Guide to Setting Up a Sole Proprietorship in Florida

By Terry Masters

A sole proprietorship operates as an alter ego of the business owner who runs it. Since the owner is personally responsible for business affairs, Florida does not require a separate state-level registration for the business as long as you operate it under your own name. If you want to run the business under a different name, you must register it with the state. Depending upon the type of business you are conducting and where you are located, you may also have to obtain local licenses and permits to before you can open for business.

Step 1

Register an assumed business name. Under Florida law, a sole proprietor must use his own name to transact business. If you want to use a different name for your business, you must register an assumed business name -- also known as a "doing business as" or DBA -- with the Division of Corporations of the Florida Department of State. You can check the availability of a DBA and register it electronically by using the Division of Corporations website.

Step 2

Register with state and federal tax agencies if you hire employees or collect sales taxes. Register with the Florida Department of Revenue for the payment of state taxes and the Internal Revenue Service for federal taxes by visiting each agency's website. Both agencies allow businesses to register online. Even if you don't anticipate paying business taxes, you should consider registering your business with the IRS by obtaining an Employer Identification Number. Although an EIN is not mandatory for a sole proprietorship, many Florida agencies use a company's EIN as its unique identifier.

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Step 3

Obtain statewide professional and occupational licenses if your line of work requires it. Legal and medical professionals must fulfill state licensing requirements before setting up shop, for example. Check with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service to see if your business needs a state license to operate.

Step 4

Apply for a local business tax receipt if required. This is Florida's version of a local business license. Whether or not you need one depends on where your business is located. For example, if your business is located in the unincorporated section of Miami-Dade County, you will need to obtain a county receipt. If your business is located in a Miami-Dade County municipality, you are also required to obtain a municipal/city business tax receipt.

Step 5

Obtain local operational licenses and permits. Depending on the type of business you plan to operate and where it will be located, you may need to comply with various local regulations. For example, you may need a local occupancy permit to open a storefront, a health permit to prepare food or a liquor license to sell alcohol. (Refs. 1, 5)

Step 6

File a New Hire Reporting Form with the Florida New Hire Reporting Center for every full- or part-time employee you hire. If you have four or more employees, the state also requires you to obtain workers' compensation insurance.

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How to Open a General Partnership in Florida

Florida law does not require general partnerships to register with the state or to obtain a state business license. General partnerships are not independent business entities, so each partner is individually responsible for any business-related activity in which the partnership may engage. Florida does provide general partnerships with the option to register with the state, however, and this registration can make it easier for a general partnership to present a business face to the public. State registration provides a public record of the general partnership's existence and allows the state to certify the partnership's standing if the partners are looking for a loan or engaging in other business that requires substantiation of business activity.

How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in the State of Florida

If you plan to start a business in Florida and want to work by yourself, a sole proprietorship might be an appropriate option. Choosing this type of business entity gives you the flexibility to begin transacting business quickly with relatively little paperwork. Starting a sole proprietorship business is less cumbersome than starting other types of businesses, such as corporations and limited liability companies. You can register your business in only a few simple steps.

Sole Proprietorship in Georgia

A sole proprietorship is a common business entity because it is relatively simple to set up and allows for a great deal of flexibility in how the business is managed. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over the management of the business, take all the profits and avoid corporate income taxation. Although there are no registration requirements to initially form a sole proprietorship in Georgia, depending on the type of business, the Georgia Secretary of State recommends professional, local and tax registration.

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