How to Start a Business in Florida


Florida, the Sunshine State and home to nearly 20 million people is one of the most popular places in the U.S. to start a business. If you are considering starting a business in Florida, you’ll find everything from small-town charm to bustling downtowns and cosmopolitan cities with international appeal. The state’s warm climate and diverse geography have made it an attractive place for businesses to relocate or enter for the first time. However, there are many steps involved in starting any new venture—regardless of where in America it’s located! In this article, we’ll walk through what it takes to start up a business in Florida.

Choose a Legal Structure

The legal structure you choose for your business will play a major role in the financial and tax status of your company. There are five basic forms of business in Florida:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation (C corporation or S corporation)
  • Limited liability company (LLC)

Choose an Appropriate Name for your Business

Choosing a name for your business is an important decision, as it will be the first impression that people have of your company. You should choose a name that is easy to remember and one that is not too similar to another business in the area. It should also be short, sweet, and not offensive or generic.

Register your Business with the State

You will need to register your business with the secretary of state’s office. This includes registering your business name, filing an LLC or corporation if applicable, and paying taxes on income and sales.

If you are a sole proprietor or partner who owns all of the stock in your company (50% or more), then you must also obtain a license from the Florida Department of Revenue. If this is not done by January 1st of each year it could mean fines of up to $500 per day until it is completed within 30 days after that date.

Get a Business License

You’ll need a business license from your county or city government. Your local government office can tell you which type of license to get, what information you need to provide, and how long it will take for your application to be processed. The cost varies depending on where you live and what kind of business you have; in some areas, it ranges from $50 to $500+.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number

You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to start a business. It’s a unique nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify businesses and corporations. You can apply for an EIN online.

You’ll also need an EIN if you don’t have one but are responsible for withholding funds from employees’ paychecks and paying federal payroll taxes on behalf of your business or corporation. The EIN is required when filing tax returns with the IRS, and it’s how employers pay employment taxes such as Social Security and Medicare withholdings on salaries paid to employees’ salaries.

Open a Business Bank Account

To open a business bank account, you’ll need to find a bank that specializes in small businesses. Banks that don’t focus on small businesses can have higher fees and less-flexible policies, which could be disastrous for your startup. Choose a bank with branches near where you live or plan on opening your business so that it’s easy to deposit checks and cash. If the bank charges monthly fees, make sure they’re reasonable (no more than $15 per month).

Find a Business Location

You should find a location that is convenient for your customers, but it should also be convenient for you. If you decide to rent space in an office park, for example, you’ll have to deal with long commutes and traffic jams. On the other hand, if you open up shop in your living room—or anywhere else there are no zoning restrictions—you could face fines or even criminal charges if someone complains about the noise.

Determine your Tax Status

Your business tax status is based on the type of business entity you choose to incorporate or operate. If you are a sole proprietor, your personal income and expenses are reported on Schedule C of Form 1040 and claimed as deductions on your personal income tax return. If you have organized as an LLC or corporation and have elected S-corp tax treatment, you’ll be taxed only on the profits made by your company after paying wages and other expenses (assuming there are any).


When you’re ready to start a business, it’s important to understand the legal structure you can use and how it will affect your tax liability. If you are planning on operating as an S corp, be sure to check with your accountant about the proper business tax status for your company.


The process of starting a business can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right guidance and support, you can start a successful company in Florida and beyond.

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