When you decide to form an LLC in Florida you have to follow the state’s guidelines for doing so. You also need to get a registered agent and obtain a business license.
After the state approves your articles you must apply for an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). This nine-digit number is similar to a Social Security number and is used to identify your LLC for tax purposes.
Forming an LLC
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure that offers owners limited liability protection while allowing them to take advantage of tax benefits. This guide outlines how to start an LLC in Florida, including filing formation documents, obtaining tax IDs and setting up company records.
Before you can establish an LLC, decide whether it will be member-managed or manager-managed and choose a registered agent. The registered agent must have a physical address in Florida (PO boxes are not allowed) where service of process can be delivered. Registered agents can be individuals or businesses. Many owners opt to use a professional registered agent service, such as Northwest Registered Agent.
Once you’ve filed your articles of organization, hold a meeting to adopt an operating agreement. This document will define the role of each owner and how the LLC will be run. In addition, an operating agreement helps prevent personal assets from being used for business debts and lawsuits.
Filing an Articles of Organization
The articles of organization are the primary filing that establishes your LLC at a state level. This document is typically required in order to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), business bank accounts and other licenses.
The state may also require an “operating agreement,” which is a written document that details the company’s finances, management and structure. This is typically an internal document, but financial institutions often ask to see it before approving an LLC for a business bank account.
Many states also require annual report filings. It’s important to keep track of these deadlines and submit reports on time to demonstrate your LLC’s good standing to banks, customers and other state agencies. A service like ZenBusiness makes this easy by tracking these filings and sending notifications when they’re due. It’s a great option for busy entrepreneurs!
Obtaining a Registered Agent
Florida requires every business to have a registered agent who has a physical address in the state and who will accept service of process should the company be sued. The agent must also be available during normal business hours to receive official mail from the state and federal governments. The agent can be an individual or a business entity licensed to do business in the state.
The registered agent should not be the owner or manager of the LLC, and it can’t be a P.O. box or a general business office. However, if the company’s owners or managers are acting as the registered agent, they must sign a statement acknowledging that responsibility.
Choosing the right registered agent can save time and money, and ensure that important documents reach the right hands. The right one may also offer services that can help an LLC succeed, such as a virtual office, meeting reminders and mail scanning.
Obtaining a Business License
Once the articles are filed, Florida will issue a certificate of organization, which confirms your business exists. You need this to get a business bank account, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and purchase insurance policies. You may also need a state-issued license or permit, which depends on the industry in which you operate.
You need a registered agent in Florida to receive service of process and official legal and government notices on behalf of your LLC. The registered agent must be an individual resident or a business entity authorized to do business in the state. The registered agent’s name and Florida street address must appear on the articles of organization.
An LLC operating agreement is optional in Florida, but a good idea for any company with more than one owner. It establishes how the LLC will be managed and explains each member’s role in the company. It also helps avoid disputes that could lead to litigation in the future.