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How to Obtain a Business License in St. Petersburg, FL

Starting a new company is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming to think about all the business license requirements under federal, Florida, and local laws. You should discuss the specifics with a knowledgeable St. Petersburg, FL business formation attorney, but an overview may be useful to help you understand the basics.

Your Business Structure

Before you can obtain your license, you need to decide how you want to structure your business. Many owners opt for a type of organization that offers limited liability, including:

  • A corporation;
  • A limited liability company; or,
  • A limited liability partnership.

These structures will protect you from personal liability, so you will not be responsible for any debts or obligations of the company. Note that you can still obtain a St. Petersburg, FL business license if you will operate as a sole proprietorship. The downside is that there is no business structure to separate your company from your personal interests.

Filings in the State of Florida

Your next step is to file your organizational documents with the Florida Secretary of State’s Office. You will need to provide some basic information about your company, and there is a filing fee. Owners of sole proprietorships do not need to file any forms for organization, but you will need to register a fictitious name if your company’s name is different from your own.

Federal Forms

You are required to supply a Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN) when you apply for a Florida business license. It is necessary to complete the application form, which you can do online or via fax. You must provide your own Social Security Number or other tax ID number to get an FEIN.

In addition, you should consult with a business formation attorney about the S Corporation election. Doing so will not affect your business license in Florida, but there are tax advantages. A lawyer can explain more about the process and eligibility rules.

Obtaining Your St. Petersburg, FL Business License

Once you work through the state and federal procedures for organizing your company, you can apply for your business license. Florida uses the term “business tax receipt.” There are different forms you may need to complete, depending on your industry, location, and other details regarding your company. Regardless of the specifics, you will need to provide:

  • The certificate returned to you after filing with the Secretary of State’s office;
  • Your company’s FEIN or personal Social Security Number for a sole proprietorship;
  • Any professional credentials that are required for your industry; and,
  • Related paperwork.

Keep in mind that there are additional requirements if you will be hiring employees. You must address income tax withholding, FICA, and other issues. Plus, most Florida employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees in the event of workplace injury.

Trust a St. Petersburg, FL Business Formation Lawyer to Assist with Licensing

While this general information may be useful, there may be additional considerations when you are starting a new company. To ensure you get your business off on the right foot, consult with a business formation attorney who can help with the basic requirements. A lawyer can also provide additional recommendations on matters that are not required, but could provide significant advantages. For more information on obtaining a St. Petersburg, FL business license, please contact Clearwater Business Law at (727) 785-5100 to schedule a consultation.