When starting a new business in Florida, you will need to examine state, county, and municipal regulations on obtaining a business license. Your type of business, business structure, and location will impact your licensing obligations in the state of Florida. For general information about starting a new business in the Sunshine State, visit its official economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. Below are some specific licensing issues for you to consider as you start your new business.
- Obtaining General Business Licenses. In Florida, you will need a general business license, called a business tax receipt, if you provide goods and/or services to the general public whether you are operating your new business at home or in a separate commercial location. Business tax receipts are obtained by registering with the relevant tax collector’s office. Typically, county tax collectors provide business tax receipts, but if your business is situated within a municipality, you may also need a city business tax receipt, depending upon your location. You can contact your county tax collector for further information by clicking on the appropriate county at the Florida Department of Revenue website. Depending upon the location of your business, you may be able to submit your registration application online, by postal mail, or in-person. Costs of a business tax receipt will vary depending upon the county, the type of business involved, and its environmental, zoning, and regulatory impact on the county. Although the required information differs between counties and municipalities, usually one must provide your name, the fictitious name of your business, if applicable, any corporate documents, your federal tax ID number, a copy of your Social Security card, your industry code under the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), and evidence of any professional or commercial certifications or licenses required in your field.
- Additional Licensing for Regulated Professions and Businesses. Depending upon your industry, your business may also be a regulated profession or business which must be licensed through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. For example, if you offer manicure services for compensation you must obtain a license from the state’s Board of Cosmetology aside from your business tax receipt. For some professions, you can apply and update your licenses online at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can also check there to determine if your business has additional state licensing requirements.
- Fictitious Name Registration Filing. In some instances, a business will operate under a fictitious name or doing business as (DBA), which means a company name other than their legal name. For example, XYZ Company may want to run its child care business as WeeCare so it must apply for and renew its fictitious name with the Florida Department of State. This can be done online or downloaded and mailed from a form you can obtain at the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations website. Once your fictitious name has been approved, your company may use this name to transact business throughout the state of Florida.