An LLC is an uncomplicated business structure that affords business owners legal protection by separating personal assets from business debts. Moreover, LLCs often enjoy a lower tax rate than corporations. Nevertheless, creating an LLC can get complicated depending on where you are based, with the formation process, filing fees, and continuing legal obligations differing from state to state.

Here are the six essential steps to forming an LLC in Florida:

  1. Choose a name
  2. Designate a registered agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Draft an operating agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN
  6. File an annual report

If you want to form your LLC on your own, follow the step-by-step guide below. If you want to hire someone to save time and do it for you, then we recommend the following services.

Our picks for LLC formation services

ZenBusiness
  • Low cost
  • Quick turnaround
  • Expert service and support
Visit ZenBusiness
northwest logo Northwest Registered Agent
  • Same-day filing service
  • Affordable pricing
  • Strict ethical code
Visit Northwest
LegalZoom Logo LegalZoom
  • Simple setup
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Starting an LLC in Florida Step-by-Step

1. Select a name for your Florida LLC

Search the Florida Division of Corporations’ business name database to confirm that your chosen name is available for use in the state.

Follow naming requirements

There are two major guidelines to follow when naming your LLC in the state of Florida:

  1. An LLC’s name must be clearly distinguishable from the names of existing business entities on file with the Florida Division of Corporations.
  2. An LLC’s name is required to contain one of the following phrases or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “L.L.C.”, or “L.C.” The words “Company” and “Limited” may be substituted with the abbreviations “Co.” and “Ltd.”, respectively.

Need help coming up with a business name? Check out our free business name generator.

Reserve your LLC name

Unlike in most states, Florida does not allow people to reserve a business name prior to legally organizing an LLC.

Read more: How to perform a Florida business name search

2. Designate a registered agent

As in every U.S. state, forming an LLC in Florida requires the appointment of a registered agent service to handle state and federal legal documents and service of process on the business’s behalf.

Florida registered agent requirements:

  • Must be over the age of 18
  • Have a physical street address in Florida
  • Be available during regular business hours

Our picks of the best registered agent services

  • ZenBusiness: There’s no need to stress about filing paperwork when you work with ZenBusiness. This company offers a great variety of LLC services, the focus of which is to ensure your business is set up correctly with the proper paperwork filled out and delivered to the right branch of your state government. Of course, ZenBusiness does charge for their services, but customers say they get the most bang for their buck.
  • Northwest Registered Agent: Starting a business requires a lot of state-mandated paperwork, which can be confusing for new business owners. Northwest offers business services that can help entrepreneurs find the right documentation, fill it out, and file it on time with the right government agency. In addition to helping you set up an LLC, Northwest has a host of additional services, like registered agent services, that new owners will find useful too.
  • Bizee: Bizee offers a great library of material to help first-time business owners figure out what kind of business they should set up. From there, Bizee will aid with documentation and filing procedures and demystify terms like registered agent, articles of organization, and EIN. The company has a strong reputation and great reviews online, too.
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Read more:  How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Florida

3. File Articles of Organization

An LLC is officially organized in Florida by filing Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. This can be done online or by postal mail. The filing fee is $125; payment can be made by check, money order, or credit card.

Articles of Organization must provide the following details:

  • LLC name
  • LLC principal address
  • Registered agent’s name, address, and signature
  • LLC manager’s names and addresses
  • The date the LLC was formed
  • Members’ signatures
  • The duration of the LLC
  • The LLC’s Purpose
  • The name and signature of the person forming the LLC

Read more: What are Articles of Organization?

Foreign LLCs that intend to do business in Florida

File a Qualification of Foreign LLC with the Florida Division of Corporations and pay the $125 filing fee. When submitting the application, include a Certificate of Existence. The certificate must be dated within 90 days or less of the date of its filing with the Florida Division of Corporations. Foreign LLCs must also show proof of a bank account in the state.

4. Draft an operating agreement

Although not a legally mandated step for forming an LLC in Florida, drafting a comprehensive LLC operating agreement is strongly recommended for all nascent limited liability companies.

The operating agreement should do the following:

  1. Describe the LLC’s business structure
  2. Establish the individual responsibilities and obligations of LLC members
  3. Detail how the LLC will be run

Without an operating agreement clarifying the specific duties of its members, an LLC may face significant legal and operational difficulties.

5. Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) 

All newly formed LLCs in the United States must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (with the exception of single-member LLCs). The nine-digit EIN is like a social security number for a business and is necessary to pay income tax, file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and perform many other important functions.

You can apply for an EIN online on the IRS website without paying a filing fee.

6. Fulfill additional legal obligations

Annual reports

Florida LLCs and foreign LLCs doing business in the state are required to file an Annual Report to hold on to “Active” status. The initial annual report is due between January 1 and May 1 in the year following its organization. Filing can be completed online, and the fee is $138.75.

LLCs that file their annual report late will be required to pay a $400 late fee on top of the standard filing fee.

Read more: What is an annual report?

Register to pay state taxes

A percentage of Florida LLCs, including those that collect sales tax and those with employees, must register with the Florida Department of Revenue. In most cases, the registration process can be completed online or by filing a paper application through the mail or in person at the DOR office.

Check the Florida DOR website for a complete list of state taxes and fees that require businesses to register with the Department.

Obtain business licenses and permits

Some LLCs may be required to obtain one or more state or locally-issued business licenses, permits, or certifications depending on the nature of their business and the area in which they are located. Visit the MyFlorida.com website for detailed information on state business licenses, and consult with a city clerk in your municipality for information on fulfilling local regulations.

Read more: How to Get a Business License

7. File a BOI Report

Effective January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) mandates that most corporations, LLCs, and similar entities in the U.S. report their beneficial owners’ information to FinCEN. In Kansas, a beneficial owner is identified as someone with significant control or at least 25% ownership of the entity. Required information includes the owner’s name, birth date, address, and ID number from an approved document, along with its image.

Entities established or registered before the 2024 cutoff must file their initial reports by January 1, 2025.

For businesses formed in 2024, there is a 90-day window after confirmation of formation to file, while those established afterward have 30 days from their creation or registration date to comply. Filings are processed electronically via FinCEN’s BOI reporting portal.

Learn more about BOI Reporting.

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What to do after LLC approval

Start a business bank account

A business bank account is required for LLCs to start conducting business. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you start a low-risk bank account to start receiving income and paying any start-up expenses.

After the LLC has been established, your business bank account will be used for payroll, payment of bills, a deposit of earnings from your business, and any other financial transactions your business may have.

Read more: How to Open a Business Bank Account

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