How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in the State of Florida

By Owen Pearson

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.

Step 1

Determine a name for your business if you plan to operate under a name other than your own. Keep in mind that choosing a business name does not reserve the name for exclusive use. Another business owner may use the same name. Complete and file a Fictitious Name Registration form, which is available through the Florida Department of State website. In the "Quick Links" section at the bottom of the homepage, click on the "Corporate Filings" link. Click on the "E-Filings Services" link at the top of the next page. Select "Fictitious Name Registration" from the drop-down menu on the next page. You need to supply the business name, mailing address and principal place of business. You also need to supply your name and address. You can file the form online, or mail it to the Florida Department of State; the address is on the form.

Step 2

Check with your local Florida Small Business Development Center to find out if any local licenses are necessary to transact business. The Florida SBDC Network website offers a list of locations throughout Florida. Complete and file any license applications required in your area. Filing fees vary by area and the type of business you plan to transact.

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Step 3

Apply for an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. You can apply for, and immediately receive, an EIN on the IRS website. You can also apply for an EIN by phone, fax, or mail. The mailing address is IRS, EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. The telephone number is 800-829-4933; the fax 859-669-5760. If you choose to submit your application by fax or mail, you may not receive your EIN for up to four weeks.

Step 4

Register your sole proprietorship with the Florida Department of Revenue. Registration is necessary for future tax assessments and filings. You can register your business via the Florida Department of Revenue's online portal. Click on the "Businesses and Employers" link at the top of the Department of Revenue homepage. Click on the "Register to Collect and/or Report Taxes" link on the next page. Click on the "Start a New Registration" link on the following page. The application requests information about the types of business you plan to transact. You can also register by mail or in person by completing the Florida Business Tax Application. You need to provide your name and address, as well as the business name and address. You must also answer questions concerning how you plan to transact business. File the form by mail or in person at 5050 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399.

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References

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How to Reserve a Business Name With the State of Florida

If you are starting a small business or sole proprietorship in Florida under a name that is not your own, you must register your fictitious name with the Florida Division of Corporations to protect it from infringement. This process is not required for the formation of corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships, which have separate filing requirements. The filing process for fictitious names is straightforward; you can register your business name easily online. However, you do not actually "reserve" a business name in Florida, you only register it.

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