Incorporate a Business in Florida
CorpNet makes it fast and easy to incorporate a business in Florida. You can register your business online or have one of our experienced filing experts assist you.
Save time, enjoy personalized service, and get peace of mind by working with our filing experts who have experience helping entrepreneurs in all 50 states, including Florida. We stand by our services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Start a Business
The authority for incorporating in Florida is the Corporations Division of the Florida Secretary of State. This is the government agency responsible for all forms, filings, and record keeping. It acts under State Authority granted by the Florida Business Corporation Act.
The Corporations Division also maintains all corporate filings of record. The types of business structures available are For-Profit and Not-For-Profit Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, and Registered Limited Liability Partnerships.
5 Steps to Incorporate in Florida
Choose a Name for the Corporation
Search to make sure your company name is available. You can use the free CorpNet company name search. Your corporate name in Florida will have to include one of the suffixes, Corporation (or Corp.); Incorporated (or Inc.) and for limited liability companies, LLC. Florida has reserved the words: Bank, Trust, and Engineer/Engineering – these can be used in your name if you have the appropriate certificates and licensing, but otherwise are prohibited. Your corporate name cannot imply a service or business which conflicts with the purpose stated when you register.
Register Your Corporation
Register your corporation (or LLC) with the Secretary of State. CorpNet offers filings of the Articles of Incorporation (for corporate structures) and for LLCs, Articles of Organization.
Hold an Official Meeting
Hold the first official meeting for the corporation or LLC and adopt the Bylaws (corporations) or Operating Agreement (LLCs). This is a legal meeting and must be recorded as such. (See section below about officers and documentation.)
Apply for an EIN
Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) under the corporate name. In Florida, this will also serve as your State Tax Identification Number. You will also have to arrange for a bank account under this number for accounting purposes. Your financial institution will want a copy of the EIN as well as a certificate of registration from the Secretary of State.
Obtain Licenses and Permits
Obtain any specific licenses and permits required, either statewide or for the county in which you will do business. Some examples would be: Electrician’s license, trucking licenses and permits, Liquor license, etc.
Foreign and Domestic Corporations
A foreign corporation is a corporation registered in another State that does business in Florida. Foreign corporations are required to register in Florida and obtain a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Florida.
Domestic corporations are those formed in Florida itself. While there is no residency requirement for directors or officers of Florida corporations, a registered agent (who can also be a corporate officer) must have a physical address in Florida along with regular business hours. They have to be available to take phone calls and respond to legal matters. Hiring a Registered Agent will protect your privacy and meet the requirements of incorporation in Florida.
Officers and Documents
Corporations in Florida must have one or more directors whose names and addresses will appear in the articles of incorporation. All must be at least 19 years old.
Corporate officers do not have to appear in filings, but information about officers, stockholders, minutes of required meetings, and annual reports have to be maintained at the corporate offices. Other records required at the principal place of business include a copy of the articles of incorporation along with any amendments.
- Domestic For-Profit Corporation Articles of Incorporation – This is the document that creates the corporation itself. There are two types – for-profit and not-for-profit (others for LLC, etc). Foreign corporations file a profit or non-profit ‘qualification’.
- Articles of Amendment – This is filed to alter the original articles of incorporation and has versions for-profit and non-profit. Articles of Correction is another form, used to correct typos or “non-substantial” matters.
- Profit/Non-Profit Annual Report – Required between Jan 1 and May 1 every year. The first filing must be in the next year’s cycle.
- Mergers and Conversions – These documents are filed whenever there is a change in structure or substance that results from either a merger or by converting one type of business entity to another.
- Domestic For-Profit Corporation Articles of Dissolution Form – (Also a non-profit version) Used to dissolve a corporation. Foreign registered corporations have an equivalent form called a Withdrawal Form.
- Resolution to Adopt an Alternate Name – This is commonly used by foreign corporations who wish to use another name while doing business in Florida, either because their home-state name is already in use, or they wish to for other reasons. It requires a resolution of the board of directors for the foreign corporation.
Forming a Corporation Online
This lets you focus on managing your business instead of getting stuck in state-mandated paperwork.
Incorporating online is as easy as providing some initial information and deciding which type of corporation best fits your needs. CorpNet is available to help you start a corporation in Florida and one-year Registered Agent Services is standard in our packages. We also include unlimited customer support.