How to Form an LLC in Florida

Everything you need to know to start an LLC in Florida.

Here are the steps you need to take to form an LLC in Florida. For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see Nolo's article How to Form an LLC.

  1. Choose a name for your LLC.
  2. Appoint a registered agent.
  3. File articles of organization.
  4. Prepare an operating agreement.
  5. Comply with tax and regulatory requirements.
  6. File annual reports.

1. Choose a Name for Your LLC

Under Florida law, an LLC name must contain the words "Limited Company" or "Limited Liability Company," or the abbreviations "L.C." or "L.L.C." The word "Limited" can be shortened to "Ltd." and "Company" may be abbreviated as "Co."

Your LLC’s name must be recognizably different from the names of other business entities already on file with the Florida Division of Corporations. Names may be checked for availability by searching the Department of State, Division of Corporations business name database. You can not reserve a name before organizing your LLC.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

Every Florida LLC must have an agent for service of process in the state. This is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on the LLC’s behalf if it is sued. The registered agent must have a physical street address in Florida.

3. File Articles of Organization

A Florida LLC is created by filing Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. The articles must include the address of the LLC's principal office, the name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent, the names and addresses of the LLC’s managers, and certain other basic information. The articles may be filed online or by mail.

4. Prepare an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is not required in Florida, but is highly advisable. This is an internal document that establishes how your LLC will be run, including how the LLC will be managed. In the absence of an operating agreement, state LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.

5. Comply With Tax and Regulatory Requirements

Additional tax and regulatory requirements may apply to your LLC. These may include:

EIN: If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN), even if it has no employees. If you form a one-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN for it only if it will have employees or you elect to have it taxed as a corporation. You may obtain an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website.

Business Licenses: Depending on its type of business and where it is located, your LLC may need to obtain other local and state business licenses. On the state’s MyFlorida.com website you can find more information about business licenses. See Nolo's article How to Get a Small Business License in Florida.

Register with Department of Revenue: In some cases, for example if you will be selling goods and collecting sales tax or if you have employees, you’ll need to register with the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). For most state tax purposes, you can register either online or on paper (using Form DR-1, Florida Business Tax Application). For more information on Florida LLC tax registration, see Nolo's article Florida LLC Annual Filing Requirements.

6. File Annual Reports

All Florida LLCs must file an Annual Report yearly to maintain “active” status. The first report is due in the year following formation. The report must be filed online between January 1st and May 1st.

All of the paperwork and procedural steps to start a limited liability company in Florida can be done online using Nolo's Florida Online LLC Formation application.

7. Foreign LLCs Doing Business in Florida

All LLCs organized outside of Florida must register with the Florida Secretary of State to do business in Florida. To register, file a Qualification of Foreign LLC with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.

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