Starting an LLC in Florida

Starting an LLC in Florida is a process of filing with the State of Florida to do business as a Limited Liability Corporation. The Florida Division of Corporations process for forming an LLC can be difficult and confusing. Here are some tips to help.

What Is an LLC?

A limited liability company is a corporate structure for an organization. Members of this corporate structure can be foreign entities, other LLCs, corporations or individuals. People think of LLC as a hybrid of the best elements of both corporations and limited liability partnerships.

Some of the benefits of forming an LLC are:

  • Company owners have limited liability
  • Protecting members assets of the LLC from the claims of creditors
  • Limits on personal liability on issues related to management
  • Greater flexibility in operations and less formal requirements
  • Federal and state tax advantages

Articles of Organization

Every state has requirements to form an LLC (limited liability company). In Florida, the requirements are straightforward. A corporation must be filed with the Division of Corporations. The forms are required to include:

  • Name and address of the Limited Liability Company
  • Name and address of the registered agent who also must sign it
  • Name and address of members and managers and their title
  • Effective date
  • An authorized representative or member’s signature

The appropriate filing fee must accompany the registration. It usually takes between 2 days and 2 weeks to process the forms. An attorney who is experienced in this area can guide you through this somewhat stressful process. For example, naming your LLC isn’t just a matter of picking a name that you like.

Naming Your LLC

The name of your LLC must be checked for availability through the Florida Division of Corporations. The naming conventions for your business in Florida require that the name ends with limited liability company or some form of it, for example LLC, L.L.C., or Ltd. Co.

If a restricted word is used in the name, then additional proof of licenses may be required. For example, if you use the word attorney in your name, then you must have a licensed attorney as part of the LLC. Or if the name implies that it is a medical practice, then a licensed doctor must be a member of the limited liability company.

Some words are prohibited because they may imply that the company is a state or federal agency. You may not use words like treasury or state if they imply the company is a state agency.

Ensure that a business name isn’t already in use for another business. The State of Florida has a database of the LLCs already registered in the state.

Operating Agreements

Operating agreements are highly recommended for the members of a limited liability company. This document can govern the important issues facing an LLC, which include things like procedures, member requirements, management structure, and voting rights. Operating agreements are legal documents and are valuable because they outline the operating procedures and ownership before these issues become problems.

Limited liability companies in Florida are not required to have an operating agreement. As mentioned, it is highly recommended that you have one. The state recognizes the operating agreements of LLCs as governing documents.

Register an Agent

A registered agent is a person or a corporation which can legally conduct business in the state of Florida. The registered agent may be part of the LLC or even yourself as the owner. This person will receive service if your LLC is sued, be able to accept mail and generally act as a point of contact for the company. The address of the agent must also be in the state of Florida.

Employee Identification Numbers

Employee Identification Numbers (EINs) are required for businesses to pay taxes. It’s also sometimes referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number and is used as a social security number for the business. Banks often require this number to open a checking account.

The Internal Revenue Service assigns EINs. You may apply online or print the application and mail it.

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