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How to Get a Business License in Florida: A Guide

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    If you're planning to start a business in the Sunshine State, you’ll need to have the proper license(s) and permits to operate legally. While the process of identifying those licenses and permits may sound daunting, we're here to help.

    Below, we'll go over the requirements and essential steps for how to get a business license in Florida. By the end, you'll know where to go to complete the process, how much it will cost, and other key answers that will help you secure a business license in Florida.

    Without the Right Licenses, Your Business Credibility is at Stake.

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    What Is a Florida Business License?

    In Florida, the majority of small businesses are required to have the appropriate licenses, permits, and certifications that allow them to conduct their specific services or professions. That said, there is no one document issued by the state that covers the requirements of all the different industries and business types.

    The business license you need will vary depending on your industry, the location of your business, and the services and activities that you provide.

    Business License Requirements in Florida

    Dive into thorough research to discern the specific licensing prerequisites pertinent to your Florida-based enterprise at the local and state levels.

    The Florida Department of State has resources or you can use Bizee's Business License Research Package, a resource designed to assist you in identifying all the necessary licenses and permits required for your business. It includes step-by-step instructions and all the required forms.

    Common licenses and permits that a small business may require in Florida include:

    • Florida Business Tax Receipt. Usually referred to as a Business Tax Receipt or BTR, this may be the most important license type to have for your business, as it allows you to operate within the state. You may also need to be issued a local BTR from the city or township where your business is located.
    • Agriculture and Consumer Licenses. Issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), these types of licenses cover product safety, training, distribution, and manufacturing, and they ensure businesses meet health and legal requirements.
    • Professional Licenses. These licenses are required for specific occupations, including accountants, realtors, attorneys, physical trainers, and those working in the healthcare and medical fields.
    • Home Occupation Permit. For those running their business out of their home, you must apply for this permit by checking in with your local city, township, or zoning board.
    • Federal Licenses and Permits. In addition to applying for state and local licenses and permits, there are a number of businesses that also require licensing at the federal level, including sales of alcohol, tobacco, explosives, and firearms, as well as drug manufacturing and preparation of meat products.

    The prerequisites for acquiring the proper licenses and permits rarely tend to be static. So it’s important to check with the federal, state, and local governments or seek the support of a reputable company that can help you navigate through the process and figure out what you’ll need to legally engage in business activities.

    How to Obtain a Business License in Florida

    If you've gathered the list of licenses your business needs, you're ready to obtain your business license. Here's what to do.

    Complete Your Business Formation

    You’ll need to know your business entity type to complete your license application. If you haven't yet legally established your Florida-based business, complete the following steps before proceeding with license applications:

    • Select a suitable business name. Make sure to conduct a business name search to help ensure the name you pick will be unique to your company and memorable to your customer base.
    • Determine the appropriate business structure.
    • File the necessary incorporation paperwork.

    Prepare the Necessary Documentation

    Once you've formed your business entity, gather all the essential paperwork needed to support your license application in Florida. This should include:

    • Business owner/LLC member contact information
    • Type of business
    • Purpose of your business
    • Business start date
    • Number of employees

    Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    Getting an EIN is facilitated by the IRS. An EIN can be used to open up bank accounts, establish business credit by obtaining financing and applying for loans, and identify your business when filing tax forms. While you can use your Social Security number on the business license application, if you have an EIN, you can use that instead.

    Register Your Business With the Florida Department of Revenue

    Registering your business will allow you to collect sales tax on your products and services. While you’re at it, make sure to apply for any local Florida Tax Receipt (BTR) licenses by reviewing the requirements within your local county or city. Registration can be completed online by visiting the Florida Department of Revenue website or mailing the completed form.

    Select the Appropriate NAICS Codes

    Lastly, be diligent in selecting the NAICS code(s) that most accurately align with your business operations. You may have the option to choose multiple codes as long as they faithfully represent the various activities your company engages in.

    Fill Out the Application

    Use all the information you pulled together in all the previous steps to start filling out your application. You can apply for your Florida business license online, through the mail, or in person.

    FAQs About Getting Florida Business Licenses

    How Much Is a Business License in Florida?

    There is no fee for applying for your Florida business tax receipt or BTC. (Remember, this is a license that allows your business to collect sales tax and remit the funds to the state government.) As for local licenses and permits, the cost will depend on the licenses required and the type of business you plan to operate.

    Most licenses and permits will range in cost from $25 to a few hundred dollars.

    Unlike the BTR, which renews automatically, local licenses and permits also come with an annual renewal fee. To renew an existing license or permit, you must go to the department or agency where the original application was filed.

    What Is Required for a Business License in Florida?

    The information you’ll need to provide in order to complete your Florida state or local business license application will include:

    • Name of your business
    • Business address
    • Business owner/LLC member contact information
    • Type of business
    • Purpose of your business
    • Business start date
    • Number of employees
    • Federal Employment Identification Number (EIN) or SSN
    • North American Industrial Classification System code (NAICS)

    How Long Does a Business License Take to Get in Florida?

    Typically, it'll take a few weeks to receive a business license in Florida. For example, in the case of the BTC, it will take about two weeks to receive your business tax receipt from the state after you've submitted the paperwork. This can either come by mail or electronically.

    Does My LLC Need a Business License in Florida?

    Whether your Florida LLC operates within the food service sector, engages in retail activities, provides tour services, or manages a fishing boat charter, it's highly likely that you will need a business license.

    As mentioned, businesses in Florida need to get a Business Tax Receipt - BTR. The only exemptions are nonprofits, religious organizations, educational groups, and charitable institutions.

    What Happens If I Don’t Have My Florida Business License?

    If your for-profit business sells a product, good, or service, it must have a BTR in order to collect and remit taxes to the state or local government. Operating without it — even if you’re a sole proprietor — could spell a lot of trouble.

    Should it come to light that you are conducting business without the required license, you will be forced to cease operation and exposed to penalties, fines, or worse. In some instances, criminal charges may be pressed, and your business may face dissolution.

    Get the Right License for Your Florida Business

    To ensure the lawful operation of your small business in Florida, it is crucial to have all the required licenses and permits. Neglecting this essential and important task can result in financial penalties, customer attrition, a negative blow to your reputation, and the inability to carry out business activities.

    Fortunately, Bizee can lend a hand. Find the right business licenses and permits with our Business License Research Package. We'll help navigate your small business through the complexities of the licensing application process, leaving you to focus on setting up the stage for success in the Sunshine State.

    Without the Right Licenses, Your Business Credibility is at Stake.

    Includes Free Registered Agent Service for a Full Year.

    Order Your Package Today

    Peter Mavrikis

    Peter Mavrikis

    Peter Mavrikis is an author and editor with over 25 years of experience in publishing. He has worked as the Editorial Director for Barron’s Educational Series, as well as Kaplan Test Prep, where he ran the test prep, foreign language, and study guide.


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