The best way to get an LLC in Florida is to hire a professional service that will ensure you file your articles of organization correctly. Northwest Registered Agent is one such service that offers excellent value.
Your LLC’s name must adhere to Florida-specific naming requirements and cannot include certain restricted words. Then, you must obtain an EIN to identify your company for taxes.
1. Find a lawyer
A lawyer will be able to help you make sure your documents comply with Florida law. They can also give you business advice.
You must pick a name that complies with state naming laws. It must end with “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC,” and you can’t use phrases that imply a connection to the government, such as “savings” or “bank.”
A registered agent is an individual or business that will be available to receive service of process and mail on your behalf in case your company gets sued. You can find one online or through a service like Northwest Registered Agent, which will also file your articles of organization for a low fee. A service like this makes it easy to get an LLC in Florida.
2. Find a registered agent
The state of Florida requires all LLCs to have a registered agent. This is an individual or company who will receive legal documents and tax notices for the business. Without one, your LLC could get sued and lose its ability to open bank accounts or apply for loans.
A registered agent can be anyone who is a resident of Florida or is allowed to do business there. You can use a friend or family member, or you can hire a service like Northwest. They charge $39 to form an LLC in Florida and include their Registered Agent service free for the first year.
The last step is to file articles of organization with the state. This document provides and makes public your LLC’s name, owners, and address. It also gives the state the authority to levy taxes and enforce your LLC’s rights.
3. File articles of organization
Your articles of organization will include your LLC name (remember the naming considerations above), the principal business address, and the names of all members (or managers, if you have a member-managed LLC). You must also provide an effective date—which can’t be five days before or 90 days after the date of your filing—and a registered agent.
You can file your articles online or by mail, and the state usually approves them within a week. After your articles are approved, you’ll need to register for an employer identification number (EIN).
This nine-digit number acts as a Social Security number for your company and is used to report income and taxes. Your attorney can help you register for an EIN or you can use a service that handles the process.
4. Register for an EIN
Once your articles of organization are approved, the next step is to register for a federal tax ID number (EIN). This nine-digit number acts like a social security number for your LLC. It will identify your company for IRS purposes and will be used to file annual reports with the state.
You can apply for an EIN online, by fax or by mail. We recommend filing online, because it has the quickest approval time. The process typically takes about 15 minutes, and you will receive a PDF printout with your EIN at the end.
If you want to open a bank account for your LLC, you will need to provide the EIN number when applying. It is a good idea to have all owners as signers on the bank account. Then the LLC’s assets will be separate from the members’ personal assets, making it easier to protect your assets if something goes wrong.
5. Write an operating agreement
Although the State of Florida does not require that LLCs draft an operating agreement, putting one in place provides added protection to members’ personal assets should the company ever face legal trouble. It also helps establish the management structure and how profits are allocated.
After submitting your articles of organization, you’ll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN), which is used like a Social Security number for the business. You can do this online.
Your EIN will help you open a bank account, apply for tax-exempt status and take advantage of certain other business benefits. You’ll also need it to hire employees and obtain permits and licenses. You can file your articles of organization yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.