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How To Start An LLC In Florida

How To Start An LLC In Florida

If you are a Sunshine City resident and want to learn how to start an LLC in Florida, you will love this guide.

Starting an LLC in Florida isn't as daunting as it seems.

You don't need thousands of dollars to start an LLC in Florida. Heaps of paperwork aren't a requirement, either. Perhaps you also think you need a big board of highly qualified company directors for LLC Florida registration. Nope, that's unnecessary too.

Creating an LLC in Florida is simpler than you think.

Here's how to do it step by step.

What Is An LLC?

Let's start by asking an essential but vital question: what is an LLC?

In short, a limited liability company or LLC is a business structure that protects the owners from taking personal responsibility for the company's debts or liabilities. It shields your assets, such as your house or car, should the business get sued. 

Limited liability companies have flexible structures. This business entity can be a sole proprietorship or a partnership. 

Here are the two types of LLCs:

Single Member LLC

As the name implies, a single member LLC is owned 100% by one person. As a single member limited liability company, you must create an explicit clause on paying yourself from an LLC. 

The law regards a single member limited liability company as a disregarded entity LLC. This means the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn't tax your LLC as a separate entity from you as the owner.

Multiple Member LLC

A multiple member LLC (MMLLC) has two or more owners who split shares among each other. The business is a separate legal entity from its owners. There is no limit to the number of MMLLC members.

MMLLCs members can be corporations, individuals, or other LLCs. MMLLCs provide the flexibility of a partnership with the asset protection of a corporation.

4 LLC Florida Benefits To Take Advantage Of

Is doing business as a limited liability company in Florida worth it?

Here are four reasons you should launch an LLC in the Sunshine State.

Cheaper LLC Taxes

LLC taxes can be prohibitive. 

They can eat into your profits, leaving you with very little disposable income you can use to grow your business. 

Thanks to Florida's corporate income tax law changes in the 1990s, LLCs in the state don't pay taxes. The Florida tax system regards multiple member LLCs as a partnership. Partnerships in Florida are non-taxable entities, while single member LLCs are treated as a disregarded entity which is also not subject to Florida's corporate income tax.

Operational And Structural Flexibility

Another LLC Florida advantage is flexibility.

You can do virtually anything you want in the way you run your business. In terms of structure, you can run your business as a sole proprietor, rope in some partners, and operate as a multiple member LLC. You can customize members' voting powers, distribution rights, profit-and-loss allocations, and more. 

There are no legal obligations for annual shareholder or directors' meetings, as with corporate companies. Plus, you can change LLC how you run your business by simply editing the operating agreement. You don't have to amend the articles of organization.

Protection Of Personal Assets

One more benefit of a Florida LLC is that it protects your assets.

If you start an LLC in Florida, the law treats your assets as separate from your business. So, if your company gets sued or incurs serious debts that need to be recovered, all your assets will be safe. 

No one can touch your car, house, and other property. The business has to face the music, not you.

Lucrative

You want to get into business to make money, right?

If you learn how to open an LLC in Florida and get your business going there, you can strike it rich. The Florida state economy is the fourth-largest in the United States. According to Statista, Florida's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is worth a juicy 1.03 trillion U.S. dollars. You can get a piece of the pie if your LLC Florida application gets approved and you launch a company in the Sunshine State.

With these benefits in mind, let's explore how to get an LLC in Florida.

How To Open An LLC In Florida

Here are five straightforward steps on how to set up an LLC in Florida.

Pick A Name For Your Florida LLC

To register LLC in Florida, start by creating a name for your business.

The name must be unique. It must be catchy and distinct from the thousands of business names registered with the Florida Division of Corporations. You can conduct a name availability search on the Division of Corporations website.

You can search by:

  • Entity name
  • Registered Agent
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Trademark name
  • ZIP code
  • Street address

Here are other considerations you must keep in mind when coining your Florida limited liability company name;

  • Avoid using disallowed words like State Department, Treasury, CIA, or FBI. Naming laws bar the use of these terms because they might mislead the public.
  • Make sure your company domain name is available and buy it immediately. Securing your domain name will help in your online marketing efforts.
  • Secure your name by filing your article of organization immediately, so no one snatches it from you. Unlike other states, you cannot reserve a company name in Florida.
  • Use naming tools to brainstorm and come up with tons of Florida LLC name suggestions at the click of a button.

Choose A Florida Registered Agent

Secondly, Florida laws demand you appoint a registered agent for your LLC.

A registered agent or RA is a person or business entity authorized to receive service of process and other official documents on behalf of your LLC. Any subpoenas, lawsuit papers, and other legal notices come via your registered agent.

Your agent must meet these requirements:

  • Registered with the Florida Division Of Corporations.
  • Have a Florida street address.
  • The agent must be available to accept documents during regular business hours.

The Florida Division of Corporations allows you to act as the Registered Agent for your business as long as you meet the requirements.

File Articles Of Organization

Next, to apply for a LLC in Florida, prepare and file articles of organization for your business.

Articles of organization is a formal legal document that outlines essential details about your business, such as:

  • Your LLC name.
  • The type of business you will conduct.
  • Name and address of your Florida registered agent. Note that they don't allow a P.O. Box address. 
  • The place your business will operate from.
  • The duties and rights of your Florida LLC members.
  • Management structure: will the LLC be managed by members or a manager?
  • Other inclusions are how long the LLC will exist and the conditions for closing an LLC.

Once you've drafted the articles of organization, you must sign them. Your Florida registered agent must also sign. Once you are done, submit the articles.

Collect The LLC Formation Certificate From The State

After you have submitted the articles of organization, if everything is in order, the Florida state office will issue a certificate.

The certificate confirms that your limited liability company is now an officially recognized legal entity. You will also receive an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN allows you to:

  • Get a business account and business licenses.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Hire employees for your LLC.
  • Register your LLC with the state's tax agency.

Get The Required Business Licenses If Needed

Not all limited liability companies need business licenses to operate in Florida. But some do. 

So you must research if the type of business you want to launch needs licensing. The idea is to get everything right from the onset.

You need a federal license to operate in the industries below.

  • Agriculture
  • Commercial fisheries 
  • Mining and drilling
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Agriculture
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
  • Aviation
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Maritime transportation

How Much Is An LLC In Florida?

Let's now move on to state fees for establishing a limited liability company in Florida.

Filing for a Florida LLC is reasonable. You don't have to break the bank to pay Florida LLC registration fee. So, how much does it cost to set up an LLC in Florida?

The Florida LLC cost is only $125.

You must fork out a $100 filing fee, the exact cost of starting an LLC in Michigan. On top of that, you pay the mandatory $25 registered agent fee for a total of $125.

The fee is reasonable compared to LLC license registration costs in other states. For instance, starting LLC in Texas will set you back a hefty $300.

How Long Does It Take For LLC Approval In Florida?

Let's now answer another vital question: how long does it take to form an LLC in Florida?

Knowing the expected timelines is essential because it'll help you plan and execute your business launch successfully. 

Florida LLC approval times differ according to filing type.

  • Online filings

Are you in a hurry to launch your Florida LLC? Then file your LLC online because that's the fastest filing method. Online filing approvals for Florida LLCs take only 1-2 business days. That's because you can download your papers straightaway on approval. You don't need to wait for them while they are in transit.

  • Snail mail filings

The second filing method is regular mail. As expected, mail approval times are much slower than online filings. Florida LLC approvals submitted by mail can take up to a month or three weeks at the earliest. It takes longer because it includes LLC application Florida processing and standard mail transit time.

How To Apply For LLC In Florida Online

Our tutorial on how to set up a Florida LLC is incomplete if it doesn't touch on how to do online filing.

Since online filing is fast, it's the most convenient filing method for most people.

Here's how to file for LLC in Florida online in five steps:

  • Review the instructions for filing the articles of organization.
  • Gather all information required to complete the form.
  • Fill in the online form.
  • Pay with a valid form of payment. Valid forms of payment include credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover), debit cards (Visa or MasterCard logo), or a Prepaid Sunbiz E-File Account.
  • Sign the form and submit it.

If you receive a payment receipt from noreply@egov.com, your submission was successful. The Florida Division Of Corporations sends the payment confirmation to the email address you provided. 

That, my friend, is how to form an LLC in Florida. Unlike other states, Florida doesn't require you to file an operating agreement to create an LLC in Florida. But since an operating agreement covers vital issues on how you will run your business, it would be helpful to create one to ensure you cover all the bases related to your LLCs performance.

How To Create An LLC In Florida: It’s Easier Than You Think

LLC formation in Florida isn't rocket science.

Yes, it involves many steps, but it's pretty straightforward. It boils down to these five simple steps:

  • Name your Florida LLC.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • File articles of organization.
  • Collect the LLC formation certificate from the state.
  • Get the required business licenses if needed.

You've stalled for too long on the idea of launching a Florida LLC. Take advantage of the lucrative opportunity to start a flourishing limited liability company in Florida. It's time to unleash your entrepreneurial dream. 

Follow these tips to start a profitable LLC that racks in the big bucks.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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