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Setting Up A Florida Business Entity

Buying A Business: Setting Up A Florida Business Entity

Any business operating in Florida needs to be registered with the Florida Division of Corporations. In order to do that, you can create your new entity or register an out of state entity on sunbiz.org quickly and easily. 

Search Records

First, you need to make sure that the entity name you intend to use is not currently in use. So, use the “Search Records” option on the menu. Once there, under “Search By” click on “Name” and then type in the entity name you want to use in the search box. A list of entities related to the name you typed in will come up and you can see everything on the system that matches or is a close match to what you typed in. If your desired entity name is free, then go for it. If it is close to something else or “inactive” then the Florida Division of Corporations could ask you to choose a different name, and if that happens, you obviously just need to select something else. Once you have a name that you’d like to use, go ahead and start filing for your business entity. 

Start A Business

When you are ready to file, then click on “Start A Business” on the menu. A dropdown will appear, and you need to choose what you’d like to do. If you know what kind of entity you want to set up, then select it from the list under “Start E-File” or you can explore different business entities by selecting “Types of Business Entities/Structures.” If you are not sure if you should go with a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Profit Corporation (C Corp/Inc) speak to your CPA and/or attorney and they will advise you accordingly. Follow the instructions on starting a new filing. Just a note: an "S Corp" is not a business entity, it is a tax designation, and you would need to file for S Corp status AFTER you've set up your LLC or Corporation. Talk to your CPA about how to do that. 

Florida Address

You will need a Florida address for the Registered Agent on your entity filing. Please be advised that you cannot use a P.O. Box. Often the closing attorney handling the sale of your business will allow you to use their address for a fee if you don’t have any other Florida address to use. You can always change your registered address later. 

Pay Your Fees and Wait

At the end of your entity filing you will be required to pay the necessary fees. You will be sent a receipt via email after your fees are paid. Once your fees are paid ($70 was required on the date of this publication), then your application will be sent off to the Florida Division of Corporations for review. You can check on how long it might take to get a response to your application by going to Document Processing Dates on sunbiz.org and it will tell you about their current processing times. Most often processing of online applications takes several business days. You will receive an email once your filing has been approved and processed.