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Cost Of Business License In Florida How To Get One As Non-Resident

The State of Florida is an epicenter of tourism, commerce, entertainment, and finance, making it one of the best places in the country to launch a new business. One especially cool thing about Florida is that you don’t actually have to be a resident of the state to start a business there. In fact, anyone from anywhere in the world can do business in Florida, with no citizenship requirements whatsoever.

With all of that said, there are some unique rules for those who do not live in the state, or indeed for those who do not live in the US.

DOING BUSINESS IN FLORIDA: SOME BASICS

To begin with, consider some of the fundamentals of launching a business in the Sunshine State. Anyone who wishes to start a company in Florida must first file formation documents, along with filing fees, to the Division of Corporations Branch of the Florida Department of State.

For those who are not residents of Florida, it is required to choose between two basic business structures: A Florida corporation or a Florida LLC. Note that LLC yearly fees are a separate expense, though they are generally quite modest.

HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN FLORIDA WHEN YOU’RE NOT A US CITIZEN

If you are a non-US citizen, then the process will be quite similar irrespective of whether you choose the corporation or LLC model. Specifically, you will need to obtain the right paperwork, provide your name and the name of your registered agent, and submit the application and the requisite fee. These items are submitted directly to the Florida Department of State.

Florida has relatively low costs for starting a business. The filing fee for an LLC is typically $125, while starting a corporation means paying $35 for the business entity and an additional $35 for each registered agent who is named.

STARTING A FLORIDA BUSINESS AS A NON-RESIDENT: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PROCESS

For a more complete guide to starting a Florida business as a non-resident, consider the following step-by-step guide.

1) Decide on a name for your business.

Every business must have a name that is distinct from any other business entities currently registered with the Florida Department of State. Before choosing a name for your company, verify that it hasn’t already been claimed. This involves a simple search of Florida’s official Division of Corporations website.

It’s also important to note that, if you launch an LLC, your business name must denote it. (In other words, the name of the company must include “LLC” or “limited liability company.”) Likewise, starting a corporation in Florida requires you to denote as much in the name of your business. Registering a DBA (“doing business as”) name will allow you to promote products and services under a different brand name.

2) Find a registered agent.

One of the issues you’ll run into when starting a business in Florida as a non-resident is that you probably won’t have a physical address within the Sunshine State. You’ll need someone in the state who can receive legal and tax documents on your behalf, which means hiring a registered agent who is present in the State of Florida.

It may be worthwhile to read some reviews or seek recommendations from business partners, ensuring you find a registered agent you can trust to be professional, reliable, and efficient.

3) File the paperwork.

As we’ve alluded to already, one of the primary tasks involved with starting a business in the State of Florida is filing paperwork. To start an LLC, this means filing Articles of Organization. To start a corporation, this means filing Articles of Incorporation. In both cases, these documents outline the basic legal structure of your business, including responsibilities of the company’s leadership.

Once you have named your business and hired a registered agent, you should have all the information needed to complete your paperwork and to file it, along with any related fees, online.

4) Secure an EIN.

Non-residents will also need to secure an employee identification number, or EIN, which is required for filing taxes and for doing payroll, among other things. You can request one directly from the Internal Revenue Service. While claiming an EIN is free, the process for non-residents may be a bit more cumbersome than it is for those who call the United States home.

THE PROS AND CONS OF STARTING A FLORIDA BUSINESS AS A NON-RESIDENT

In deciding whether to start a Florida LLC or a Florida corporation as a non-resident, there are a few considerations to keep top-of-mind.

Starting a Florida LLC as a Non-Resident

If you start an LLC as a non-resident, it will operate under the same legal structure, and offer the same personal liability protections that any domestic LLC would enjoy. The big drawback has to do with taxes. While domestic LLCs can “pass through” their taxes, a non-resident one must pay a 30 percent tax on all profits.

Starting a Florida Corporation as a Non-Resident

Starting a corporation is a little more complicated than starting an LLC, requiring you to do things like create a board of directors and issue shares. You’ll also be expected to hold annual shareholder meetings. Also be aware that non-resident corporations are still subject to corporate taxation in the US.

CREATING A BUSINESS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

Clearly, there are many factors to consider when launching a new business enterprise, regardless of whether you’re doing so as a citizen or as a non-resident. Make sure you think strategically about all aspects of business formation as you seek entrepreneurial success in the State of Florida. You can consider taking small business Florida loans to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey there.

AUTHOR BIO

Amanda E. Clark, LLC University
Amanda E. Clark  is a contributing writer to LLC University. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She became a professional writer in 2008 and has led marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies. She has appeared as a subject matter expert on panels about content and social media marketing. She regularly leads seminars and training sessions on trends and tactics in professional writing.

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Mark J. Kane, Founder & CEO of Sunwise Capital, is a distinguished entrepreneur with over 16 years in business financing. Beginning as a psychologist, he quickly became a trailblazing Hospital Administrator. Mark has built multiple ventures, notably accelerating a startup to $18M within months. His transition to Sunwise Capital stems from a deep-seated desire to empower business owners with strategic financial solutions. Recognized for his expertise, Mark's leadership at Sunwise Capital reflects his commitment to fostering business growth and success. about the author.

Category: Business Credit

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