How to Start a Business in Florida

Looking to start a Florida business? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a profitable Florida business with no money. Florida is the most southeastern state in the United States, with the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. This state, nicknamed the Sunshine State, boasts hundreds of miles of beaches. 

Sun and beaches are not the only favorable aspects of Florida city, as the state is consistently ranked as one of the best states to do business with its favorable business tax policies, world-class infrastructure, flexible business zones, tax incentives for RD, and an abundance of major cities like Miami. , Jacksonville and Tampa

Why Start a Business in Florida?

The states’ economies are mainly based on tourism (due to the sun and beaches), agriculture and transportation. Florida is also known for its amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center and a popular destination for retirees due to its warm climate. 

Florida is the third most populous state in the United States, surpassing New York with a population of over 20.7 million. making it a good place to start a business.

Floridas corporate business tax is one of the lowest in the country, allowing you to invest more money in your business. Florida has the second largest startup density in the United States today, with over 100 startups per 1,000 firms. Many new entrepreneurs are flocking or emerging into the state, in particular Miami.

It is quite possible to start a business in Florida as a foreigner (many have already done it successfully), but there are rules that must be followed when forming a legal entity that is legal for a foreigner. work. We will show you the steps you need to follow to start a Florida business as a foreigner.

How to Start a Business in Florida Without Money?

1. Decide a Business Structure

Before starting a business, you must first select the legal entity that you want to set up your business with. You need to study this aspect very well if you are trying to start a business in a foreign land. There are certain business structures in Florida where foreigners are allowed to build their business. Let’s take a look at them.
 

Corporate Organizations that Can Work as Non-residents

Currently, non-citizens can form two types of commercial organizations in Florida. They include:
 
1.Corporation (C corp) :
A corporation is a business entity that protects the liability of owners. It is composed of shareholders, directors and officers. This business structure is complex, but it really likes large companies and startups looking to raise funding for their business. In some professions it is necessary to choose the so-called “Professional Corporation” or PC (doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.)
 
2. Limited Liability Company (LLC) :
An LLC or “Limited Liability Company” is a separate entity that provides very simple management (no directors or officers required) and taxation. This new entity has largely replaced the Corporation in popularity as it provides liability protection, but with much less complexity (and taxation) than the Corporation.
 
According to Florida law, the name of LLC must contain the words Limited Company or Limited Limited Company, or the abbreviations LC or LLC. The word Limited can be abbreviated to Ltd. and Company can be abbreviated to Co.
 
The name of your LLC must be different from the names of other businesses that are already registered with the Florida Division of Corporations. Names can be checked for availability by searching the Department of State brand names database: Division of Corporations. You cannot reserve a name prior to setting up your LLC.

1. S corporation

Many people recommend foreigners to form S corporations instead of because this business formation has several advantages. However, this type of business facility is only available to foreigners who are permanent residents and citizens.

While foreigners are generally encouraged to form a C corporation, it is worth considering the benefits of starting a business as an LLC. The first and most attractive benefit is limited personal liability, which means that the business owner (s) are protected from liability for any business obligations, debts, actions and decisions. 

If a lawsuit is filed against the LLC, the owner (s) will generally only be liable up to the amount they have invested in the business.

An LLC also does not have the same rules imposed on it for the conduct of business that corporations are required to follow. LLC owners, called members, have several restrictions on how profits will be distributed among them. Although LLC is an attractive business entity, many new business owners choose C corporations.

One of the main advantages of this business structure is the ability to offer an unlimited number of shares, which can help the company grow faster. This aspect of formation often attracts investors.

Foreigners starting a business in Florida also appreciate the protection offered by the C corporation structure, which prevents the IRS from being too active in their business. Although the IRS will not be as involved, the trade-off is double taxation.

By carefully planning your tax requirements, you can structure your company’s financial performance to avoid double taxation and prevent serious financial problems. All LLCs organized outside Florida must register with the Florida Secretary of State to conduct business in Florida.

Foreign LLCs must appoint a registered agent to handle the process physically located in Florida. To register, submit an Alien Qualification Application with the Florida Government of Corporations. 

The completed application must be accompanied by a Certificate of Existence in the country of residence of the foreign LLC dated no more than 90 days prior to the filing of the certificate. The application fee is $ 125.

2. Enter the name of the company

The next step you should take when starting a business in Florida as a foreigner is to choose a name for your business. This is where you should be careful choosing your business as this one-off act if improper execution can lead to a lot of legal problems.

When choosing a name, make sure your business name is unique, easy to understand and easy to pronounce. You may need to practice saying this out loud to see if it is contagious. To help you find a unique name, you may have to search Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo to make sure your chosen name is in clear text.

Search for a trademark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will be a very good indicator if your name has any conflicts. This will help you avoid names that are already patented.

You should also ensure that your company name selection is available by searching the Florida Division of Corporate Names Database. Note. Be sure to look for spelling, plural, and misspelling options as the state may reject a name that is too similar.

Once you have chosen a suitable name, you must pay $ 50 to officially register it. Please note that names cannot be reserved – they are awarded on a first come, first served basis, so if you have a good idea , send it quickly.

3. Register your Database Administrator

This step is technically optional, but if you want to do business with a company whose name is not official, you need to invest in a bogus name registration or database administrator (doing business like).

For example, if your name is Jerry Khan and you want to start a hairdresser, you can tag the company name with your real name, such as Jerris Coots. For this to happen, you need to register your database administrator.

How to Apply for a Florida Database Administrator

  • Florida DBAs can be registered through the sunbiz Portal.
  • Search for the company name you are looking for in the sunbiz fictitious database.
  • Register your name with the Florida State Corporation Department

4. Set up your Business to Pay Taxes

Most businesses pay federal, state, and local (and sometimes city) taxes, so you should find out what taxes your business must pay.

Federal business taxes are collected by the IRS. These taxes typically include: income tax, estimated taxes, self-employment taxes, employment taxes, and excise taxes.

You can view all required taxes (for example, income tax is mandatory for all businesses except partnerships), notable exceptions and required forms on the IRS website or visit your local IRS office for more information.

Government business taxes are collected by the Florida Department of Revenue. Typically, they include: sales and use tax, re-employment tax (formerly known as unemployment), corporate income tax, and other taxes. You must register to collect or transfer taxes online, which you can do here.

Local business taxes are collected by local county tax collectors. Each county requires you to pay taxes in order to work in them.

City business taxes are not levied by every city, but some require you to pay taxes in order to operate within them. A municipal directory can point you in the right direction; then contact your city’s officials for more information.

5. Get a Registered Agent

A registered agent is required for every Florida corporation and LLC. The selected registered agent must have a physical street address in Florida. While you can act as your own registered agent, it will make your personal information available to the public.

A professional registered agent who will give you his address and send you any important documents. This is convenient if you need to relocate as you do not need to submit forms or pay a fee (just update your address with your agent). Please note that you need to obtain a registered agent before you can complete your business structure.

6. Obtain a Business License if Needed

Before starting a business in Florida, look out for the specific business licenses you may need. There are two main licensing agencies for “skilled trades”: the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS).

DBPR provides licenses for a wide range of professional services including, but not limited to: architects, hairdressers, geologists, home inspectors, restaurants and food vendors, and veterinarians.

You have to remember that just because you work in one of these industries mentioned above does not mean that you definitely need a license. It depends on what you are doing, exactly. For example, a geologist who works as a teacher or researcher without compromising the health or well-being of the population does not need a license; one that does professional “geological work”.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website has information on business licensing in Florida. It also lists the types of businesses that require special licensing.

 

7. Prepare and Submit the Articles of Association of the Florida Organization

As you progress in the process of setting up your Florida business, you have to prepare a lot of paperwork and paperwork. All these documents and documents must be collected together and duly notarized. After the documents are signed by the required persons, you need to submit them to Florida.

8. Obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or "EIN")

Your EIN is similar to your social security number for your company. This is required for corporations and LLCs, and optional for DBAs (if you don’t have staff then it is required). However, if you are the database administrator and have not received an EIN, you will be forced to use your Social Security number on many documents, so it is generally recommended that you obtain an EIN to prevent identity theft.

To obtain an EIN, you can apply online through the IRS or through the IRS Form SS-4.

9. Company open accounts: Bank and Credit Cards

To keep business and personal expenses separate, you must open a separate account for your business. Also, getting business credit cards is how you start building a company credit profile (requires a corporation or LLC) and your business can qualify for larger loans and lines of credit afterwards.

To open an account, simply call the Bank of your choice and learn how to open a business bank account. Typically, you will need your documents, EIN and company authorization authorizing your company to open an account (signed by owners, members, officers or directors etc.).

10. Current Requirements for your Business

DBA: Your fictitious company name must be valid for 5 years unless you change the company name or other information on the FBN. At this point, you will need to renew it in the county.

LLC. All Florida Florida companies must file an annual return to maintain active status. The first report is due next year. The report must be submitted online between January 1st and May 1st. 

The annual report fee is $ 138.75. After May 1, a late submission fee of $ 400 will be added. “Annual Return Reminder Notices” are sent to the LLC email address you provide when you file this document.

Corporation: Every year, you are required to file an “Information Notice” or Annual Return that updates the status to your work address and other things. Florida corporations can send files. A $ 400 late payment fee is charged to all commercial corporations that do not meet the May 1st deadline.

Franchise Taxes: Florida levies a franchise tax on the last day of the month in April, June, and September. and also on the last day of the tax year. This is calculated as a percentage of the company’s net profit for that year.

11. Choosing a Location

For most business people, choosing a location is the first thing they do, even before starting a business. But before choosing a location, you must do a thorough research so that you don’t go wrong. From Tallahassee to Miami, take your time and think through the pros and cons of each business location wisely. You may need a lot of advice, especially from the locals, to find out the specifics of where you want to start your business.

12. Financing Your Business

If you are starting a business in this modern era, there are certain basics that you need to cover whether you are starting a business in Florida Alaska, or most of the places in between. If you need a little extra capital to get started, there are many options. Between crowdfunding, SBA loans, credit cards, and short-term loans, there are several ways a new business owner can find the money they need to start up.

The Florida Small Business Development Center is a great place to start. They offer free financial advice to new entrepreneurs and can help you decide which financing options are right for you.

Keep in mind that not all small business loans will be available to the new owner, but the Small Business Development Center can help you in the right direction. First of all, you need to find out if these funds serve foreigners, and if not, find ones that can cover you.

If a business loan is too much of a commitment for you, consider a business credit card with an introductory rate of 0% per annum. The 0% rate can act as an interest-free loan as long as you start and work, until you pay back your debts before the end of the introductory period.

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