Florida LLC Cost

You have big plans, but before your business can officially take off, you’ll need to make a bit of an investment.

And we’re not talking about renting office space or paying employees  before you sell a single product, there are startup costs associated with launching an LLC in Florida.

Make sure that you consider all the possible costs associated with starting an LLC. To help you out, we’ve compiled the most common Florida startup fees here.

Overall Florida LLC Formation Costs

LLC Name Reservation Fee

Unlike most states, the Florida Department of State does not offer an option to reserve your business name, so this fee will not be a part of your LLC formation process. Your LLC name will be available to the public until you file your Articles of Organization.

To clarify, most states don’t require name reservations, and they’re rarely necessary, even in states that do provide the option. If you’re concerned about someone else registering the name you want, you can just go ahead and form your LLC instead of reserving the name.

Even though you can’t reserve business names in Florida, you should always perform a Florida business name search to make sure the name you want is available.

Business Name Search


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Articles of Organization Fee

This is the big one, the most important form that you’ll file to start your Florida LLC. Once you successfully file your Articles of Organization, your LLC will be on record with the state and ready to start doing business, unless your business requires additional licensure (see below). The filing fee is $125, but it’s a one-time fee, so you won’t have to worry about it again.

The Articles of Organization is a relatively simple document that requires some basic information about you and your business. For instance, you’ll need to inform them of your LLC’s name, your business address (and mailing address, if different), your registered agent, and the identities of your member/owners.

Business Licenses

Certain types of businesses require professional licensure before they can begin conducting business in the state. Plus, cities all have their own licensing laws, so you’ll need to check with your LLC’s hometown to determine which licenses they require. And take a look at Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation website to find out which other licenses you need to obtain. License fees vary depending on the type and location.

What are some of the most commonly required business licenses for Florida LLCs? If your business operates in a regulated industry, you will probably need some sort of professional license to operate in compliance with state law. On the municipal level, things like alarm permits, building permits, and zoning permits are all very common.

LLC Formation Service

Starting an LLC in Florida can be a complicated and time-consuming process. If you want to spend less time on paperwork and more time planning your business, you might opt for a Florida LLC service. These services take care of the registration process for you, so you don’t have to spend time on research, paperwork, and filings.

Most of these services (which are very popular alternatives to LegalZoom) offer LLC registration service like Articles of Organization filing, tax consultations, and phone/email support for a flat rate, with options to pay more for premium packages with premium services like employer identification numbers, operating agreements, and expedited filing.

Registered Agent Service

Appointing a Florida registered agent is an important part of your LLC formation process. Your registered agent is responsible for handling sensitive legal and tax documents and keeping your business compliant with Florida business law. In short, you need an agent you can trust.

While you can be the registered agent for your own LLC, this puts pressure on you to keep up with business filings and potential legal disputes. Sometimes it’s better to hand off that responsibility to a professional. A registered agent service ensures that your annual reports and other forms are filed efficiently, saving you from the penalties of delinquent filings and the stress of having to do it yourself.

If you need to change registered agents or resign as a registered agent in Florida, check out our full guides on these topics.

Attorney Fees

If you have questions or concerns about the LLC formation process or if it’s the best business structure for you, sometimes it’s best not to take chances and consult an attorney. They’re not cheap, but they can provide essential business advice, professional filing assistance, and peace of mind.

Some attorneys offer free consultations (usually 30-60 minutes) but will charge by the hour after that. On average, business attorneys charge between $150-350 per hour. Some will offer a flat rate for setting up an LLC, which can range from $500-2,000.

Cost variations depend on the experience and location of the lawyer. There are a lot of business lawyers out there, and that can be intimidating. How can you ensure that you find the right one? Sites like Avvo provide databases of attorneys, so you can search and sort them based on the expertise, rates, and locations that work for you. Check out their list of Florida business attorneys.

If you don’t want to go digging for your own attorney, we compiled the following list of highly rated business lawyers in Florida. All of these attorneys are primarily focused on the business world, they all receive five-star ratings from clients, and they all have excellent Avvo ratings.

Foreign Qualification Fee

This only applies if your LLC was formed in another state and is now expanding into Florida. If your LLC is from out of state, you’ll need to file an “Application for Authorization” instead of the Articles of Organization.

All foreign business entities are required to foreign qualify in Florida, or they could incur some pretty severe penalties. It’s $125 to file an “Application for Authorization,” and, like the Articles of Organization, you only file it once. So, provided that your application is accepted, you can check it off your list for good.

LLC Annual Fees

So far, we’ve mostly discussed one-time fees, but there are also recurring fees for operating a Florida LLC. Every LLC doing business in Florida must file an annual report each year by May 1. The cost for each annual report is $138.75, so you can plan on paying that amount every winter/spring. All annual reports are filed online.

To complete your annual report, you’ll need to provide the state with your Florida Division of Corporations document number, your LLC’s legal entity name, your federal tax ID number (EIN), your LLC’s business and mailing addresses, the name and address of your registered agent, and the names and addresses of your LLC’s managers. You should keep this information in a convenient place so that you’re ready to file your report each year.

For more info on annual reports for Florida LLCs, check out our full article on this topic!

Taxes

Taxation is pretty simple for Florida LLCs. Federally, LLCs don’t have to file corporate tax returns, and at the state level, Florida doesn’t collect individual income taxes, nor does it require a “franchise” or “privilege” tax from its business entities.

Your LLC may owe an unemployment insurance tax if you hire employees, or a sales tax if it sells products. Finally, LLCs that are classified as corporations for tax purposes will need to pay the 5.5% corporate income tax.

What if I Don’t Pay?

Want to form an LLC for free? ZenBusiness will file all LLC formation paperwork for $0 + state fee (normally $49 + state fee). No catch, just savings.

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Looking at all these fees, you might be thinking: how can I pay less? While you might be tempted to look for loopholes or find a way around them, this could cause you bigger problems in the future.

You definitely don’t want to miss filing an annual report, as it will result in an immediate $400 penalty. Further, if you haven’t filed your annual report by the third Friday in September, your LLC will be administratively dissolved.

If you fail to keep up with your annual filings and registered agent updates, you won’t be able to acquire a Certificate of Status, which verifies your good standing with the state. These certificates are necessary for foreign qualification, loan applications, business license renewals, and certain business transactions.

Planning Your Expenses

By now, your budget spreadsheet might be looking a little crowded, but have no fear! Most of these are one-time fees that you won’t have to worry about again. Plus, with all these on the books, there won’t be any surprise costs when you register an LLC in Florida.

Soon, you’ll have these fees behind you and you’ll be forging ahead, growing your business, and earning profits. As you do, make sure to keep up with the few recurring fees like annual reports so your business doesn’t fall out of good standing.

Key Steps for Starting a Florida LLC

  1. The first step to forming a Florida LLC is to come up with a good name for your business. You’ll want to make sure the name you want is still available and hasn’t already been claimed by another business, so you’ll need to search the state’s business database to verify its availability.
  2. Next, you’ll need to choose your registered agent. While you can legally serve as your own registered agent in Florida, this role can actually be more of a hassle than you might expect. That’s why we always recommend hiring a reputable registered agent service that can handle the responsibility of this position on your behalf.
  3. The third step involves the preparation and filing of your Articles of Organization. You’ll need to fill out the paperwork and pay a $100 fee. Once the state processes this document, your LLC will be officially open for business!
  4. That’s not the end of the road for the startup process though, as you’ll also need to create an operating agreement for your LLC. There is no legal requirement for Florida LLCs to have operating agreements, but it’s still an extremely important element of any LLC. The operating agreement is an internal document that outlines how your LLC will operate, and there are several aspects of this document that can prevent messy ownership disputes down the line.
  5. You will also need to acquire a federal tax ID number (also known as an EIN, or employer identification number). This is essentially a Social Security number for your business, as it is a nine-digit code used to file taxes, hire employees, open business banking accounts, and more.
  6. Next, you’ll need to register for any relevant taxes with the Florida Department of Revenue, and also obtain all licenses and permits that apply to your business type. Keep in mind that, depending on the nature of your business, you might require licenses from the federal, state, county, and municipal governments.

Once you’ve finished all of these steps, you’re ready to operate a compliant business entity with the state of Florida!

Key Steps for Maintaining a Florida LLC

After you’ve completed all of the items in the previous section, you’ll need to focus on maintaining your LLC. The first step in this process is to open a business bank account. This will help you keep your business and personal expenses entirely separate, and it will also help immensely with your accounting and taxation responsibilities.

You should also keep detailed records of every financial transaction that takes place with your LLC. This means maintaining a file of invoices for every purchase and sale you make, along with information regarding your employees or contractors and the work they perform for your business.

As we already mentioned, annual reports are a key component of LLC maintenance in this state, and there are harsh financial penalties for delinquent reports. Additionally, you might want to hold an annual meeting to discuss goals and priorities for your LLC, although this is an optional step.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we wrap things up, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we hear from readers regarding the LLC formation process in Florida.

What are the state business tax rates in Florida?

Florida has no state income taxes, and they also don’t charge any franchise or privilege taxes. Therefore, Florida is one of the simplest states for business taxes.

How quickly does Florida process LLC formations?

Florida maintains a database where you can see current turnaround times for a variety of different business filings, including business formations. While this could obviously change, at the time of this writing, the state was taking roughly nine business days to process LLC formation filings.

How many small businesses are there in Florida today?

The state of Florida is home to more than 2.5 million small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Florida is a great place to own and operate a small business.

What are the top small business resources and websites in Florida?

If you need guidance on a wide variety of business issues in Florida, there are some resources ready to help you navigate them. The Florida Small Business Development Center is a treasure trove of info for new and existing businesses. The Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services also has a helpful small business resource guide. Finally, the state’s official business information portal has info on everything from formulating a business plan to business licensing issues.

Should I form my LLC in Florida, or choose a state like Delaware or Wyoming?

Some people like to form their LLCs in states with favorable legal settings. For instance, Delaware is often seen as the most business-friendly state, as it has an entire court system that’s dedicated solely to business matters. As for Wyoming, this state has some of the most generous anonymity laws for LLC ownership.

However, for most people, your best option is to simply form your business in your home state. Forming in a different state can be a tremendous hassle, and it can add some unnecessary complexity to tax issues as well.

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