A Florida LLC search shows you if the name you wish to use for your LLC is available, which is a very important first step if you want to form an LLC. It also gives publicly available information on existing LLCs. You have several search criteria you can use to find the information you're looking for.

What's Involved in Forming a Florida LLC

You'll need the following to form an LLC in Florida:

You should decide in advance how your LLC will be structured.

It can take anywhere from one day to a couple of weeks for your LLC to be formed. If you file online, it's quicker, with paper filings taking longer.

Each LLC has to submit its annual report every May 1. These cost around $138 to file. You must file an annual report every year for your LLC to maintain an “active” status. It's not a financial report; it's how the state keeps current records on businesses.

Your LLC name has to contain any of the following: 

There's no need to reserve a name in advance. Reserving names can result in unnecessary fees and extra complications. Conducting a free name check is usually enough to make sure your desired LLC name is available.

What to Include on Filing Forms

When you file, you'll have to list the business's physical address — and mailing address, if it's different. You'll have to identify your registered agent, which can be you or a third party. You'll also have to identify each person who's authorized to control or manage your company and list their addresses, so every member and manager, if any, needs to be named.

Enter your LLC's effective date. If your effective date is at some point in the future, just input the date when you want the business activated. If you don't put in a date, your LLC will be active once the filing is processed. If there are other provisions you wish to list, they'll go in the last section, but most people leave it blank.

The articles must be signed by a member of the LLC or authorized party. If you complete them online, submit the form with payment. Paper filings will be mailed in with a cover sheet and a check for payment. If you mail in your filing, you'll receive a paper copy of your Articles of Organization. For online filing, you'll be able to download a copy.

Keeping Your LLC Active and Compliant

Once the Divisions of Corporations sends you your Articles of Organization, your LLC is formed. However, you have to take care of a couple of things to make sure it stays active and is in compliance during the first year.

You'll need an Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN or FEIN. These are similar to social security numbers, but they're for businesses instead of individuals. You'll apply for an EIN with the IRS only after your LLC is formed. You can apply online at the IRS website, where you'll get your number immediately. You can also file a paper form, which will take longer.

As a new business in Florida, you don't have to file an initial report, but if your LLC is formed before May 1, you will have to submit an annual report, due May 1. If your LLC is active May 2 or later, your annual report will be due May 1 next year.

Once your LLC is active and running, it's time to focus on operating your new business. You'll have several other things to do for your company, such as opening a bank account for the LLC, getting the necessary city and/or county licenses, and seeking proper zoning approval. You can always visit the Department of State website for more information.

Anyone interested in forming an LLC should start with a simple name search to check availability. After that, there are numerous other steps to follow, but by adhering to all guidelines and deadlines, your LLC can be up and running rather quickly.

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