Do you have a great skill or a great idea, and you’re ready to start working for yourself? Starting your own business can be the answer that is financially, professionally, and personally rewarding.
While coming up with a great business idea is the most important part of your new professional endeavor, you likely need a Florida business license to reap the benefits of your entrepreneurship.
“Ensuring you obtain the correct licenses for your business is key to avoiding problems in the future.”Business Attorney, Kristi Benson
What Kind of Business Are You Running?
Orlando, Florida, is currently one of the fastest growing large cities in the United States. This means that there is a booming population and a booming opportunity to sell your ideas, products, and services to a thriving public.
You have countless options for the kind of business you can start, and your obligations for obtaining a business license in Florida depend on the kind of business you choose.
Potential Licensing Obligations Depending on the Nature of Your Business
Your business might require you to have professional licensing based on your education and passage of a test, such as in cosmetology or engineering.
Your business might require licensing from the state, even if your services don’t require professional licensing. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation lists 35 kinds of businesses that require licenses, and those types of businesses contain multiple subcategories with different licensing requirements.
While not exhaustive, your list of obligations to obtain a business license could include:
- Professional examination,
- Professional licensure,
- Proof of financial stability,
- Proof of insurance,
- Permits for product storage,
- Permits to sell products,
- Permits to operate certain work equipment, and
- Compliance with safety and sanitation requirements for your workspace.
Before you start applying for business licenses, you should think about what kind of expertise, equipment, workspace, workforce, and inventory you need, because there might be specific licensing requirements for those different elements of your business.
Where to Find Applications for State of Florida Business Licenses
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides a Florida business license application database covering multiple categories and subcategories of businesses.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to seek licensing through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You can make payments for licensing through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services online.
You may also have to submit applications to the city and county to conduct business there. Determining how to get a business license in Florida can come with many intricate steps you do not want to take without the help of an experienced attorney.
What Type of Business Entity Do You Want to Run?
After you determine what kind of business you want to run, you should know what type of entity you want your business to be. Generally, there are five types of business entities you can choose. These entities present varying levels of liability and give different options for taxation, funding, and management. The choices are:
- Limited liability company (LLC),
- Limited partnership,
- General partnership, and
- Sole proprietorship.
For many of these business entities, you must file registration paperwork with the Florida Department of Corporations and pay fees. Choosing which entity structure is best for your business can be tricky, and you should consult with a Florida business attorney to make the right choice for your needs.
Don’t Forget Your Taxes
In many cases, you must have federal, state, and local tax identification numbers or accounts to run a business in Florida.
A federal tax identification number is also called an employer identification number (EIN), and it is necessary if your business:
- Pays employees;
- Operates as a corporation of partnership;
- Files tax returns for employment;
- Files tax returns for excise;
- Files tax returns for alcohol,
- Files tax returns for tobacco,
- Files tax returns for firearms;
- Withholds taxes on non-wage income paid to a non-resident alien;
- Uses a Keogh Plan (i.e. tax-deferred pension plan); or
- Works with certain types of organizations.
You apply for your EIN through the IRS.
To pay state taxes associated with your business, you apply for an account with the Florida Department of Revenue. If your business is a non-profit organization, you may qualify for exemption from certain sales and use taxes.
You may also have to pay taxes to your city and/or county to conduct business within their jurisdictions. For example, the city of Orlando requires you to pay tax before you can operate a business within its limits. You prove your payment of Orlando’s required tax with a business tax receipt.
You can apply for an Orlando business tax receipt on the City of Orlando’s website. You must pay your Orlando business tax on or before October 1 of each year.
To conduct business in Orlando, you must also have a business tax receipt for Orange County. You can contact the Orange County Tax Collector’s Office for an Orange County business tax receipt. If you conduct business outside of Orlando, check your city and county websites to determine their business requirements.
How Much Is a Business License in Florida?
Just like license requirements, the cost of a business license in Florida depends on the nature of your business and the type of business entity you choose.
What Are the Business License Fees?
In some situations, fees for just your Florida business license can cost around $100, but in other situations, you may have to pay more than $1,000 annually. You should also take into account any professional classes and/or professional licensure examinations you may have to take before you can conduct business in your field.
What Are the Business Registration Fees?
You may also have to pay to register your business entity with the Department of Corporations. Some business registration fees include:
- LLC: $125 total,
- For-profit corporation: $70 total,
- Non-profit corporation: $70 total,
- Limited partnership: $1,000 total, and
- Fictitious name registration: $90 total.
You can also receive optional certificates with your registration, but they cost additional money.
Don’t Forget Insurance
To conduct business in Florida, you may have to have insurance and present proof of certain kinds of insurance when you apply for a license.
If you have a certain number of employees, the State of Florida requires you to have workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on your industry, having only one employee can be enough to trigger the state’s workers’ compensation insurance requirement. You may also have to pay for other kinds of insurance to cover your business activities.
You should factor your insurance needs into the cost of your business licensing, because lack of insurance can bar you from moving forward with your business plans.
Contact an Attorney Right Away to Determine Your Business Needs
You are a busy person with a vision, and the amount of legal research and paperwork needed to start and run your business can be overwhelming.
At BrewerLong, our experienced business attorneys are passionate and want to help you build your business from the ground up. We can help you reduce your liabilities, protect your wealth, and keep your business running smoothly so you have time to nurture and execute your vision.
Call us or contact us online for a consultation.
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