How to Incorporate in Florida
To incorporate in Florida, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Division of Corporations and pay $70 in state filing fees. You can file these documents yourself if you’re willing to take the risk, but we recommend hiring a professional incorporation service like Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC® to do it for you.
Here are the main steps to starting a corporation in Florida:
1. Name Your Florida Corporation
You’ll need to choose a name for your Florida corporation before registering with the Florida Division of Corporations, and you’ll need to make sure your corporation’s name isn’t already taken. Fortunately, you can do a business name search at Florida’s sunbiz.org to make sure your company’s name isn’t being used by someone else.
In general, your Florida corporation’s name must meet the following requirements:
- Your Florida corporation’s name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.,” “Inc.,” or “Co.”).
- Your Florida corporation’s name cannot contain words that suggest it is a government agency (such as “State Department,” “Treasury,” “FBI,” etc.).
- Certain words, such as “University,” “Bank,” and “Attorney,” may require a member of your Florida LLC to be a licensed professional in that practice and file additional paperwork.
2. Appoint a Florida Registered Agent
All corporations operating in Florida are required to have a registered agent with a street address in Florida. You can be your own registered agent if you reside in Florida, but you can also hire a commercial registered agent service. At Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC®, we only charge $35 a year for our Florida registered agent service. You can also hire a commercial registered agent service.
Your best bet, though, is to hire a service that actually owns a commercial building in Florida because it ensures privacy, stability, and security. That’s us. At Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC®, we only charge $35 a year for our Florida registered agent service.
3. File Your Florida Articles of Incorporation
To register your Florida corporation with the state, you need to file a form called Florida Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations and pay a $70 state filing fee. You can print the state form and file by mail, but it’s a lot easier to submit your Articles of Incorporation online at the MyFlorida Sunbiz website.
Your Florida corporation’s Articles of Incorporation will include the following:
- The name of your Florida corporation
- The street address of your Florida corporation’s principal office (and its mailing address if different)
- A statement of purpose if your business is a professional corporation—a business providing state-licensed services, such as legal services or medicine (this is optional for most Florida corporations)
- The number of shares of stock your Florida corporation is authorized to have
- The names and addresses of your Florida corporation’s directors and/or officers (including this information is optional)
- The name and address of your corporation’s Florida registered agent (that’s us when you hire Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC®)
- The name and address of your Florida corporation’s incorporator—the person who prepares and signs your Florida Articles of Incorporation (that’s also us when you hire Sunshine Corporate Filings®!)
- Your Florida corporation’s effective date—the date of its official creation—if different from the filing date (your effective date can be no more than 5 days prior to and no more than 90 days after your filing date)
- The $70 state filing fee
4. Write Your Florida Corporation’s Bylaws
All Florida corporations must create and adopt corporate bylaws. Your Florida corporate bylaws will dictate the ownership of your Florida business, lay out a plan for how your business will be managed, and determine your corporation’s initial shareholders and their rights and responsibilities. Your corporate bylaws will also assign your initial board of directors and corporate officers (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, etc.).
Need help getting started? Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC® includes a free customized corporate bylaws with all Florida corporation orders.
5. Hold Your Florida Corporation’s Initial Meeting
Not long after incorporating, you’ll need to hold the first meeting of your Florida corporation’s board of directors. Your initial shareholder meeting is an opportunity to adopt corporate bylaws, select where your corporation will bank, and issue stock.
6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number
The IRS requires all corporations to obtain an employer identification number (EIN), even if your corporation doesn’t or won’t have any employees. You can get an EIN for free through the IRS website, but if you’d rather not deal with the IRS, you can hire Sunshine Corporate Filings LLC® to get one for you.
7. File Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Most Florida corporations must file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report online with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This report is free to file, and the information you provide does not go on the public record.
You need to provide information about your corporation, its beneficial owner(s), and your company applicant(s). Corporations formed in or after 2024 must file within 30 days of incorporation, while corporations formed before 2024 must file by January 1, 2025. NOTE: For 2024 only, FinCEN has extended the deadline to file to 90 days after formation. Companies formed 2025 or after will have a 30-day window to file their BOI report.
At Sunshine Corporate Filings, we take pride in offering federal filing options for our clients, which now includes BOI Report Filing. If you’re hiring us for service, just add “BOI Report Filing” ($9) and our local specialists will take care of this part for you.
What are beneficial owners and company applicants?
A beneficial owner is anyone with substantial control over your business, like a CEO or director, or anyone who owns 25% or more of your company.
A company applicant is the person responsible for forming your company and/or filing your incorporation paperwork with the state. Corporations created before 2024 don’t need to include company applicant information.
What information does the BOI report require?
- Company name/DBAs
- Principal US business address
- Tax ID (SSN, EIN, or TIN)
- Formation jurisdiction
For beneficial owners and company applicants:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- Copy of ID (passport or driver’s license)
How do I authorize stock for my Florida corporation?
When you incorporate in Florida, you will need to authorize stock for your corporation. This is done on your Florida Articles of Incorporation. Shares of stock are how the ownership of your Florida corporation is determined. Every individual or entity that owns shares of your stock is an owner of your company.
You can authorize different classes of stock, though you do not have to do so. A Florida corporation might authorize both Common Stock and Preferred Stock. Common Stock would designate ownership and come with very basic voting rights. Preferred Stock would be stock with special rights, which could be any rights you wish to confer. Preferred Stock might come with (or without) special voting rights, or it might guarantee that the value of those shares can never drop below a certain point, or that owners of those shares will receive special dividends on a regular basis.
When authorizing stock, you will also need to determine a par value for your shares. Par value is not the actual value of the stock, but rather the lowest price for which a particular share of stock can be sold. If you set the par value of your Common Stock at $1, that means the shares could never be sold for less than $1.
Authorizing stock is not the same as issuing stock. Authorizing stock is the act of creating shares. Issuing shares is the process of allocating those shares to owners. You do not issue stock on your Articles of Incorporation. You issue initial stock in your corporate bylaws, and the issuing is approved at your Florida corporation initial shareholders meeting.
Get started with our Florida Incorporation Services and get your FREE business address today!