Forming an LLC turns your freelancing or small business idea into a legal entity that offers liability protection and tax benefits. Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. can prepare an Attorney Opinion Letter identifying the Members, Managers and Officers of your LLC to assist you with opening your company’s initial bank account.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Many small businesses choose to create an LLC on their own. This method is less expensive than hiring a lawyer and allows you to save time. However, it is important that you know what you are doing. In Florida, if an LLC wishes to be treated as a corporation for tax purposes (either as an S-corporation or C-corporation), or wants to avoid double taxation by being treated as a partnership by the IRS, it must file Articles of Incorporation with the state and pay the filing fee. It must also file a Fictitious Name Report and complete a publication kit before engaging in any marketing activities.
A business attorney can provide you with individualized guidance to ensure that you are setting up your LLC correctly. However, this method can be pricier than utilizing an online service and can be very time-consuming. An attorney can also help with drafting employment contracts, writing an operating agreement, and more.
Do You Need a Registered Agent?
Florida requires that all entities, including LLCs, register a “resident agent” to receive service of process and official state notices. The resident agent must be physically located in the state of Florida and be available during normal business hours.
The resident agent can be an individual in the company or a professional registered agent service. The individual can be the Managing Director, owner or affiliated person of the company. However, if an LLC’s Managing Director or owner acts as the Registered Agent, it is important to remember that they are legally responsible for any lawsuits and debts that the LLC incurs.
A professional registered agent can take this burden off the owners of the company and provide additional services such as mail scanning, virtual office service and answering phones. For this reason, many companies choose to use a professional registered agent service. This keeps the business’s personal and corporate information private while still meeting state requirements.
Do You Need an Operating Agreement?
A Florida LLC operating agreement is a legal document that establishes how your company will be run. While not a requirement by law, it is highly recommended for any new business to create one to avoid confusion and conflict within the company.
It provides clarity on how the company will be managed (member-managed or manager-managed), voting rights, capital contributions and how members can transfer their interests. It also includes provisions that can help preserve your limited liability by showing a court of law that your company is truly a separate business entity.
Once your operating agreement is completed, you can submit it along with the articles of organization to get a Federal Tax Identification Number for your business. This is an important step that will allow you to open financial accounts and file taxes for your business. It will also be needed if you plan on hiring employees in the future. You can serve as your own registered agent, appoint someone else to do so or use a registered agent service to take care of this for you.
Do You Need a Business License?
Florida is one of a handful of states that does not require all LLCs to obtain a state business license. However, depending on the type of work your LLC does, it may need an occupational license or other permits.
Names of the members and the registered agent (can be an individual or a business entity authorized to do business in Florida). The principal place of business (Florida street address; P.O. boxes are not acceptable). The type of business and the federal employer identification number (EIN) if the LLC has employees.
Typically, a website is also required to establish online presence and market the company’s products and services. Many small businesses use online tools to create professional-looking, well-performing sites at reasonable costs. Alternatively, you can hire a web developer to design and host your site. A good website will increase visibility in search engine results and generate more traffic. A well-performing, updated site will help your company maintain its reputation and competitiveness.