So, you have a big idea for your dream company and want to start an LLC. An LLC is a business structure available in every state that provides owners with limited liability and tax benefits.
The first step is choosing a name for your company. It must follow Florida filing requirements and end with “LLC.” Next, you will need a registered agent.
Articles of Organization
When you register your business, you must also file articles of organization. Known as “certificates of formation” in other states, these simple documents list basic information about your company.
Florida’s articles of organization require your LLC name, address, and whether it will be member-managed or manager-managed. You must also include a description of your company’s purpose. You can create and submit your articles of organization online on SunBiz or by mail.
If you want to avoid the hassle of working through all of the administrative steps, consider hiring an LLC service that can help you register your business. These services understand each state’s nuances and can guide you through the process in minimal time. They also continue to provide resources and wisdom as your business grows and keep you compliant. They can even help you open a business bank account. This can help separate your personal assets from those of the company, should a lawsuit arise.
Florida requires that every LLC have a local registered agent, which is an individual or business that agrees to receive service of process for the company if it is sued. The registered agent must be a Florida resident or have a physical address in the state, and be available during work hours to receive documents. A Florida based registered agent service can handle this task for you, saving you time and ensuring that your LLC is in compliance with the state’s regulations.
The final step is submitting the articles of organization and paying the fee. Once the state approves your articles, you will receive back a stamped copy of the Articles of Organization and an Acknowledgment Letter. You may also choose to order a Certified Copy or Certificate of Status. Once you have your approved articles, you can begin conducting business. The next steps are to create an operating agreement and obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
A key component of an LLC is the tax status that the state assigns to it. This nine-digit number acts like a personal Social Security Number for your business and is required to pay taxes, file annual reports, apply for certain business licenses and open a bank account.
Having the right name for your company is important, as it’s likely to be the first thing that potential customers see or hear about your business. It should be short, catchy and easily recognizable.
It’s also a good idea to draft an operating agreement, which sets the internal rules that govern your business. It’s not a requirement in Florida, but it can help prevent disagreements down the line and set the tone for how your company will operate. It’s a compass your team can follow when making decisions about financial, legal and operational aspects of the business. You can find templates for operating agreements at sites like Shopify.
The operating agreement is needed to clarify how the LLC will operate. It also addresses issues over and above those provided by Florida law, such as distributions and how the company will be dissolved.
The members may draft the operating agreement themselves or have an experienced attorney help them with the document. The final document should be kept with the LLC’s other business records.
A registered agent is a person or business that is available to receive service of process for your company in the event of a lawsuit or government notices. State law requires that every Florida LLC have a registered agent. You can choose to be your own registered agent or you can hire a professional Florida registered agent service.
Your LLC must file annual reports with the Division of Corporations and pay any necessary taxes. The deadline for filing is May 1. You can avoid late penalties by enlisting the help of a Florida annual report service that tracks important dates and can automatically submit your report on time.