How To Start an LLC In Florida

In Florida, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are the most popular business structures. According to the Florida Secretary of State Division of Corporations yearly statistics, out of a total of 669,679 business entity filing in 2022, LLCs accounted for 552,252 entities. Some of the catalysts for the popularity of LLCs in the state are the protections, advantages, and credibility that comes with owning an LLC. For instance, LLCs typically enjoy pass-through taxation like a corporation. An LLC also offers limited personal liability coverage to its members. 

The formation and operation of an LLC in Florida are governed by the provisions of the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act. Some of the steps needed to form an LLC in Florida are detailed in Section 605.0201 of the Act. These steps include and are not limited to the following steps:

What Is an LLC?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid business structure that has features of both a corporation and a partnership. In Florida, an LLC has the tax advantages, flexibility, and simplicity of a partnership with the liability protection of a corporation. The owners of an LLC are referred to as members. Members of a Florida LLC could include individuals and entities like companies and other LLCs. An LLC can have either a single member or multiple members. A Florida LLC with only one member is called a single-member limited liability company (SMLLC). Meanwhile, an LLC with more than one member is called a multi-member limited liability company (MMLLC).

As mentioned earlier, the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act dictates how LLCs are created and operated in the state. Under section 605.0902, foreign limited liability companies can conduct business in Florida provided they are registered with and have obtained a certificate of authority from the Division of Corporations. Foreign LLCs must complete and file the foreign LLC forms with the Division to do this. Meanwhile, domestic businesses must complete and file the Florida LLC forms with the Division to operate as an LLC in the state. LLCs operating in Florida are also subject to naming requirements under Section 605.0112 of the LLC Act. Per this section, the name of a limited liability company must contain the words “limited liability company” or the abbreviation “LLC” or “L.L.C,” amongst other naming requirements.

Florida LLC name search allows prospective LLC owners to verify that the name they choose for their Flordia LLC is unique and is not currently used by another registered entity. Per Section 605.0112 of the Florida LLC Act, an LLC name must be distinguishable from the names of other entities registered with the state’s Divison of Corporation. Other naming requirements of Florida LLCs specified in Section 605.0112 includes the following:

Interested persons can conduct a Florida LLC name search through the record search portal maintained by the Florida Division of Corporation. In addition to conducting a Florida LLC search, prospective LLC owners are advised to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trademark database. This should be done to ensure that the LLC name selected does not infringe on any registered trademarks. 

If the selected LLC name meets the state requirement and is currently available for use, an applicant can reserve the name for up to 120 days per Section 605.01125. An LLC name reservation can be made by submitting a letter containing the LLC name to be reserved, the applicant’s name, and their address to the Florida Secretary of State. Note that the SOS charges a $25 fee for LLC name reservations.  

Step 2: Choosing an LLC Registered Agent in Florida

Per Section 605.0113 of the Florida LLC Act, each limited liability company (domestic or foreign) operating in Florida must designate and continuously maintain a registered agent. 

Alongside a registered agent, LLCs are also required to maintain a registered office in the state.

The main responsibility of a registered agent is to act as a general point of contact that receives payment notifications, tax notices, and other business-related documents on an LLC’s behalf. Meanwhile, the registered office is the designated place where business-related documents can be sent to an LLC’s registered agent during regular business hours.

Under Section 605.0113, an LLC’s registered agent in Florida can be:

Interested persons can find the registered agents of entities in Florida through the Florida Division of Corporation record search portal. On the portal, users can conduct a name-based search for an entity to obtain information about the entity, including the name and address of its registered agent.

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC in Florida?

Pursuant to the provisions of the Florida LLC Act Section 605.0114, an LLC can complete and submit a Statement of Change (INHS18) form to change its registered agent. The form must be completed with the LLC, the old agent, and the new agent’s information. The completed form and the applicable fees may be submitted to the Registration Section of the Division of Corporations by mail or in person at:

Mailing address

Registration Section 

Division of Corporations 

P.O. Box 6327 

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Street Address: 

Registration Section 

Division of Corporations 

The Centre of Tallahassee 

2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810 

Tallahassee, FL 32303

Step 3: LLC Filing Requirements in Florida

The filing requirements of a Florida LLC include the following: 

If a business meets the aforementioned characteristics, its authorized representative can complete, sign, and file Articles of Organization FL LLC with the state’s Divison of Corporation to form an LLC

LLC Articles of Organization in Florida

Florida Articles of Organization is the legal form required to create a Florida limited liability company (LLC) or to correct rejected online filing. This form must be filed with the Divison of Corporation, and it contains information about the prospective LLC, such as the company name, address, purpose, management structure, and registered agent. The Divison of Corporation advises applicants to seek legal counsel to review their Articles of Organization before submission. Applicants can also review the instructions for filling Articles of Organization provided by the Divison for assistance in filing their form.  

Step 4: LLC Operating Agreement in Florida

A Florida LLC operating agreement is a legal document that details how an LLC will be operated and managed in the state. Amongst other things, an operating agreement regulates how an LLC’s profits are distributed among its members, how members contribute to the LLC, and how an LLC’s operating decisions are made. Although companies are not required to create or file operating agreements with the state of Florida, having one has several benefits. These include and are not limited to clarifying an LLC’s operational and procedural rules, protecting the LLC’s limited liability status, and avoiding the application of “default rules.”

Florida LLC Statement of Information

A Florida LLC statement of information is an annual report Florida LLCs must submit to update or confirm their records with the state’s Division of Corporations. This report is not a financial statement and must be filed yearly for an LLC to maintain an “active status” with the Florida Division of Corporation. An LLC’s statement of Information must be filed annually regardless of whether the LLC needs to make changes. The information in this statement is typically an LLC’s most recent data on file with the Division of Corporations.    

Do You Need a Florida Address for LLC?

Yes, Florida LLCs are generally required to provide a principal office address in their Article of Organization when registering with the state. Florida law requires an LLC’s principal office to be a street address, not a P.O. box. An LLC’s principal office address can refer to a home, office, or shop. Note that an LLC’s principal office address will be public records, which can sometimes be problematic for LLCs operating out of their member’s homes. To circumvent this, an LLC that operates out of its member’s home or that does not have a physical address can use addresses provided by a Florida registered agent service. Alternatively, an LLC can use a virtual office address as its principal office address. 

How To Get a Virtual Address for LLC in Florida

There are different virtual address providers LLCs in Florida can use to get a principal office address for their company. When selecting which provider to use, several factors should be considered. The reputation of a virtual office provider should be the main consideration. To confirm the reputation of a virtual office provider, LLC members can inquire through trusted associates who have used the services of virtual office providers. Alternatively, one can browse reviews on non-affiliated third-party review sites.

A virtual office provider’s prices and services they offered should also both be taken into account. Most providers offer secure online accounts, junk mail filtering services, same-day mail scans, phone service, office leases, and unique suite numbers. Some virtual office providers also offer meeting room access. One can choose the provider services that best suit their business model after comparing the costs and features of the various providers. 

How To File for an LLC in Florida

Interested parties in Florida can file for an LLC with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations by mail or online.

For filing submitted by mail, applicants must complete the Articles of Organization for Florida Limited Liability Company and mail it with the required fee to the Division of Corporations. In total, applicants are required to pay a $125 filing fee, $100 for the articles of organization form and $25 for registered agent designation. Applicants can pay an additional $30 for a certified copy of the document and $5 for a certificate of status. These fees are payable by check or money order. To file for an LLC by mail, send the aforementioned form and filing fee to: 

New Filing Section 

Division of Corporations 

P.O. Box 6327 

Tallahassee, FL 32314

It is unclear whether the Division of Corporation accepts LLC filing submissions in person. To make inquiries about this, interested persons can contact the Divison at:

The Centre of Tallahassee 

2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810 

Tallahassee, FL 32303 

Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

Phone – 850.245.6000 

Fax – 850.245.6014 

Note that all Florida LLCs (domestic and foreign) must file an annual report (known as a statement of information in other states) each year following their LLC filing date. The filing period for annual reports is from January 1st to May 1st each year. If an LLC fails to file its annual report, it will be administratively dissolved.

How To Create an LLC Online in Florida

The steps needed for creating an LLC online in Florida are as follows:

As previously indicated, Florida LLCs must file annual reports with the Divison of Corporations after successfully filling their Articles of Organization. From the date the LLC was formed, filing of this annual report would be required every year between January 1 and May 1. These annual reports are exclusively filed online through the Divison of Corporations Annual Report-Sunbiz website.

The Division of Corporations provides instructions for filing an annual report on their website that interested persons can review. The following information will be needed to complete the annual report:

Note that an LLC’s annual report filing fee is $138.75. Furthermore, for annual reports submitted after May 1st, the Division of Corporations assesses a $400 late fee. An additional $5 will be charged if an LLC wants a certificate of status for its annual report. 

Can You Have Multiple Businesses Under One LLC in Florida?

Yes, Florida statutes allow business owners to operate multiple businesses with different fictitious names or DBAs (“doing business as”) under one LLC. In Florida, there are no statutory limits on the number of DBAs that can be registered under an LLC. Each DBA must be registered individually and may require licenses and permits depending on the services or products it offers to operate legally in Florida. 

Note that there are certain drawbacks to running a business with DBA under an LLC. Most notably, registering a DBA under an LLC does not create a separate business or legal entity. This implies that the DBA and the LLC all share liabilities. Hence, an LLC can be held liable for the debts and obligations of the DBA registered under it. In other words, an LLC’s assets will be at risk if a DBA registered under it gets sued.  

How Long Does It Take To Set Up an LLC in Florida?

The time it takes to establish an LLC in Florida varies depending on the method an applicant uses to submit the necessary paperwork. Applications submitted online through the Division of Corporations website are processed between one (1) to two (2) business days. Meanwhile, applications submitted to the Division by mail are processed and approved between three (3) to four (4) weeks. However, the aforementioned timeframes are subject to unexpected changes.

Step 5: How To Get an EIN for LLC in Florida

Qualified persons can get an Employment Identification Number (EIN) by querying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). applicants can apply for an EIN through the IRS online, by mail, by fax, or by telephone. To apply online, use the EIN assistant website provided by the IRS. Applicants would be provided an online EIN application on the website to complete, following which an EIN would be issued immediately. To apply by mail or fax, complete the Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS at:

Internal Revenue Service 

Attn:  EIN Operation 

Cincinnati, OH 45999 

Fax: 855-641-6935

Applicants that do not have legal residence, principal place of business, or principal office or agency in the U.S should submit their application to:

Internal Revenue Service 

Attn:  EIN International Operation 

Cincinnati, OH  45999 

Fax: 855-215-1627 (within the U.S.) 

Fax: 304-707-9471 (outside the U.S.)

Only international applicants are allowed to apply for an EIN by telephone. To apply, international applicants can call 267-941-1099 (a non-toll-free number) between 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. 

Step 6: Do LLCs Pay Taxes in Florida?

Unlike most U.S. states, LLCs in Florida are typically not required to pay state income taxes, provided they are classified as partnerships or disregarded entities. However, certain types of LLCs are subject to the state corporate income/franchise tax for the privilege of conducting business, existing, or deriving income within Florida. State corporate income taxes are filed with and paid to the Florida Department of Revenue. 

How Are LLCs Taxed in Florida?

By default, most LLCs in Florida are considered pass-through tax entities. Hence, the state does not impose corporate income taxes on these LLC types. However, incorporated LLCs (an LLC classified as a corporation) must pay corporate income tax. Furthermore, LLCs classified as partnerships where one or more of its owners is a corporation and single-member LLCs owned directly or indirectly by a corporation are also subject to state income tax.  

Florida state corporate income taxes are reported using a Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Return (Florida Form F-1120). Note that qualifying Florida partnership LLCs report their corporate income taxes using Florida Partnership Information Return (Form F-1065). As of 2022, Florida’s corporate income tax rate is 5.5%. Corporate income taxes are typically due within the 1st day of the 4th month or 5th month following the close of the tax year. 

If a business can not meet the corporate tax due date, it can file Form F-7004 with the Florida Department of Revenue to receive a time extension. Extensions are typically valid for 6 months. Note businesses are subject to certain penalties for filing late tax returns. Interested persons can visit the state’s Department of Revenue Corporate Income Tax webpage for more information. 

Tax Benefits of an LLC in Florida

In Florida, Some of the tax benefits an LLC enjoys include and are not limited to the following:

Do You Have To Renew LLC Every Year in Florida?

No, Florida LLCs owners are not required to renew their LLCs yearly. In Florida, there is no set deadline beyond which an LLC expires according to state law. Hence, the life span of an LLC in Florida is indefinite, provided the LLC maintains an “active status” with the state Department of Corporations. To maintain an “active status,” Florida LLCs must file an annual report with the state Divison of Corporations. 

If an LLC fails to file its annual report on or before its due date, the LLC will be administratively dissolved or revoked. To reinstate an LLC, its owner must submit a reinstatement application and pay the required fees, such as the reinstatement and annual fees.

How Much Does It Cost To Start an LLC in Florida

The main requirements for starting an LLC in Florida are filing articles of organization with the Florida State Division of Corporations and appointing a registered agent. The application fee for filing an LLC’s Articles of Organization is $100 and $25 for registered agent designation, totaling $125. Applicants may also pay a $30 optional fee for a certified copy of their Articles of Organization and a $5 optional fee for a certificate of status. Which can bring the total up to $160.

Can You Form an LLC In Florida for Free?

No, businesses must typically pay a $125 application fee when filing a Florida LLC Articles of Organization, which forms an LLC. However, interested persons can use different ways to minimize costs when forming an LLC in Florida. Most notably, businesses can file their LLC formation documents instead of outsourcing their LLC formation filing process to third-party agencies. 

How To Start an LLC in Florida for Free/At Minimal Cost

One method a business owner can use to create a Florida LLC at minimal cost is to pay only the necessary expenses when registering a company to become an LLC. For instance, the Florida Division of Corporations only requires $100 for filing the Articles of Organization and $20 for registered agent designation when registering an LLC. All other fees ($30 for a certified copy and $5 for a Certificate of Status) are optional. 

Certain classifications of LLCs are also subject to annual state corporate income taxes. Florida LLC owners should opt against classifying their businesses as such entities (usually incorporated entities) to avoid the recurring annual corporate income tax. 

What Businesses Should Consider Forming an LLC in Florida?

In Florida, LLCs are most suitable for medium-or higher-risk businesses where the business owner(s) has significant personal assets they want to protect. Because LLCs offer it’s members limited liability coverage. Florida LLCs are also not required to follow corporate formalities, like conducting regular stockholder or management meetings, making LLCs ideal for businesses that have simple management structures.

What Are the Benefits of An LLC in Florida

Some of the benefits associated with operating an LLC in Florida include and are not limited to:

How Does an LLC Work in Florida

In Florida, an LLC is a hybrid business structure that has characteristics of both partnerships and corporate business structures. Florida LLCs enjoy pass-through taxation (like a partnership) and their members have limited liability coverage against their company’s debts and obligations (like a corporation). 

A unique feature that distinguishes LLCs from other types of business structures is the ability to choose how it wants to be taxed. Florida LLCs can be taxed as a pass-through entity (like a sole proprietorship or partnership) or corporation. Unlike other business structures, LLCs are also significantly flexible in their general structure. Florida LLCs may opt to operate as a single-member business (like a sole proprietorship) or a multi-member business (like a partnership or corporation).  

The only requirement for forming an LLC in Florida is filing Articles of Organization for Florida LLC with the State’s Divison of Corporations. To maintain an “active status” with the state, Florida LLCs must file annual reports subsequently with the Divison. Depending on how a Florida LLC is classified, it may also be required to file corporate income taxes. It is important for an LLC not to miss the due dates for filing its annual report, as the Division imposes a $400 late fee. LLC owners also risk their company being administratively dissolved or revoked when they do not file their annual reports.  

LLC VS S Corp in Florida

In Florida, an LLC is a business entity that is separate from its owner(s) and provides owner(s) with limited liability protection. Meanwhile, an S-corporation (S-crop) is a type of tax designation a business (typically corporations and LLCs) can hold. 

The primary differences between an LLC and an S corp are in taxation requirements and ownership restrictions. Depending on how an LLC is classified, it may be required to file Florida corporate income tax return. A Florida LLC must file a corporate tax return if it is classified as a corporation or partnership with one or more corporations as owners.  On the other hand, S-corporations typically have to pay corporate income taxes.  

Regarding ownership restrictions, Florida S companies are limited to a certain number of owners. An S corp can only have a maximum of 100 owners. Furthermore, an S corp can not have more than one class of shares/stocks. Meanwhile, a standard Florida LLC can have an unlimited number of members. However, note that an LLC often requires the consent of each of its existing members before it can accept new members.  

Business owners can classify their LLCs as an S corp to enjoy certain benefits.

For instance, S Crops can quickly generate capital for its operation by offering to sell corporate stock. Due to their reputation for credibility, S Crops are also more trusted than LLCs.

LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship in Florida 

A Sole Proprietorship is the easiest business structure to form because it is an unincorporated business. A sole proprietorship is owned and operated by a single individual (the sole proprietor). A sole proprietorship is not considered a separate entity from its owner. On the other hand, an LLC is a business structure independent of its owner(s). An LLC can be owned by a single or multiple persons/entities.    

In Florida, the ownership and liability structures of an LLC and a sole proprietorship differ significantly. A sole proprietorship can only be owned by a single individual, and it offers no liability protection to its owner. As such, sole proprietors are legally liable for their business’s debts and obligations. Meanwhile, an LLC provides limited personal liability coverage to its owner(s). An LLC can organize as either a single-member LLC or a multi-member LLC. Unlike a multi-member LLC, which is owned and run by at least two individuals or entities, a single-member LLC is owned and operated by a single person or entity.

Sole proprietorships are the most common among both business structure types (sole proprietorships and LLCs). Unlike an LLC, there are no requirements for setting up a sole proprietorship in Florida. To become a sole proprietor, one just needs to engage in any income-earning activity. On the other hand, a business must register with the State Divison of Corporations to become an LLC. 

There are some noteworthy benefits of owning a sole proprietorship over an LLC. For example, sole proprietorships are easier to set up (no registration required). A business owner must file Articles of Organization for Florida LLC and pay the required filing fee to register their business as an LLC. A Florida sole proprietorship is also not required to pay state Corporate Income Tax. However, depending on the owner or the classification of a Florida LLC, it may be required to file Corporate Income Tax annually. 

LLC vs. C Corporation in Florida

A C Corporation is a legal entity that exists separately from its owners. Meanwhile, an LLC is a business structure that allows a company to function like a corporation and a partnership hybrid. An LLC can operate as an entity managed and owned by a single person or multiple individuals and entities. A C corporation’s ownership structure consists of directors, officers, and shareholders with a stake in the company. Another noteworthy characteristic of a C corporation is its ability to have more than one class of stock.

To form a Florida LLC, a business owner needs to file Articles of Organization for Florida LLC and pay the required filing fee to the state Divison of Corporation. Meanwhile, depending on the type of corporation, an applicant may be required to file Articles of Incorporation (for profit) or Articles of Incorporation (nonprofit) with the Divison. Applicants must also pay the required C corp filings fees to the Divison. This fee is significantly lower than an LLC filing fee at $35, while the latter is $100. C Corp business structures are generally more suited for larger companies. 

Business License vs. LLC in Florida

A business license and an LLC perform entirely different functions. A business license is a form of authorization required by the Florida state government for certain businesses to operate legally in the state. Business licenses are usually associated with businesses that expose customers to potential hazards or require extensive training. On the other hand, an LLC is a type of business structure an applicant would need to file required documentation with the State Divison of Corporation to form.

Do I Need a Business Licence if I Have an LLC in Florida?

Depending on an LLC’s industry, location, or function, it may require a business license to operate in Florida. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issues business licenses for and regulates some industries/professions in Florida. Asbestos Contractors and Consultants, Athlete Agents, and Home Inspectors are some examples of professions whose business licenses are issued by DBPR. 

Other industries are regulated and licensed by different government agencies. For instance, the Board of Auctioneers regulates and licenses Florida auctioneers. Meanwhile, individuals or businesses that manufacture, import, export, store, distribute, or sell alcoholic beverages and products containing tobacco or nicotine must also obtain business licenses and permits. The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco issues these licenses. Per § 562.03 and § 562.06 of Florida Statutes, businesses that store and sell any alcoholic beverages in Florida require a business license. To determine if a specific type of business/profession requires a business license, interested persons can visit the license and regulation page of the DBPR. 

How To Dissolve an LLC in Florida  

Provided member(s) of a Florida LLC agrees to dissolve their LLC, they can file Articles of Dissolution with the state Divison of Corporation to legally dissolve the LLC. The Divison charges applicants a $25.00 filing fee for their Articles of Dissolution.

Applicants can file for dissolution either by mail or online. To file online, interested persons can use the DissolveLLC portal maintained by the Division of Corporation. For online filing fee payment, applicants can use their credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover), Debit card (Visa or MasterCard), or prepaid Sunbiz E-file account. Alternatively, applicants can download and complete the Articles of Dissolution form (PDF) and mail it with a check or money order payment for the filing fee. The Division’s mailing and street addresses are provided on the form. It takes two (2) to three (3) days for the Divison to process the dissolution.