How to Form a Corporation in Florida
Opening a FL corporation doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve created this straightforward guide on how to form a corporation in Florida.
Starting your Florida S Corporation or C Corporation with Incfile is fast and easy. We’ll gather all the information we need from you and file it with the FL Division of Corporations. Here are the six steps you need to follow to form a corporation in Florida.
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How to Form a Corporation in Florida — The Benefits
Briefly, the benefits of forming a Florida corporation are:
A Florida S Corporation or C Corporation will protect your personal finances and assets by limiting your liability.
S Corporations can provide tax advantages for Florida business owners by reducing the self-employment tax you pay.
FL S Corporations give you some options for creating, transferring and selling stock.
FL C Corporations give you the most flexibility for creating, transferring and selling stock.
If you don’t need the options for buying and selling stock, a Florida LLC may be a better choice for your business. You can even have your LLC treated as an S Corporation for tax purposes to save you money.
Learn about starting a Florida LLC.
How to Create a Corporation in Florida in Six Steps
1. Carry Out a Florida Corporation Search and Choose the Right Name for Your Business
Every FL business needs a unique name, including your corporation. You can carry out a Florida business entity name search on the FL Division of Corporations website. The name of your Florida S Corporation or C Corporation cannot be confusable with another business that’s been formed in Florida. If you’re not forming your corporation right away, you can reserve the name with the FL Division of Corporations.
See if the name is available by searching for it on the Florida Division of Corporations website.
Learn how to name your Florida corporation.
2. Establish Street and Mailing Addresses for Your Florida Corporation
Every Florida S Corporation or C Corporation must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside FL, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
3. Appoint a Registered Agent for Your Florida Corporation
Every Florida corporation must have a “Registered Agent” who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Florida Division of Corporations. Your Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Florida.
A Registered Agent position for a Florida S Corporation or C Corporation can be filled in several ways.
A Registered Agent could be you, a director or an officer of the corporation. The Florida Registered Agent for your corporation must have a physical street address in Florida. They need to be available during business hours to receive important documents for your corporation.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Florida Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Here at Incfile we always recommend using a proper Florida Registered Agent service since they provide several benefits:
Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will use a Registered Agent service to provide an address for receiving legal documentation in the state.
The Registered Agent address is listed in public records on the FL Division of Corporations website. If you do not want your own name and Florida address to be registered, you should use a Registered Agent service.
The Registered Agent must be present or available during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday) to receive any legal correspondence, since the type of documents delivered to the Registered Agent require a signature on delivery.
Learn more about Florida Registered Agents.
4. Create Your Florida Articles of Incorporation
Once you've gathered all the information for your Florida corporation, you’ll need to file a formal document with the FL Division of Corporations. This document is known as your “Articles of Incorporation,” and filing the document creates your FL corporation. Here’s what the Articles of Incorporation normally includes:
The corporation’s name
The corporation’s purpose
The corporation’s mailing address and street address
The corporation's Registered Agent and their address
The corporation’s capital structure (number of shares to be issued, who owns them, pricing, etc.)
The names and addresses of officers and directors
The effective date
The name and address of the incorporator
5. File Your Articles of Incorporation With the Florida Division of Corporations
Once your Articles of Incorporation document is drafted, you can file it with the Florida Division of Corporations. Filing your Articles of Incorporation creates your Florida corporation. You can do this online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf.
6. Your FL Corporation Will Need to Meet Certain Legal and Compliance Requirements
Once your Florida corporation has been created, you will need to get certain legal requirements in place. These include:
File IRS Small Business Tax Election Form 2553 if you want your FL business to be treated as an S Corporation.
Create and issue stock certificates to your shareholders.
Apply for business licenses and permits. You may require licenses from the state of Florida, your county, township and various industry or federal bodies.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
File for taxes with Florida Department of Revenue.
Get all formalities in place for employees, including unemployment, disability, payroll, insurance and taxes.
Appoint a Board of Directors for the corporation.
Appoint officers to the corporation.
Get a corporate records book to capture all your important corporate information.
Opening Your Florida Corporation — Useful Resources
Special Types of Florida Corporations
A regular Florida S Corporation or C Corporation is suitable for almost all business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of corporation.
Form a Professional Florida S Corporation or C Corporation
Some states, including Florida, allow certain occupations to form “Professional Corporations.” These types of corporations may need special requirements and licensing. Although you can form a professional corporation in Florida, there are no special instructions for doing so.
Form a Foreign LLC in Florida
A “foreign” filing is when you have a regular, domestic corporation in a state (typically the one where you first formed your business) and need the company to be able to operate in another state. This is where you would file a “Foreign Qualification” to the new state for your domestic corporation to be able to operate in both states. You must have an existing domestic corporation before you can file as a foreign corporation.
Need to Form a Florida Corporation Quickly and Easily?
Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your corporation. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps on your behalf, such as filing your Articles of Incorporation. Our packages also provide a free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for assistance forming a corporation, we can help you start a FL S Corporation or C Corporation.
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