1. What is a Florida Secretary of State Corporation Search?
2. Florida Limited Liability (LLC) Name Requirements
3. Conducting Your Florida LLC Name Search

Conducting a Florida Secretary of State (SOS) Corporation Search is the first step in establishing your business in the state of Florida. 

In order to conduct business in the state of Florida, you will need to register your business or entity with the Secretary of State, also known as the Division of Corporations. To do this, you must first decide on a name and what type of business you will establish, be it a partnership, sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, or a corporation.

Regardless of the type of business you choose to pursue, your first course of action will be to secure the rights to a unique and descriptive name.

Florida Limited Liability (LLC) Name Requirements

The first step to establishing your LLC in Florida is to decide on a unique and descriptive name.  

In the state of Florida, LLC names must follow certain guidelines:

  • Entity names must be unique and distinguishable from other registered businesses in the state of Florida. 
    • The following are examples of factors that are not considered distinguishable for business entity names:
      • Changing suffixes: Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
      • Adding or removing identifiers or articles: Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC.
      • Changing plural to singular, or singular to plural: Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC.
      • Altering the punctuation: Substituting “and” for an ampersand symbol (&).
      • Choosing alternative spellings: Crazy Quilts, LLC vs. Krazy Kuilts, LLC. 
      • Spelling out numbers: Three vs 3.
      • Adding “Florida” or its abbreviation (Fl).
  • Entity names must include “LLC” or “L.L.C” at the end.
  • Names cannot contain the words “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.” and “Inc.”), as a Florida LLC is a company and not a corporation.

Note: it is highly recommended that you come up with alternative options for your entity name, in the event that your first choice is unavailable.

Once you have decided on what you believe is a unique, descriptive and distinguishable entity name, determine whether it is available by conducting a Florida SOS Corporation Search.

Step 1: Begin your search by visiting the SunBiz Database. Managed and maintained by the Florida SOS, the SunBiz Database is updated on a daily basis and provides the most reliable information regarding Florida-based entities. 

Once on the page, you will have the option to search for an entity using one of the following:

  • Entity name
  • Officer name
  • Registered agent name
  • FEIN (tax) number
  • Document number

The most popular way to search the database is by name. Enter the full or partial LLC name into the "Entity Name" field and hit the "Search Now" button.

Step 2: Review your results. 

Browse the list of results matching the full or partial LLC name or keywords you entered.

  • Should no results prove to be an exact match, your chosen LLC name has not been previously registered in the state of Florida and is available for use.
  • If you find a partial, but distinguishable match, your desired LLC name is also available for use. 
  • For exact or undistinguishable matches, you will need to click on the entity name to review additional information regarding its current status.

Step 3: Review the entity's information. 

After selecting an entity name, you will have the opportunity to review their information including the owner's name and principal address, annual report information as well as their current status.

  • Inactive or inact status: Names displaying the status of "inactive" or "inact" are available for use by new entities despite being previously registered in the state of Florida. These names had been used by businesses whose rights to the name have since expired. 
  • Active, act, or inactive/un status: An entity displaying a status of "active" or "act" is, unfortunately, not available. “Active” or “act” names are currently being used by registered businesses, whereas "inactive/un" names are simply not available to new companies at the time of the search.

If your LLC name shows a status of "active," "act," or "inactive/un," your best course of action will be to choose another unique, distinguishable identifier and restart your search. 

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