Starting a new business is an exciting and challenging endeavor. One of the most important steps in starting a new business is filing the necessary documents with the Florida Secretary of State. In Florida, the process of forming a new business involves several steps and requires filing certain documents with the Secretary of State. In this blog post, we will discuss the process of and need for filing documents with the Florida Secretary of State to form a new business.
Choose a Legal Entity Type
The first step in forming a new business is to choose a legal entity type. The most common legal entity types in Florida are limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, and corporations. Each legal entity type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to choose the one that best suits the needs of your business.
Choose a Name
The next step in forming a new business is to choose a name. The name of your business must be unique and distinguishable from other businesses registered in Florida. You can check the availability of a name using the Florida Division of Corporations website.
File Articles of Incorporation or Organization
Once you have chosen a legal entity type and a name, you must file the appropriate documents with the Florida Secretary of State. For corporations, this means filing Articles of Incorporation, while for LLCs, it means filing Articles of Organization. These documents typically include information about the business, such as the name, address, and purpose of the business, as well as the names and addresses of the owners or members.
Appoint a Registered Agent
When forming a new business in Florida, you must appoint a registered agent. The registered agent is responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of the business, such as notices of lawsuits. The registered agent must have a physical address in Florida.
Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain certain business licenses and permits. These requirements vary by industry and locality, so it is important to research the requirements for your specific business.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses for tax purposes. All businesses that have employees, are partnerships, or are corporations must obtain an EIN. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.
File Annual Reports
After your business has been formed, you must file annual reports with the Florida Secretary of State. These reports are due by May 1st of each year and include information about the business, such as its address, registered agent, and owners or members.
In conclusion, forming a new business in Florida requires filing certain documents with the Secretary of State, choosing a legal entity type, choosing a name, appointing a registered agent, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, obtaining an EIN, and filing annual reports. It is important to consult with an attorney or a business formation service to ensure that you follow all of the necessary steps and comply with all of the applicable laws and regulations. By following these steps, you can form a new business and begin your journey as an entrepreneur in Florida.
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I am an attorney and Certified Public Accountant serving Southwest Florida.
Previously, I served in operations and finance with the world’s largest accounting firm (PricewaterhouseCoopers), airline (American Airlines), and bank (JPMorgan Chase & Co.). I have also created and advised a variety of start-up ventures.
I am a member of The Florida Bar, and I hold active CPA licensure in Florida and Texas and undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting and taxation from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
My practice emphasizes, but is not limited to, the law as it intersects small businesses and their owners. I also assist clients with insurance claims, estate planning, and other legal matters on an ad hoc basis. I live and work in Naples, Florida.
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