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Division of Corporations: Doing Business in Florida SM

New Florida Minimum Wage effective January 1st 2013: $7.79 per hour.
http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/wages/minimumwage.htm

To receive a new Federal All-In-One© Poster, please visit the Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute.
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How to Start a Business in Florida

Thinking about starting a business or need information on how to start a business? Here are the steps to forming a new business in Florida!

  1. You will need to think up a name for your new company. A good name should be unique, yet tells what kind of business you are doing.
  2. Make a choice on what type of company you want to form. Do you want to:
    • File a DBA (fictitious name) to create a sole proprietorship or partnership?
    • Incorporate as a corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company)?
  3. Whatever you choose, you need to register your company with the state, county and obtain a bank account for the company. You are required to do these steps even if you have an online business or an at home business. For example, if you are doing booth sales regularly at a flea market or selling beauty products in an at home party setting you will need to take these steps.

Florida Business License – How to get a business license in Florida

Choosing a DBA Start a Business

  1. Register with the State: With a DBA/fictitious name you will be able to register the name with the state to conduct business with this name for the entire state. A lot of very small businesses choose this path, or those who are not sure if the company is going to fly and want to start small and work up to incorporating later.
  2. What to Consider: If you choose the DBA as your filing, then name you choose can be used by another company. So the name is not to you alone in Florida. The other thing to consider is that if you file a DBA, there is no limited liability. What this may mean to you is that if someone sued the company, your personal assets would be available in a lawsuit. If this is not a concern then a DBA would be fine.
  3. Legal Notice and Business License: Once you have the DBA filed with the state, then you will need to do a Legal Notice in a local newspaper, then obtain a business license with your county. A business license/occupational license or business tax receipt is required by most counties in Florida to have the legal ability to do have a business in that county. Check with your local tax collectors office to see what they require.

Choosing to Incorporate a Business

  1. Select a Name: If you choose to create a Corporation or LLC in Florida the name you choose must be unique. No other company can have the exact same name, so be creative and unique in the naming of your new business.
  2. How to Incorporate a Business? The first step to incorporating your business is choosing if you want to have an LLC or a corporation. Your accountant, tax preparer or bookkeeper may the best person to go to help you make this choice. An attorney is also an excellent choice for guidance. The formation of a company is an important decision so having this kind of assistance is very helpful in doing it right the first time.
  3. Articles of Incorporation: Once you have chosen the type, you would then file the Articles with the Florida Department of State to legally create the entity. You will need a company name, principal address (which must be a physical Florida address) and a mailing address for the company which can be a PO Box if you would like. You will also need the names and addresses of all the owners in the company as the state requires this information. An email address is also necessary to file with the state.
  4. EIN Filing: Your next step would be obtaining an EIN or Federal Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This is a unique tax ID for your new legal entity and needs to be used with any transactions for the company. Some people choose not to obtain an EIN for the LLC if it is a single member. This means they will have to use their Social Security number instead for all business transactions. All corporations have to obtain and use an EIN.
  5. Business License: The next step is the business license or occupational license with the county. A business license/occupational license or business tax receipt is required by most counties in Florida to have the legal ability to do have a business in that county. Check with your local tax collectors office to see what they require.
  6. Bank Account: The last step would be a bank account for the new company. You are required to have a bank for the LLC or corporation. All monies coming in and going out must go through the company bank account.

Once you have all these steps in place, either for a DBA/Fictitious name or if you want in incorporate as an LLC or a corporation then you are ready to begin your business and are legal in the state of Florida.

Florida Incorporation Service offers the following services:

  • Online registration of a DBA including information on the exact wording for the Legal Notice and the link to the counties for the business license. Start here.
  • Online registration of a new Florida LLC or corporation, including registration of the EIN on as well as the link to the counties for the business license. Start here.


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