1. LLCs
2. Florida LLCs

To renew LLC Florida based, there are several things you need to consider. LLCs, or limited liability companies, are a powerful way to do business in a state while taking advantage of liability protection. Florida's excellent business climate makes it an ideal state to consider running an LLC in. Whether you are forming a new LLC in Florida or paying your fees and doing your paperwork to maintain an existing firm, knowing what is involved is the best way to make the right choices.

LLCs

An LLC is a solution to the dilemma of whether to keep your company as a simple sole proprietorship or partnership, or to go to the expense and effort of organizing as a corporation. A sole proprietorship is a company directly owned by a single individual. A partnership is a simple contractual agreement between multiple people that functions in much the same way. While these companies are simple to form and keep up, they suffer from severe liability issues. Essentially the companies count as extensions of the people who own them, which means the personal assets of the owners are fair game in the event of a legal judgment.

Corporations do away with the liability issue by counting the company as its own person for certain legal purposes. A corporation's direct assets are the only thing available for legal judgments as the result of a lawsuit; its owners, called shareholders, are in the clear. But a corporation has to pay a corporate tax as an individual as well, and this leads to what some call double taxation, where the government takes a cut of both the company's income and the money paid out to shareholders.

LLCs are a legal construct of the states, though at this point all 50 states have them. An LLC offers legal personhood and the attached liability protection to companies within the jurisdiction of the state of filing, without requiring a corporate reorganization. As a result, the LLC can file local taxes as a sole proprietorship or partnership, though they can also often file as a corporation instead, if the company desires that status when dealing with the IRS.

Florida LLCs

A Florida LLC has a few requirements:

  • Florida LLCs must have Articles of Organization filed with a governmental group called the Florida Division of Corporations.
  • Florida LLCs must pay all applicable fees.
  • Florida LLCs have to meet naming requirements.
  • Florida LLCs need a local registered agent on the books.
  • Florida LLCs have to meet all other formation requirements.

Your company's name must be distinctive and not cause confusion between your LLC and any other. You also need to include some kind of abbreviation or text identifier of your LLC status in the name. It is a good idea to operate under a distinctive name to help attract and keep customers.

Filing the Articles involves including your LLC's name, membership list, effective date, registered agent information, and a signature from a member or other authorized representative of the company. There is also a fee of $125. Finally, you'll need to enclose a cover letter with contact info including your name, address, e-mail, phone number, and company name. Once the forms are processed, you'll get a letter in return letting you know. The process takes up to two weeks, though expedited filing may be available for an additional expense.

In Florida, the tax filing status of an LLC is dependent on its federal filing requirement. If you file federally as a corporation, you'll have to file form 8832 or 1120S. If you file as a proprietorship, you file the income on your 1040 instead. Florida LLCs also need to file an annual report by May 1 of each year, and send along a fee of $500-$61.25, depending on the kind of LLC and the company's business; the lowest rates are available to not-for-profit corporations. There is a $400 late fee for all kinds of companies other than not-for-profits that miss the May 1st deadline. If you don't pay the fee and file the report by September, your business is at risk of being dissolved and will require additional fees to renew and refile afterward.

If you need help with renewing your Florida LLC, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.