Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: August 12, 2023

Creating a Florida  LLC is an easy process, whether you're a starting or an experienced entrepreneur. Navigating the legalities of the formation process needs proper guidance.

As an expert with well-versed years of experience forming an LLC in Florida, I'll have compiled expert guidance and insights to help you with your Florida LLC formation.

This article will provide a concise and informative guide tailored specifically to help you seamlessly start your LLC in Florida. We’ll also talk about the advantages of each step to give you a solid understanding and confidence needed to proceed.

Quick Summary

  • Starting a limited liability company involves several key steps, including choosing a unique and compliant business name, and filing the Articles of Organization
  • Florida offers a business-friendly environment with low taxes and favorable regulations, making it a good state to start an LLC
  • While the process is straightforward, it requires careful consideration and adherence to legal requirements

1. Choose the Type of Your Florida LLC

Working table with documents and files

You can structure LLC in Florida in three ways:

  • As an S or C corporation, which is taxed separately from the company's profits
  • As more than one member LLC, with different members having specified management rights on day-to-day business decisions and profit distribution
  • Or as a single-member LLC

Single-member LLCs provide flexibility because the member is responsible for all company activities.

They are taxed as disregarded business entities and report income on the owner's personal tax returns.

LLCs with more than one member offer flexibility in decision-making while protecting from personal liability for lawsuits against other business partners or employees.

However, it can be difficult for LLCs with more than one member to make decisions because members will have different opinions and goals.

Additionally, multi-member LLCs don't file taxes as LLCs in Florida. Instead, all LLC members pay taxes individually. This means that this type of business structure offers better personal asset protection.

Lastly, a C corporation is taxed separately from the company's profits and may have a higher tax rate than other business structures.

2. Choose a Name for Your Florida LLC

Collection of documents containing names of Florida LLC

Any business entity, like an LLC in Florida, needs its name. This is the first crucial step of forming an LLC. However, you should always look up an LLC in Florida and see if the chosen name is available.

Your Florida business name should be unique and not violate any of Florida's laws prohibiting specific terms from being used in business names.

Here are some guidelines to help you choose a suitable name for your LLC:

  • Uniqueness: Select a distinctive name that differentiates your LLC from other businesses. Avoid generic or commonly used terms that may confuse customers.
  • Relevance: Consider a name that aligns with your business objectives, products, or services. 
  • Simplicity: Opt for a name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. 
  • Professionalism: Aim for a name that conveys professionalism and credibility. It should instill confidence in your customers and stakeholders.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure your chosen name complies with Florida's LLC naming rules.
  • Availability: Before finalizing your name, check the availability of your chosen business name by searching the Florida Division of Corporations' official business website [1].

Florida has laws prohibiting certain terms from being used in business names. These include:

  • Alcoholic Beverages - the words "alcohol" or "liquor."
  • Savings and Loan Associations - any term related to savings, such as "savings," "bank," etc.
  • Funeral Homes – any word containing "funeral" or "mortuary."

For a detailed list of prohibited terms, consult the Division of Corporations.

3. Find a Registered Agent Service

A business person talking to an agent

If you're setting up an LLC in Florida, finding a good Florida-registered agent service is important before taking the next steps.

An LLC's own registered agent service handles some of the legal, administrative, and tax-related paperwork for your business on your behalf.

The services that are provided can vary depending on the provider, but they often include:

  • Handling state and/or local taxes by filing the appropriate forms
  • Handling routine tasks like receiving official mail, handling legal documents and forwarding them to the correct recipient, and updating your company's information in various databases
  • Receiving bank statements on behalf of your LLC so you can keep track of its financial status, including the business credit card

Whether it's worth paying a registered agent depends on your needs. If you're a small business owner with limited needs, you may be able to handle everything on your own.

If you're unsure whether it's worth the investment, ask a business accountant for their opinion.

4. File Florida Articles of Organization

Writing signature on a contract

The Florida LLC Articles of Organization is a document that contains the name and address of your LLC in Florida, as well as information about directors (the people who run your business), LLC capitalization (what type of company you are), and what kinds of shares, exist in this Florida Company.

You can file the Florida Articles of Organization online with the Florida Department of State.

If you file your Florida Articles online, there will also be a $25 fee to comply with Florida laws for e-filing services.

5. Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement

Agreement between two parties

An LLC operating agreement is a document that establishes the rules for how an LLC will be managed.

The operating agreement typically includes the following provisions:

  • The legal name of the LLC, its principal place of business, and the effective date of the agreement
  • What percentage of ownership each member has in the company
  • Who can make decisions on behalf of the company or have voting rights at meetings (e.g., managers, board members)
  • How are meetings conducted, and by whom
  • How profits and losses will be allocated among the members
  • What happens if a member chooses to sell or transfer their ownership in the company
  • Whether members will bear any future expenses
  • Address the procedures for dissolution and liquidation of the LLC

An LLC operating agreement is not required, but it is highly recommended.

When creating an operating agreement, consulting with a qualified attorney specializing in business law is highly recommended. This ensures the agreement complies with Florida state laws and addresses your LLC's specific needs and objectives.

You may also check out these reputable LLC formation services in Florida that can assist you in launching your firm starting from $0.

6. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

A form application to register employer identification

Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is essential for businesses operating in Florida State.

EINs are issued by the IRS and allow businesses to have a unique number used for:

  • Filing tax returns
  • Hiring employees 
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Applying for certain business licenses and permits

You can obtain the EIN online, by mail, fax, or telephone application.

If you prefer to apply by mail or fax, you’ll download Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, from the IRS website.

You’ll also need the following details during the application:

  • The legal name of the business entity
  • Trade name, if applicable
  • Business address
  • Type of entity (e.g., corporation, partnership, LLC)
  • Reason for applying (e.g., starting a new business, hiring employees)
  • Principal activity or product of the business
  • Number of employees (if applicable)
  • Name and SSN/ITIN of the responsible party (person authorized to receive the EIN)

Once you obtain the EIN, you can file tax returns, open a business bank account, and complete other legal and financial documents.

7. File your Florida LLC Annual Report

Printed and soft copy of a business report

Every LLC in Florida is required to file an annual report with the Florida Department of State.

The usual fee for filing a Florida annual report is $138.75.

You can file the annual report by mail or online through the Division of Corporations.

To file your Florida LLC annual report, follow these steps:

  • Access the Florida Division of Corporations Website
  • Locate the Annual Report Filing Section
  • Provide Required Information
  • Review and Confirm Accuracy
  • Submit the Annual Report

The annual report must be filed by May 1st of each year, following the year your LLC was formed.

Failure to file annual reports will result in a late filing fee ($400), and the report may not be accepted as filed if it is overdue.


Does Florida Have an Annual LLC Fee?

Florida has an annual LLC fee. Florida law requires an annual filing report from every LLC in Florida. The filing fee is $138.75, and there are additional fees if professional limited liability company owners fail to file the report in due time.

Is Florida a Good State to Start an LLC?

Florida is a good state to start an LLC. According to the US Census Bureau, Florida has a 6.00 percent sales tax rate. The individual income and sales taxes are also low enough.

Florida also has business-friendly regulations and a robust economy, creating a more favorable environment for business owners.

How Long Does It Take Sunbiz to Approve LLC in Florida?

It takes Sunbiz approximately 5 business days to approve an LLC in Florida. The time will, however, vary depending on additional requirements or workload. Most LLCs get approved within 24 hours or less than a week to get a Florida LLCs business license.

Do I Need to Renew My LLC Every Year in Florida?

You must renew your LLC every year in Florida. This process involves submitting a renewal form, fee, and tax report.

The LLC must be registered for the current year with Florida Sunbiz before submitting an annual renewal application to avoid late filing fees.

Is Setting Up an LLC in Florida a Straightforward Process?

Setting up an LLC in Florida is a straightforward process, but it is not easy. As aspiring LLC owners, it takes some time and effort to decide on several things before the LLC can start operating in Florida.

However, Florida's business-friendly environment and streamlined procedures make it relatively easy to establish an LLC. Follow the steps, from selecting a unique business name to filing the required documents with the Division of Corporations.

You can also seek professional guidance from ZenBusiness to easily navigate the legal requirements and establish your venture in Florida.

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