When it comes to establishing your Florida business, a limited liability company (LLC) is often the best option. They are inexpensive to form, provide owners with tax flexibility, and limit their personal liabilities.
Steps to form an LLC in Florida include filing articles of organization, obtaining a registered agent, and paying taxes. This guide will help you navigate the process from start to finish.
Articles of Organization
When you form an LLC in Florida, you must file articles of organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. These documents will formalize your registration with the state and set you on the right path to success.
In addition to your company name and address, the Articles of Organization must include information about the registered agent, authorized managers/members, and effective date. Professional companies may also be required to list their purpose, but that isn’t necessary for most non-professional businesses.
Choosing the right registered agent for your LLC is an important step in getting your company off the ground. The agent accepts service of process, handles official correspondence, and liaises with the state to help keep your business in good standing.
Once you’ve confirmed a registered agent, you can start completing your articles of organization. Make sure to complete them thoroughly and carefully. If you have any questions, be sure to get in touch with an attorney before you submit the documents.
A Florida LLC’s registered agent is the person or business that accepts legal paperwork and official mail from the state on behalf of the LLC. They must be available during normal business hours to receive service of process and other important documents.
While it might seem like a burden, forming your LLC with a registered agent is crucial for your business to be compliant in Florida. It can save you time, money and frustration down the road.
You can choose to act as your own registered agent, appoint another individual or company, or use a professional registered agent service. Either option is valid as long as the registered agent fulfills the state’s requirements, which are generally very strict.
The registered agent you choose will be listed on your Articles of Organization and Annual Report. They also handle any other correspondence and governmental notices that your business may need to send out, such as license renewals or annual report reminders.
The Florida Department of State requires a variety of businesses, including corporations and limited liability companies, to file an annual report. These reports update the state on key business information such as the principal office and mailing address, registered agent, and management or membership details.
It is important to understand the requirements for this filing and make sure your LLC complies. Failure to file on time can result in a $400 late fee and your company may be administratively dissolved by the state.
The Department of State’s website, Sunbiz, allows you to electronically file your LLC’s annual report. Simply navigate to this page and enter your 6- or 12-digit Document Number. Once you have the information you need, click “File Online.” You can pay with credit or debit card or a Prepaid Sunbiz E-File Account.
Florida is a very tax-friendly state for small businesses, and LLCs are no exception. But, just like in other states, your LLC will need to pay taxes on its profits and any other taxable income it produces.
As a general rule, LLCs are treated as pass-through entities by the IRS. This means that business owners, managers and members will report their share of business earnings on their personal federal tax returns.
In Florida, this can be a sole proprietorship, partnership or S corporation (the default tax status for LLCs). Each option has its pros and cons and you should consult with your accountant to decide which is best for you and your company.
After you’ve formed your LLC, you will need to file a series of documents with the state of Florida. These include Articles of Organization and Annual Reports.