How can I get my LLC in Florida? Many people ask this question, and understanding some basic requirements for forming your LLC is an important first step. Although LLCs are similar across the country in many aspects, each state does have specific laws that you need to follow when setting up your new business. You'll want to make sure you understand what's required.

What Is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid business structure giving its owners, or members, limited liability protections similar to corporations while allowing for managerial and tax flexibility similar to partnerships. LLCs can have one or more members, which could include other businesses. See our post about who can be a member of an LLC for more information on LLC membership.

LLCs are attractive business structures because of pass-through taxation and simplified management, which is common in a partnership, and limited liability protections, which are common to corporations.

What Are the Advantages of an LLC?

  • Personal and business liability protection.
  • No separate tax returns or double taxation.
  • No ownership or management restrictions.
  • Flexible tax status.
  • Flexible profit distribution.

Naming an LLC

Follow these guidelines when naming your LLC:

  • Don't name your LLC the same as (or similar to) another Florida company.
  • Make your name distinguishable.
  • Don't use “of Florida” or the name of any city in your LLC name.
  • Stay away from words like "International," "Group," "Holdings," "Investments,” and other similar words.
  • Don't contain language implying that your LLC connects to a governmental entity.
  • Check out your LLC name on the Florida Department of State website to see if it's available.
  • Once you decide on a name, use your LLC name along with the "LLC" or "Limited Liability Company" designation.

What Are Some Common LLC Questions?

  • How long does it take to set up a Florida LLC? Two to five days, depending on the state's processing times.
  • How do I begin forming a Florida LLC? File your Articles of Organization, with the required fees, with the state. Check out the Florida Department of State website for more information.
  • Do I need a business license? Most Florida counties require business license registration. Check with your local county for specific rules and costs.
  • What is a registered agent? Florida requires that an individual, or a third-party company, receive legal and tax documents as well as service of process on the LLC's behalf. This individual, or the third-party company, is the LLC's "agent" and has "registered" with the state. The registered agent must be over 18 years old, have a valid Florida street address (no P.O. boxes), and be available to receive documents during regular business hours.
  • What is an EIN? An EIN is an employer identification number or a federal tax identification number. The IRS assigns a nine-digit number to businesses as their EIN. Many banks require an EIN to open a business account. Also, once you start hiring employees, you'll need an EIN to set up payroll and benefits.
  • When should I get an EIN? Once the State of Florida approves your LLC, then apply for your EIN. You can apply for your EIN on the IRS's website.
  • What is an Operating Agreement? An operating agreement is a written agreement between the LLC members describing how the LLC will run. It may address the amount of cash or services that each member will contribute to the LLC, when additional contributions will be required, and what happens if you need to dissolve your LLC. It can contain information on members' responsibilities and ownership percentages. Also, it can address the management of the LLC, distribution of profits, taxes, and other legal or business issues. Check out Florida's laws on limited liability companies for more information.
  • If I have independent contractor income, should I form an LLC? Without establishing an LLC or other corporate entity, you're a sole proprietor if you have independent contractor income. As a sole proprietor, you pay self-employment taxes in addition to income tax. You also have no personal asset liability protection.
  • How can I get a business credit card? First, browse all business credit cards, including those from banks, and select one with perks that you need, such as travel rewards. Apply to credible credit card offers you receive in the mail.

If you need help with getting your LLC set up in Florida, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace to find a competent attorney to assist you. UpCounsel only accepts 5 percent of the attorneys who apply to the platform, so you can be assured that your new business will receive top-tier legal help from professionals from the country's best law schools.