Step 3: Register Your Business
Register with the State as a DBA
With a DBA/fictitious name you will be able to register the name with the state to conduct business with this name for the entire state. A lot of very small businesses choose this path, or those who are not sure if the company is going to fly and want to start small and work up to incorporating later.
What to Consider
If you choose the DBA as your filing, then name you choose can be used by another company. So the name is not to you alone in Florida. The other thing to consider is that if you file a DBA, there is no limited liability. What this may mean to you is that if someone sued the company, your personal assets would be available in a lawsuit. If this is not a concern then a DBA would be fine. More information can be found at Florida's Division of Corporations.
Legal Notice and Business License
Once you have the DBA filed with the state, then you will need to do a Legal Notice in a local newspaper, then obtain a business license with your county. A business license/occupational license or business tax receipt is required by most counties in Florida to have the legal ability to do have a business in that county. Check with the tax collectors office to see what they require.
Choosing to Incorporate a Business
Select a Name
If you choose to create a Corporation or LLC in Florida the name you choose must be unique. No other company can have the exact same name, so be creative and unique in the naming of your new business.
How to Incorporate a Business?
The first step to incorporating your business is choosing if you want to have an LLC or a corporation. Your accountant, tax preparer, attorney, or bookkeeper may the best person to go to help you make this choice. An attorney is also an excellent choice for guidance. The formation of a company is an important decision so having this kind of assistance is very helpful in doing it right the first time.
Articles of Incorporation
Once you have chosen the type, you would then file the Articles with the Florida Department of State to legally create the entity. You will need a company name, principal address (which must be a physical Florida address) and a mailing address for the company which can be a PO Box if you would like. You will also need the names and addresses of all the owners in the company as the state requires this information. An email address is also necessary to file with the state.
Your next step would be obtaining an EIN or Federal Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This is a unique tax ID for your new legal entity and needs to be used with any transactions for the company. Some people choose not to obtain an EIN for the LLC if it is a single member. This means they will have to use their Social Security number instead for all business transactions. All corporations have to obtain and use an EIN.
Business Tax Receipts
The next step is the tax receipt with the county and with the Cities you are going to business in. Check with the tax collectors office to see what they require.
The last step would be a bank account for the new company. You are required to have a bank for the LLC or corporation. All monies coming in and going out must go through the company bank account.
Online registration of a DBA including information on the exact wording for the Legal Notice and the link to the counties for the business license. Start here.
Online registration of a new Florida LLC or corporation, including registration of the EIN on as well as the link to the counties for the business license. Start here.