One of the most important steps in creating your small business is naming it. After that, you must register with the Department of State so you can begin earning money for your hard work. There are several steps that you need to take to register a business name in Florida. Many people new to owning their own business may not know that the first step would be figuring out what type of company you are forming.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You can register a business name in Florida through the Department of State's Sunbiz website.
Business Types in Florida
There are many different types of businesses. For instance, you might choose to start a for-profit or a nonprofit company. In addition, you will need to choose between the following:
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
- Sole Proprietorship
Example of an LLC
Say, for example, you are going to be setting up an LLC. LLCs are an excellent choice for first-time small business owners. They allow small business owners some protection from personal liability, like in the case of a corporation, but all income earned is reported on your individual tax return.
This means that you will not have to file a separate income and business tax form. Depending on the type of business venture you have started, this can present a cost savings since you will not be responsible for paying corporate income tax.
Say you start a small marketing firm with no employees, but you want the protection of an LLC. Rather than choosing a sole proprietorship, you can register your LLC with the state of Florida. This will ensure your personal assets are safeguarded in the event of litigation.
What Is Sunbiz Florida?
The process for registering your business name is fairly straightforward in Florida. You need to register your company with Sunbiz through the Department of State. You should follow all of the instructions for articles of organization. If they aren’t followed exactly, you may end up having to restart the process of registering your business.
Registering an LLC in Florida
The total cost of filing an LLC in Florida averages $160, according to Sunbiz. The charge will be at least $100 to complete the articles of organization. After that, you will be able to register agents for your business at $25 each. Agents are the people whom you have legally certified to have access to your company funds and do business in the name of your company.
- Articles of organization: $100
- Registered agent designation: $25
- Certified copy (optional): $30
- Certificate of status (optional): $5
You can also pay $30 for a certified copy of your paperwork. While this is an optional cost, it is helpful to have for your records in case anything happens to your filing status or if an accident or mistake is made. For the same reason, you may find it worthwhile to pay another $5 for the certificate of status. This certificate simply states that your business is legally able to function in Florida.
Florida LLC Rules
You do not have to file individual corporate tax forms for your LLC. However, you do pay taxes on the income made by your LLC on your individual income tax forms. All profits of the LLC are a profit of the owner of the LLC, and thus you are liable for taxes against your business.
Florida does allow single-member LLCs. The process for filing an LLC is the same regardless of the size of your business or the number of agents. You can change this status and add agents, but you will have to go back through the process of adding them and changing the status of your business.
Note that if you operate certain kinds of businesses, you might need a Florida business license. This is a separate issue from your business name or designation.
- business lady image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com