1. Choose a Name for Your Florida Corporation
Check on Available Names in Florida: You will need a corporate name in order to incorporate your small business in the state of Florida. You must choose a corporate name that is unique and that is not already in use by another corporation. You can find out if the name that you have chosen is unique by searching online records and databases as well as other catalogs. To search a database of Florida businesses online, you can go to the official state website: Florida Corporation.
Reserve a Corporate Name: It is not necessary to reserve the name that you have chosen for your corporation if you plan to incorporate immediately, but if you are interested in reserving a name you might want to contact the Florida State Division of Corporations.
Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: It is important for you to recognize that although the name that you have chosen to use to incorporate your small business may be available in Florida, it is possible that another company outside of Florida could be using the same name. You should recognize that you might encounter some restrictions on the name that you have chosen for your corporation. See the article on how to choose a name for your corporation.
Florida Corporate Name Requirements: To incorporate your small business in Florida, the name that you choose for your corporation must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “company.” If you would like, you may choose to use an abbreviation of one of these words in the name of your corporation instead of the full word.
2. Find a Registered Agent in Florida
To incorporate your small business in Florida, you will need to choose a registered agent. A registered agent will act as an agent for service of process and will be responsible for receiving legal and tax documents for your corporation. You might want to consider using a corporate services company that provides registered agent services for a fee as your registered agent.
3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Department of State
Minimum Requirements: To incorporate your small business as a normal stock corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Department of State. The Articles of Incorporation form can be viewed and downloaded online at How to Incorporate in Florida. You may also choose to file Articles of Incorporation online at Filing Florida Articles of Incorporation.
When you file Articles of Incorporation in Florida, you will need to provide the name that you have chosen for your corporation, the purpose of your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, and the name and address of each incorporator. You will need to give information about the number and class of shares authorized by your corporation. You may also want to include the names and addresses of any directors. The Articles of Incorporation must be signed by each incorporator as well as the registered agent.
Other Florida Legal Provisions: There may be other legal provisions that you will want to include in the Articles of Incorporation for your corporation. It is best to consult an attorney at the time that you are preparing the Articles of Incorporation so that you can make sure that you include the additional legal provisions that are appropriate for your company.
Where to Submit Form: If you choose not to submit the Articles of Incorporation online, you will need to mail the completed Articles of Incorporation form and payment to Department of State, Division of Corporations, PO Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314.
Filing Fee: The filing fee in Florida is $70.00. There is a fee of $8.75 if you would like to request a certificate of status, but this certificate is optional.
4. Create Other Florida Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)
Once the Articles of Incorporation have been submitted, your corporation can prepare to take other actions such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, and obtaining a tax ID number in preparation to pay taxes. You should check with county and state government to see what business license and other licenses your company will require.
You should also think about creating other types of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements to determine when stock can be sold, and documents that outline what will happen if an owner leaves the company. These documents can be very useful, especially if the corporation has multiple owners. You should consult an attorney when you are drafting these documents. An attorney can help you comply with all the legal requirements that apply to your corporation. You could also consider enlisting the services of one of the many corporate service companies that assist corporations in preparing these types of legal documents for a fee.
5. Qualify Your Florida Corporation to Do Business in Other States
You need to find out if you need to register or qualify your corporation to do business in other states if the main office of your corporation is not located in Florida. Most other states require certain qualifications, and you require you to pay taxes in your home state. To learn more about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states, you can go to Registering a Business in other states.
6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Florida
You will need to file an annual report for your corporation in Florida. This report allows you to update information on your record with the Florida Department of State. The report is due by May 1st of each year and there is a filing fee of $150.00. You can find filing instructions and prepare to file your annual report online at Florida Coporation Fees.
Corporations that are registered in the state of Florida are subject to Florida state taxes. You will need to file a Florida corporate income tax return for your corporation and pay the required tax. You can download tax forms and learn more about the tax requirements for corporations in Florida at to the official website of the Florida Department of Revenue: Florida Coporation Dept. of Revenue
When you are preparing tax documents for your corporation, it is best to consult an accountant. An accountant will be prepared to help you avoid costly mistakes on your tax documents.
You will have to make several decisions when you incorporate your small business, especially if there are multiple owners. It can be complicate to incorporate, but if you consult an attorney and an accountant, you can feel more confident that your paperwork will be processed correctly.
This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. This information is derived from various sources and should not be relied on as an official source of information. All information should be independently verified. You should consult a legal or accounting professional before incorporating your business.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.