Florida Business License

Florida Business License

From registering for taxes to obtaining your business license and permits, there are many steps to starting your own business in Florida. This article will help you map out each of the steps you will need to take so that you can spend more time building your business.

You have a passion you want to share with the world. Don't get stuck worrying about legal paperwork and red tape. Follow the simple guidelines in this article so you can get back to work.

If you are planning a new business then you will need to ensure you start it the right way. Taxes aren't fun, but if you skip this step you could be in hot water before you even start. From choosing what type of business you will start to filing the correct business tax registration there are a few key steps you can't skip. Let's get started.

Florida Tax Registration

In Florida, small businesses are required to register to obtain an identification number, license, or permit related to the taxes for their particular service. For example, companies involved in sales will pay corporate income tax, unemployment tax, and general tax.

However, there are many additional taxes that may apply as well. Some of these possible taxes include pollutants tax, solid waste fees, fuel tax, communications services tax, and more. The added taxes will depend on the nature of each business.

You can visit the website of the Florida Department of Revenue for more information regarding taxes and registration forms.

Business Licenses

All occupations or businesses operating within the state of Florida are required to get their licenses and permits to operate legally. The cost and type of each license or permit will depend on the location and nature of your particular company. For example, investors, brokers, and financial advisers need to obtain a professional license.

A company operating without the proper licenses in Florida may be forced to pay fines or cease operations altogether. If you'd like more information regarding these business licenses in Florida, you can visit Florida Department of State regarding regulations, permits, and licenses.

Related: How to Get a Business License

Local and City Permits

In addition to the licenses required by the state of Florida, each local government may require companies to obtain additional licenses and permits. Each municipality, including counties and cities, will have unique forms and regulations. Here is a list of the most common permits and licenses your company may need:

  • Zoning Permit
  • Alarm Permit
  • Signage Permit
  • Building Permit
  • Occupational Permit
  • Business License Permit
  • Health Permit
  • Tax Permit

Incorporation Filing

Any business that falls into the following divisions are required to file with the Division of Corporations in Florida:

You can visit the Florida Division of Corporation's official website to download and view electronic applications and to receive more information regarding the specifics of these forms.

If your company is labeled as a sole proprietorship, don't worry about the process of registration. However, you must remember to always place your legal name as the company's name. You can file with the Division of Corporations in Florida to receive a fictitious name if you prefer to keep your legal identity separate from the company.

Related Article: How to Form a Corporation in Florida

Doing Business As (DBA)

Filing with a fictitious name is also labeled "Doing Business As". With this registration, you'll be able to place another name on your company without having to use your legal identity. There is a fictitious name registration platform online at the official website for the Florida Division of Corporations.

Related Article: How to Register an Florida DBA

Florida Employer Requirements

If you plan to have employees in your business then there will be a few extra requirements you will need to have as well. Below are the 4 extra steps you will need to take to ensure you are staying legal when hiring new employees.

Related Article: Steps to Hiring Your First Employee in Florida

Withholding Taxes

Once employers have completed the process of filing for the final quarter of the tax year, they should maintain records of their employment taxes for the next four or five years. Some of the important items to keep on the record include wage information, pension, annuity payments, employer identification numbers, personal information of employees, and more.

You can visit the official IRS page for employment tax to learn more about what details are important to keep on file. When you maintain accurate and clear records over time, you'll achieve much more than an organized filing system. You'll have enough records to track the growth of your business over time.

This perspective can offer some helpful insight into the operation of your company overall. Employers will also be able to monitor and determine deductible expenses to help save their operations from paying too much in taxes. Companies that maintain tax records will also have easy access to receipt sources to prove purchased items and other important sales.

Before employment can begin, employees must provide their employers with a completed and signed Form W-4. This form is about employee tax exemptions. After receiving the form, employers are required to forward the W-4 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Additionally, employers are required to maintain information and records about paid wages and withheld taxes of each employee. Each year, wage and tax information from the prior year has to be sent to the government in a Form W-2. Copy A should be sent to the Social Security Administration. The due date is on the last day in February if you're sending it by mail. If you're filing electronically, the due date is the last day in March. Each copy of the form should be sent to every employee before the 31st of January in the following year. Employers should keep all of the undelivered copies on file.

Form I-9 (Employee Eligibility Verification)

New employees are always required to fill out a Form I-9. This form serves as proof that the employee is eligible to work legally in the United States. The federal government requires that this form be completed and signed within a few days of starting work. Both non-citizens and U.S. citizens are required to fill out this form. Employers should keep an extra copy on file for each employee. You can easily download the file from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' official website.

New Hire Reporting

Every employer is responsible for providing information about new employees including social security numbers, addresses, and names. All of this information needs to be sent within 20 days of a new contract to the Directory of New Hires in Florida. You can also report on new employers at the Florida New Hire Reporting Center's official site.

Insurance Requirements

If your company is based in Florida and has employees, then you are required to pay an unemployment compensation tax. All of these funds are transferred to a UC Trust Fund that offers partial support and guidance for able workers who cannot find an available position. You can learn more about this program on the Florida Department of Revenue's unemployment tax page.

In addition to this unemployment tax, companies within Florida are also required to pay compensation insurance. This insurance helps workers who become injured while on the job. There are a number of different ways you can get workman's compensation for your employees.

One way is through the Florida Worker's Compensation Joint Underwriting Association. There are also some insurance agents who represent commercial services and offer this insurance. Some people also choose the self-insured route. There is more information regarding these specifics on the Florida Department of Financial Service's official site.

In conclusion, there are quite a few steps you will need to take before starting your new business in the state of Florida. However, to ensure a long and successful venture, taking these steps is imperative. Getting your Florida business license makes it legal for you to do business here.

Before you start the application process you will want to make sure you have all the correct paperwork and licensing requirements beforehand. This will help the process go smoother and faster. From your taxes and permits to choosing the best type of business structure for you, don't skip any of the steps outlined in this article.

Florida Business License FAQ

Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships need to register with the Florida Division of Corporations to conduct business in Florida. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation must also issue licenses to many professions. Many cities and counties have their own licensing requirements for out-of-state applicants.

The requirements and whether your business requires a local business license depends on the location you apply to. Boca Raton, for example, requires all businesses to have a general license. Orlando, on the other hand, issues business tax receipts on an occupation basis. A single business might need several tax receipts to be able to operate in the city. The same applies to Miami. However, there is no general tax receipt. Only certain types of businesses or occupations require special permits. The county, not the city, issues these. To determine what licensing requirements their business must meet, they should consult the local government and city. You will be fined and penalized if you don't get your business tax receipts before your business opens.

Online registration with the Florida Division of Corporations and application for licenses with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation can be done through the respective agency's websites. Local business tax receipts are subject to the specific requirements of each city or county. Some licenses can only be obtained in person. However, most places allow you to mail or fax the completed application along with your fee if they are not available online.

You will need different information depending on which license you apply for. Generally, however, you must provide the following information:
  • Name of the business
  • Contact information and address of the business
  • Type of business (corporation or partnership, LLC, etc.
  • Nature and the purpose of business
  • Federal employee identification number (EIN), or social security number
To receive business tax receipts, you may need to provide additional information, such as how many employees your company has and the hours you expect to operate. Additionally, you might be asked for documentation to prove that you have registered your business with the state and met any other requirements specific to your occupation.