As the home of attractive tax laws and a wealth of world-class industries, the Sunshine State draws in thousands of new and growing businesses year after year. Do you know how to obtain a business license for your Florida LLC? What about the special permits your business requires? In this post, we'll break down the business license and permit requirements for companies new to Florida.
Do You Need a Business License in Florida?
Florida does not have a statewide business license requirement.
However, depending on your industry, city, or country, you may have to secure certain licenses and certifications with state agencies. Incfile's Business License Research Package can instantly generate a full report containing the tax registrations, licenses, and permits your business needs.
Types of Florida Business Licenses
To cover all your bases when securing the correct Florida business licenses, make sure you address the local, state, and industry requirements as follows:
Florida Local Business Licenses
When setting up a Florida LLC or any other business, check with local agencies and tax collectors for your business license requirements.
Florida Business Tax Receipt
In most cases, the city or county will need a business tax receipt, also known as a business operating license. Here's how to obtain one:
Find the Right City or County: Start by checking out your city's website. If your business is in an unincorporated area, you should check the county website to find where to apply for a business tax receipt. Some places in Florida require a business tax receipt from the city and county where the company operates.
Ensure Your Eligibility: Your city or county website should have tools that help show whether or not your company requires a business tax receipt. For example, some have zoning check search tools that can confirm whether or not your business is set up in a location where it's allowed to operate.
Collect and Organize Business Information: To apply for your Florida business tax receipt, your city or county website should provide lists of information you're required to report. These breakdowns often differ for home occupations and merchants. They might also ask for potential floor plans, notarized letters of approval from property owners or managers, and processing fees.
Apply for and Receive a Business Tax Receipt: After you submit an online application, many Florida offices review it and, if approved, send back a business tax receipt and certificate of use within ten business days.
Stay Up to Date: Across most cities and counties in Florida, business tax receipts expire on September 30. Make sure that your company stays ahead of the game by renewing this business license every summer.
City and County Regulations
In addition to business tax receipts, most Florida cities and counties have licensing and permit requirements.
Check out the websites of the city and county where your business intends to set up shop and check to make sure you begin the proper processes with planning and zoning departments, business resources, building code enforcement teams, property appraisers, tax collectors, and any team related to a permit or license your business requires.
Florida State Business Licenses
Florida's state business license requirements depend on the industry a company operates in.
Do you need a business license in Florida to sell? Florida's most common state-wide requirement is its Business Tax Application, which is also known as a seller's permit or a sales-and-use permit in other states.
If your business aims to sell taxable goods or services, or if it's designed to sell, rent, or lease commercial property in the state of Florida, then it needs one of these permits.
The application will ask for information on any sales or rentals your business plans to facilitate, any services it's prepared to offer, secondhand goods it might use, and more on how the business might process taxable goods or services.
Florida requires state licenses and certifications for businesses that expose customers to potential dangers, as well as for service providers and product manufacturers who require proper training to work safely.
Three state agencies oversee these regulations:
The Florida Department of Health (DOH)
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Establishing which licenses your business needs to secure with the state of Florida is vital. We'll break down more about these industry licenses in the next section.
Industry Requirements for Business Licenses in Florida
The specific service or product your company offers determines which state agency or agencies your business needs to comply with to operate in Florida.
Professional LLC License
Professional services typically require a license. Common examples of such professions include:
LLCs and PLLCs in the state must ensure providers are fully licensed within their given fields. Individual businesses must research industry licensing and permit requirements nationally and within the state.
Healthcare-Related Business Licence
Many businesses are required to work with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to get the proper business licenses and permits.
Here are some examples of professions the DOH regulates:
The Department of Health also regulates and requires permits for specific facilities, some of which include:
Massage therapy schools
Mobile home parks
Pain management clinics
You can head to the agency's Licensing and Regulation page to discover a full, detailed list of regulated professions, facilities, and permits. From there, you can read up on what you need to secure to operate safely and legally in the state.
Agriculture and Consumer Services Licenses
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) oversees the business license distribution, permitting, and inspections for businesses involved with:
Food and beverage
Oil and gas
Private security and investigation
To begin your search for the proper Florida business license and permit requirements with the DACS, head to its Business Services page — a comprehensive directory with links to specific applications, programs, and FAQs.
Professional and Business Regulation
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) oversees business licensing and permitting for businesses involved with:
Yachts and ships
The department's broad scope makes it a relevant organization for many companies seeking the proper business licenses to operate in Florida. It also oversees building code administrators and inspectors, electrical contractors, talent agencies, hotels, and restaurants.
Food and Beverage Licenses
Are you looking to open a restaurant, bar, or food-and-beverage-related business in the state of Florida? The DACS and the DBPR both oversee major areas of licensing and permitting requirements for the restaurant industry.
The DACS Business Services section links to a Food page where you can learn more about dairy industry inspections, food establishment inspection requirements for both retail and wholesale places, and information on seafood handling.
Restaurants and bars looking to operate in Florida will also need to work with the DBPR. Check its requirements for building codes and standards, hotels and restaurants, and elevators or farm labor if these are relevant to your operation.
Local requirements also vary from county to county and city to city, depending on the types of business licenses and permits needed to run your food-and-beverage establishment. Check local county and city websites, and reach out to tax collecting offices to learn what business licenses to apply for, what zoning regulations to keep in mind, and which building authorities to check in with before setting up operations.
Florida DBA Licenses
Not every business wants to operate under the same name as its LLC. An operational name (also known as a fictitious name) is called a DBA, or "Doing Business As." Whether you're operating inside or outside the state, you should be able to secure a DBA in Florida simply and easily.
For example, a hospitality group often has a straightforward name communicating what it does for potential partners, vendors, and investors. If a hospitality group launches a new restaurant, it may want to use a separate name to offer a fresh branded appeal to potential diners.
How Much Does a Business License Cost in Florida?
The total cost of your business licenses and permits will vary depending on location and industry.
Business Tax Receipt fees range from $50 to $200 roughly, and they usually require an annual update with a similar fee attached. Florida does not charge to apply for a seller's permit. There's a wide range of fees for industry-related licenses and permits. These certifications might also require equipment, installations, labor, and construction that you will need to budget for.
Get Licensed to Get Started
Your Florida company must secure every business license required for its industry and location. If you don't, you risk ruining your reputation with local tax collectors, potential investors, and customers, and you could incur fines or penalties that could create financial loss and stop operations.
Use a reliable service to ensure your company is licensed across the board. Get started on a Business License Research Package with Incfile today for only $99.
Brandon is a freelance writer and editor focused on writing SaaS, technology, and finance content.