legally registered with the state.
If you are thinking about forming a limited liability company (LLC) in the state of Florida, you need to follow this guide.
What Are the Benefits of an LLC?
An LLC protects your personal assets from becoming entangled with your business during a lawsuit. Creating an LLC is an essential step in protecting your assets from the repercussions of legal action taken against the business.
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC
- Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent
- Step 3: Create and Submit the Articles of Organization
- Step 4: Receive a Certificate From the State
- Step 5: Create an Operating Agreement
- Step 6: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Costs to Set Up an LLC in Florida
- Last Steps
Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC
The name of your LLC has to meet certain qualifications to be registered in Florida. These are the considerations that you have to keep in mind:
- The name must be unique. You cannot select a name that has been used by another corporation or LLC in Florida.
- Your business name cannot be confused with another existing business name.
- Your LLC cannot be differentiated from another exact business name through the addition of articles like “a” or “the” or by adding identifiers like Co. or Inc. to the name.
- All LLC business names must include “L.L.C.”, “LLC”, or Limited Liability Company in the name.
- The business name cannot contain the word “Olympic”.
- The name cannot have anything to do with illegal activities.
- You cannot use words like agency, bureau, commission, department, division, board, or municipal in the company name.
You will need to make sure that your chosen business name has not been taken by another company in the state of Florida. You can use the Division of Corporations site to search for the state of Florida to verify that your business name is free to use.
It will cost you $50 to register a Florida DBA. This registration is valid for up to five years. The fee and the paperwork that need to be filed to hold the name you have chosen can be taken care of online or submitted by mail.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent
As with most states, Florida requires that each LLC designates a “registered agent”.
This person receives the tax forms for the business for the year and will also be responsible for the receipt of legal documents and the service of process for the company. The business owner can be the registered agent, or you can choose to work with a professional registered agent service for this need.
If you opt to be appointed as the registered agent, you will need to provide your home address. This is the reason that many people choose to use a service for this requirement. The fee for hiring someone to be your registered agent can range from $100 to around $300 a year.
Step 3: Create and Submit the Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization are a required document that must be submitted in order to register your LLC. This document needs to include the following information:
- The street and the mailing address of the LLC’s principal place of business
- Your LLC’s registered agent name, address, and signature
- The name and address of any and all managers for your LLC if you want to make a member-managed LLC
- The effective date of the LLC. This might be different from the filing date. The effective date can be as many as five business days prior to the filing date or 90 days after
- The signature of an authorized representative or member
- If you are creating a foreign LLC, you will need to fill out the Qualification of Foreign LLC form and file it with a certificate of good standing from the original filing state
The associated documents for articles of organization can be mailed to the Florida Division of Corporations in Tallahassee along with the $125 fee. You can also handle the entire Articles of Organization process online.
Step 4: Receive a Certificate from the State
When your applications and articles of organization have been processed, the state will send you formation documents and official notification that your business filing has been approved. This document is essential for tax purposes as it allows you to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It is also an essential document for getting LLC business licenses for your company and your business bank account.
Step 5: Create an Operating Agreement
You are not required to have a complete operating agreement in the state of Florida, although it is recommended. You do have to file an Articles of Organization document, which is a form that is provided by the Division or Corporations to business owners.
This is considered a required document in the state of Florida. Your operating agreement is considered legally binding and should be drafted correctly, as it could be required for court proceedings in the future.
The operating agreement is central to any LLC’s formation process. This document is used to determine who is responsible for which business duties and costs, and it also covers what happens if a business partner passes away or wants to sell their interest in the company. This document is intended to guide the business owners in the instance that there is a dispute about business operations as well.
Step 6: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Once you have received approval for your Articles of Organization, you will need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). This number is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is required so that you can file business taxes and submit annual reports to the Secretary of State. You also need this number to be able to hire employees, create vendor contracts, and open a business bank account in the name of your LLC.
This number serves as your business tax ID, sort of like your own personal social security number. When you have completed the form (SS-4) that is required for the EIN process, you will be given your EIN number immediately. The process to complete this application takes about 15 minutes. These handy filing instructions can be a big help when you are applying for your EIN.
Costs to Set Up an LLC in Florida
The cost of forming an LLC in the state of Florida will typically range from $125 to $200 in state filing fees. If you choose to use an attorney to help you create your LLC, you will need to pay them for this time as well. Annual reporting has associated fees that can run about $100-$500 in the state of Florida. There are also smaller fees that you might be assessed depending on the kind of business that you operate.
Once your LLC has been formed, you have some other necessary steps that you need to complete. You will want to open a business bank account first and foremost. This is an important step as it keeps your personal income separated from the business income. This also helps with bookkeeping at tax time. You will usually need all of your associated business documentation to apply for a business bank account.
Make sure that you secure permits and licensing as required for your kind of business in the state of Florida. These licenses and permits can vary based on where you do business and which county you live in.
Make sure that you are prepared to file taxes as well. You will want to consider hiring a skilled tax professional if you do not feel comfortable filing business taxes on your own.
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