Because of its simplicity and easy setup, a limited liability company (LLC), is one of the most preferred business entities.
Florida is a great state to set up an LLC. Florida LLCs are exempt from state income taxes and don’t have any restrictions on membership or management.
Although the process of creating an LLC in Florida can be time-consuming, it is actually much easier than you might think.
Once you have mastered how to register your company, choose a registered agent and file the articles of organization. You can also create an operating agreement and get an EIN. Your LLC will be up in no time.
This guide will show you how to start an LLC in Florida.
Top LLC Services for Starting a Florida LLC
How to Start an LLC in Florida
Many people are surprised to learn that choosing a name is the most difficult part of setting up a Florida LLC. It doesn’t take much time, money, or even travel to choose a name for your Florida LLC. You can do everything online, from the comfort of your home.
Once you have chosen a few names that best reflect your business’s purpose, you can search the Florida Division of Corporation’s database for LLC names. This database lists all state-registered LLC names, giving you a variety of options for your LLC.
A free website can be used to create a name for your Florida LLC. There are many name generators online today.
Name your LLC must not include abbreviations or words that could cause confusion with government agencies, such as the FBI or Treasury.
You may also need to submit additional paperwork or a licensed professional to allow you to use certain words such as Bank, University, and Attorney.
While choosing a name for your Florida LLC name is the easiest part of the process, it can be more difficult to register the name. After you have chosen a name that you like and verified its availability, you will need to register your Florida LLC. This can be time-consuming.
You will need to file the necessary documents with Florida’s Business Division, which is usually the Secretary Of State, in order to properly form an LLC. You risk sending misinformation to the state by filling out the online form. This could negatively impact your business and result in you receiving a rejection letter.
Registering forms can be complicated and mistakes are inevitable for beginners. There are many LLC services available today to make it easier for you to register your LLC.
Step 1: Choose a Name For Your Florida LLC
First, choose a name for your LLC. A business can’t exist without one. It is much easier to have a name already in mind. If you don’t have a name in mind, we will walk you through the steps to choose the right LLC name.
This is a crucial step because it will reflect your business’s ultimate goal. So choose wisely.
You can quickly do that through the Florida Department of State’s business entity search engine.
Make a list of possible names
You can choose from a variety of names, so it’s easier to pick a name than to have one in mind. Make a list of every name that is compatible with your business’s purpose. These are some tips to help you create your list.
- Be descriptive
- Keep it simple
- Avoid your name
- Strive for simple spelling
Your Florida LLC must be named with the phrase “limited liability corporation” or one of its abbreviations, LLC or L.L.C. This phrase is what differentiates your business from an S and C Corporation, Nonprofits, and Sole Proprietorships–which all have different protection and structure.
You can use a free business name generator if you are having trouble coming up with a name for your business.
Incfile provides this service with high-powered AI. You can search for a name that you like and find it immediately.
Verify Domain Availability
This step is optional but I recommend that you check if your business name can be used as a website domain. The best way to ensure your website matches your LLC name is to have one. If you search first for a domain name and it is available, it is likely that it will also be available to use as a business name.
To check domain availability and claim one via Incfile you will need to purchase the Platinum Package valued at $424.
- Package Fee: $299
- State fee: $125
The best thing about this package? It allows you to organize all forms and an operating agreement while also giving you access to business contract templates, expedited filing, and a domain with a business email.
Although you can search for domain names free of charge on many hosting sites, remember that domains will still need to be paid for. The next step is to search for a Florida domain name.
Check Name Availability
You want to ensure that no one else has registered the name you desire for your LLC, just like when searching for a domain.
The Incfile Business Name Search tool allows you to check the availability of your chosen business name. The tool is free but you will need to provide additional information such as your name, email address, and entity type. This can make it time-consuming for some.
You can also visit the Florida Division of Corporation’s database for business names. You can also visit the Florida Division of Corporations business name search database. This database is free but takes a lot longer. It’s only Florida-specific so you just need to enter your desired business name.
It is important to verify that the desired LLC name is available. The state may deny you documentation if your company is filed with an already-in-use name.
Protect your name with a trademark
A trademark can protect your LLC name and ensure that it is protected by federal law. Trademarks ensure that there is legal precedent for anyone who uses your name or similar.
A trademark should only be purchased if your goal is to expand your business nationwide. There are fees involved.
Business trademarks are typically priced between $225 and $400, which includes attorney fees and a 10-year renewal charge.
Step 2: Select a registered agent
To secure your LLC, you will need a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or business that can send and receive legal documents on behalf of your company. Each LLC should have a registered agent because it acts as a permanent physical presence here in Florida.
First hover over File with Your State, then click Get a Registered Agent. This will allow you to enter your contact information and company information so Incfile can locate the right registered agent for you. The Business Dashboard will open, where you can see the name and address of your agent.
Renew your agent
It is important to renew your registered agent every year. Northwest Registered Agent offers registered agent service for free for the first year with their $39 LLC formation plan, but you’ll need to pay $125 for each subsequent year.
Step 3: Submit the Florida LLC Articles of Organization
Articles of organization, which are formal documents that allow you to create an LLC and make it legal, are what you need. You can’t open a business without them. These documents can be filed online, by mail or through an LLC service.
Review and organize your LLC information
You should organize and review your business information before you file your documents. The articles of organization for a Florida LLC require the following information.
- Your LLC’s name and principal address
- Name and address of the registered agent (P.O. Boxes are not acceptable)
- Signature of a registered agent
- Each LLC member’s street address and name
- Name and street address for the LLC manager
- The date of filing or the effective date of the LLC
- Signature of the person who completed the form
To file articles of organization, there is a $125 fee. It takes approximately four weeks. It takes approximately five business days to file your Incfile expedited filing.
Florida’s compliance requirements require that the articles of the organization be reviewed each year and filed on the 1st of May for $139.
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for an LLC, according to Florida law. An operating agreement is something I highly recommend you and your LLC members drafting. Operating agreements are essential for your day-to-day operations, ownership structure, as well as member roles. It is a vital, living document that operates your company.
Information to organize your agreement
Similar to your articles of organization you will need to organize all information before you draft and file these legal documents. The following information should be included in an operating agreement:
- The purpose of an LLC includes services and products
- Names and addresses of managers and members
- The LLC is enriched by the contributions of each member
- Each member has a share of the business and voting rights.
- The process for admitting new members
- How to elect a manager
- The LLC’s meeting and voting schedules
- Procedures and terms for dissolution
Incfile allows you to create an agreement
Incfile makes it easy to create an operating agreement. This service can be purchased through the Gold or Platinum packages.
Incfile’s legal professionals will review your information and create an operating agreement that is error-free and meets the needs of your LLC members. Incfile can help you save time and money, especially if you are an entrepreneur with a limited budget.
All members must sign the agreement
You must ensure that all members have reviewed and signed the LLC operating agreement after you have created it. Signing ensures that everyone is on the exact same page. This will prevent any future disputes or injustices.
Step 5: Get an EIN
The last step in the process is to apply for an Employer Identification Number. An EIN is a nine-digit unique number that you can use to identify your company and keep track tax reporting. EINs can be applied for through Incfile or the IRS website.
These are the quick steps for both platforms.
Request an EIN from the IRS
It is easy and cost-free to request an EIN online from the IRS. The IRS will redirect you to this webpage after you have clicked Apply Online Now on the IRS website.
As your legal structure, choose Limited Liability Company. Inadvertently choosing another business structure will result in different rules and questions. The IRS will then ask about your location and members. This page should look something like this:
The next step is to add the right number of members to your LLC. Make sure Florida is selected as the location. Next, you will need to answer a series of questions about why you want an EIN. Most likely, it is because you are starting your own business.
The authentication process will ask who is the responsible party for the LLC, as well as a few questions about the responsible person.
These steps make it easy to complete the IRS form. However, it is important that you get all of this information right the first time. If the IRS form is too complicated or long, you can request an EIN through Incfile.
FAQs About Forming an LLC in Florida
What is the average time it takes to register a Florida LLC.
The processing time for filing an LLC in Florida may vary depending on whether you have missing forms. Complete applications typically take between two and fifteen days. The Division of Corporations website has current processing times. This shows how long it takes to get your articles approved. For faster processing, you can mail your application to Tallahassee’s division office. However, Florida does not offer any expedited services.
Can I open an LLC in Florida free of charge?
No. No. You can’t start an LLC in Florida without paying a fee. To get started, you will need to pay the $100 filing fees and $25 registration agent fee. This is not something you need to do through a third party. You can save money by filing directly with Division of Corporations.
How can I dissolve an LLC in Florida?
There is a process to establish an LLC in Florida. But there’s another way to end it. You can send your Articles of Dissolution online. You can also mail the printed documents with your payment information.
How can I add a Florida LLC member?
Follow the procedures in your operating agreement to add a Florida member to your LLC. Florida statutes require that all members vote in the new member if they don’t have one. A meeting of all members should be held to vote on the amendments to the operating agreement. The members can vote in the new member and amend the operating agreement to reflect that. You can notify the state by submitting an amended annual report. You can amend your articles of association if you have not filed an annual report in the past.
How can I change the name of my Florida LLC?
First, check that your LLC’s name is not already registered with the Division of Corporations before you change it. If it is, vote for members, to change the name. Once approved, you can file articles of the amendment at the Division of Corporations. This can be done for $25. After the name change is approved, you can use it for business purposes.
How can I add a DBA in Florida to my LLC?
Although a DBA is not necessary to form an LLC, it can be filed if the LLC uses a new name for business purposes. You can file the form by using your LLC’s owner ID at the Division Of Corporations. A DBA is required in Florida. It costs $50. Multiple DBAs can be filed for your business.
How do I renew my Florida LLC?
You will need to file an annual report each year with the Florida Division of Corporations. The annual report is $138.75 and includes updates to the current address, registered agent, and member information. To renew your business with the state, there is no franchise tax fee.
Business808, a renowned consulting organization that aids startups in scaling and growing, is led by Andy Brooks as Editor-in-Chief.
Andy has over 12 years of consulting experience and is a pro at creating and managing profitable businesses. He has experience working with several LLCs and Registered Agent services and has a degree in business management. He has assisted clients in achieving their objectives.
In addition to writing for Business808, Andy is a well-known author and speaker, and an active contributor to several online business publications, imparting his knowledge on how to grow an LLC.