Our Step By Step Guide

How to form a limited liability company in Florida

Forming a limited liability company provides liability protection for any type of business, and should be among the first steps you take as a new business owner. Starting a limited liability company can help you protect your personal assets while adding legitimacy to your company. Follow our step by step guide or let us handle the paperwork on your behalf, ensuring your business is filed quickly and accurately.

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Why start your business in Florida?

The Sunshine State makes it a breeze to form an Corporation in Florida. Metro areas, such as the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, have ranked high for the amount of new business created in these cities. As the fourth largest economy in the nation, small businesses in Florida make up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ more than 3.3 million employees. The benefits to starting a business in Florida keep adding up, since small businesses that form an Corporation in Florida do not have to pay income or state tax. Qualifying startups may also apply for a wide range of small business grants and programs for local Florida businesses.

Plus, pleasant weather year-round attracts tourists from all over the country - who may be your new customers! If all of this sounds like a win-win to you, here's how to form an Corporation in Florida.

Two Ways to Register Your Business

MyCorporation® can help you file all of the necessary documents to form your limited liability company in Florida.

File and submit the formation paperwork yourself

Our free guide provides you with all of the information you'll need to form your limited liability company in Florida. Bookmark this page as a reference so you can return easily as you complete each step of the process.

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Let MyCorporation handle the formation process for you.

Our filing experts can get you up and running quickly and accurately, completing the required filings on your behalf.

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See other business types

Are you looking for another entity type? We offer several other guides for the state of Florida.

One of the first decisions you'll need to make as a new business owner is which type of entity you will form for your business. While each business type offers its own benefits, forming an LLC (limited liability company) is one of the most popular choices made by new business owners across the United States. An LLC is a relatively new type of legal business formation, considered a hybrid entity, combining the pass-through taxation and simple operation of sole proprietorship with the limited liability protection provided by a corporation.

One of the main reasons for the growing popularity of the LLC in Florida is its simple setup and flexible structure. An LLC is also considered the easiest type of entity to maintain with the least number of annual requirements. Plus, income from the business is passed directly to its owners as regular income, making taxes much easier for an LLC, which can help you lowering your tax preparation costs each year.

The Benefits of an LLC

  • Protect your Personal Assets
    Starting a business designates your business as a separate legal entity, preventing you from being personally responsible for the debts of your business.
  • Build Credibility
    Establishing a professional identity provides the benefit of showing potential customers and investors that your business is legitimate and here to stay.
  • Simple Management
    Limited liability companies are less formal and require fewer annual / maintenance requirements than other common entity types, making it a popular choice for small business owners.

Compare the main entity types below

Entity Type
Liability
Taxation
Maintenance
Limited Liability Company Combines limited liability protection with a pass-through tax structure. IRS rules allow LLCs to choose between being taxed as partnership or corporation. The easiest entity to maintain with the least amount of formal annual requirements.
Corporation Owners / shareholders have limited personal liability for business related debts. Separate taxable entity, corporate profits among owners and corporation. Meetings are required to maintain corporate status. Stock may be sold to raise capital.
Non-Profit Corporation A corporation formed for a charitable, educational, religious, literary, or scientic purpose. Contributions to charitable corporation are tax-deductible. Can get tax exempt status with the IRS. Annual reports, minutes, meetings are required to maintain nonprofit / tax exempt status.
Tip: Try our free entity choice tool. Answer a few simple multiple choice questions about your business, and our tool can recommend the entity type that best fits the needs of your business.

The next step will be to decide on a name for your business. Choose a name that is memorable and unique, easy to understand and pronounce, and accurately represents your business. You'll want to search your name choices on the web to quickly find out if they are already taken. It's also best to jot down one or two alternatives, in case the name you settle on is not available for registration in Florida.

There are a few rules that Florida limited liability companies must follow in order to register a name.

  • The name you choose must be unique and not "confusingly similar" to the name of any other Florida business. This is to prevent fraud or misrepresentation and is a common rule in all 50 states. You can find out whether a name is available in Florida by searching the Florida Division of Corporations business entity and trademark database for possible conflicts. Be sure to check variations or alternate spellings as well, otherwise your filing may be rejected. In a pinch, you can use MyCorporation's business name search service, where we will conduct a more thorough search on your behalf and report back our findings. Plus, MyCorporation includes a business name search for free when we complete your LLC filings on your behalf!
  • Your business name must include the words "Limited Liability Company," or "LLC."
  • The name registered must be advertised in a newspaper located in the county of your principal place of business. This advertisement must be done at least once for a Florida LLC. You can learn more about business name entity rules and regulations in the Florida Name Registration guide provided by the Florida Department of State.
Tip: A business name check is included with every one of our business formation packages. We check with the state to determine the availability of your business name automatically. You can also conduct a nationwide business name search here.

There are two options to choose from when it comes to setting up your limited liability company in Florida. "Member managed" or "manager managed". The first thing you need to know is that owners of any LLC are referred to as "members". A single member LLC has just one owner, while a multi-member LLC is an LLC owned by 2 or more members. Pretty simple, right?

Florida LLCs also must also designate one or more individuals to manage the day to day operations of the business. This can be handled by one of the members of the business (member managed, the most popular choice and the default in most states), or a professional manager appointed by the members to act on their behalf (manager managed).

While the differences are subtle, what you really need to know is that each member in a member managed LLC has the power to make decisions for the business. However, in a manager managed LLC, the members choose who will manage the business and relinquish all of the decision making to the manager chosen. The person chosen can be one of the members of the business as well, or it can be someone else entirely.

Most states require that you designate a registered agent for your business, and Florida is no exception. A registered agent acts as the state's means to communicate with a business and is responsible for receiving legal and official documents related to the business.

A registered agent can be anyone you wish, with one small caveat. The registered agent must have a physical address in Florida. In other words, a P.O. Box is not allowed as a registered agent address. This means a member of the limited liability company can act as the registered agent if desired, or a third-party registered agent service like MyCorporation can be used.

Why designate a third party to act as my registered agent?

It should be noted that registered agent information is made publicly available. This can cause privacy concerns for business owners who do not wish to list their personal contact information on the internet for everyone to see. It is also common for the registered agent to become a target of spam or robocalls since this private information is relatively easy to obtain. Another issue that may arise is that in the case of a lawsuit, these documents would be hand delivered directly to the registered agent, and in the case that you used your business location for this purpose, this could occur in front of your customers. This is why many business owners opt for a third-party registered agent service such as MyCorporation to act as a registered agent on behalf of their business.

Another issue that may arise is that in the case of a lawsuit, these documents would be hand delivered directly to the registered agent. In the case that you used your business location for this purpose, this could occur in front of your customers. This is why many business owners opt for a third-party registered agent service such as MyCorporation to act as a registered agent on behalf of their business.

Tip: Our Deluxe and Premium formation packages include a full year of registered agent services for your business. We also offer standalone registered agent services which you can add to your business later.

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MyCorporation® takes the guess work out of starting your business. Answer a few simple questions, and our filing experts will take care of the rest.

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You will need to file Articles of Organization in Florida to order to form an LLC. Articles of Organization may be filed online or by mail. They include basic information about the Florida LLC including the company name, business address, mailing address, registered agent name and address, the LLC's purpose, effective date of the LLC, and signature of at least one individual acting as an authorized representative. Please remember that there are new Florida LLC fees for filing Articles of Organization. As of 2019, the filing fee is $100 and must be included with your application.

What information should be included in the Articles of Organization?

As noted above, information required in the Articles of Organization covers basic information as it pertains to the Florida LLC.

Within 120 days of filing the Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State, an LLC must publish a copy, classified ad, or public notice related to the LLC formation at least once in a newspaper located in the LLC's home county for six consecutive weeks.

The statement must include:

  • The name of the LLC and the Florida Department of State file number
  • The name and address of the registered agent
  • The address of the principal office of the business
  • The mailing address of the business (if different from the principal office)
  • The names and addresses of the managers or members and the CEO of the business
  • The principal business activity and/or business purpose of the Florida LLC

Remember that only basic contact details and general information about the business is required.

After formation, the state of Florida requires an LLC to create an operating agreement. This agreement needs to be written, and should be kept with the company's records.

What kind of information needs to be included in a Florida operating agreement?

Operating agreements are required in Florida and are important to laying the foundation of a properly run business. An operating agreement sets guidelines for the way your business operates now and into the future. Common details in an operating agreement include the following:

  • Basic contact details: The name of the LLC, the address of the principal business location and often, the registered agent address.
  • The business purpose: This is a basic one sentence description of what kind of business your LLC will do, and is often a very general description, which creates a bit more flexibility as the business matures.
  • Tax structure: Often this indicates the way the LLC will choose to be taxed. The main options are to be taxed as a sole proprietor or a partnership ( both pass through options ) or to be taxed as a corporation ( which requires an S Corp Election to be filed )
  • Ownership and management: This section lays out the general rules about how the business will operate day to day. This refers to step 3, where you determined whether your business would be "manager managed" or "member managed". As mentioned before, member managed is the default and the most common choice. If you are unsure, member managed is a pretty safe bet.
Tip: All of our formation packages include a sample operating agreement you can use directly, or modify to fit your needs. Start Now

Nearly all industries require a license from the State of Florida. All businesses are required to file for a general business license or permit. If you plan on operating your business in multiple cities, you will need to apply for a business license in each location. In addition to the general business license, some additional permits may be required, which may need to be filed with the county or the state.

Two licensing agencies for skilled trades for Florida LLCs to know about include the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). You can learn more about the specific licenses applicable to your business by checking with the city offices where you will conduct business, or by using MyCorporation's business license compliance package. Our skilled professionals will do the work for you. We identify all of the licenses required by your business and provide you with the information you need in order to file.

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MyCorporation® takes the guess work out of starting your business. Answer a few simple questions, and our filing experts will take care of the rest.

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An EIN (also called a Federal Tax Id) is a nine-digit number that is issued by the IRS and used to uniquely identify your business for tax purposes. Think of it as a Social Security Number (SSN) for your business, except an EIN is far less sensitive. It is important to wait until the LLC has been approved by the state before applying, and for that reason, filing for an EIN is one of the last things to do when you are setting up a business.

Like a social security number, the EIN allows you to:

  • Open business checking, savings, or investment accounts
  • File taxes for the business
  • Complete payroll for employees if applicable
  • Obtain lines of credit and credit cards, as well as "build credit" for your business
  • Apply for applicable business licenses when required.

You only need a few pieces of information to file including your mailing address and legal business name. You can apply online with the IRS by downloading IRS Form SS-4, or work alongside a third party organization like MyCorporation to complete an EIN application.

limited liability company Formation Packages

Save money and simplify the process of starting your business by bundling the services you need with our business formation packages.

BASICS
$99
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
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STANDARD
$124
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
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DELUXE
$224
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
  • Registered Agent services
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Frequently asked questions

In Florida, if your profession requires state licensing, you would incorporate your business as a Professional Service Limited Liability Company (PLLC). This often includes doctors, lawyers, therapists, and other professions where state licensure is required.

A PLLC is different than a Professional Corporation (PC), which consists of shareholders that own company stock and has different tax implications. Florida allows licensed professionals the opportunity to form both a PLLC and PC, if desired. PLLCs are usually more popular, as they require less effort to build and operate.

Generally, this can include the following professions:

  • Accounting
  • Acupuncture
  • Architecture
  • Chiropractic
  • Clinical social work
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Marriage, family, and child counseling
  • Medicine
  • Speech-language pathology and audiology
  • Nursing
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Shorthand court reporters

According to the Florida Department of State, LLC filing documents are processed in the order received when filed online and by mail. Check in on the document processing dates by document and entity type on the Florida Department of State's website for updated processing dates made online and through the mail.

Annual reports for Florida LLCs are due between January 1 and May 1 each year to avoid late fees. Information required before filing with the Florida Department of State includes your document number and a valid form of payment for the filing fee. This may include a credit card, debit card, or check and/or money order. If your payment is late after May 1, the state of Florida will impose a $400 late fee on your LLC. This fee is also applicable to for-profit corporations and limited partnerships.

In order to form an LLC in Florida, you will be required to pay various fees for services. The breakdown of the required fees is as follows:

  • Filing Fee - $100
  • Registered Agent Designation - $25
  • Certified Copy - $30
  • Certificate of Status - $5

In total, expect to set aside at least $160 to form an LLC in Florida.

Businesses organized in other states can foreign qualify to conduct business in Florida. Follow the instructions in the Florida Department of State's application to request for a foreign Corporation to transact business in Florida. Check in with the Florida Department of State for the correct filing fee with your application.