Whether you are starting a new company or considering changes to an existing one, it’s important to understand the different business licenses and partnerships under Florida law. There are certain legal requirements, but other decisions will depend on your goals and needs. A Clearwater, FL business formation attorney can explain in more detail after reviewing your circumstances, but an overview may be helpful.
Options for Business Partnerships in Florida
Before you can apply for a business license, you must choose an entity type. The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations manages all matters related to business formation, and your options include:
- Corporation, either for profit or non-profit;
- Limited liability company (LLC);
- Limited partnership;
- Sole proprietorship.
Note that there are no additional forms if you will operate as a sole proprietor and your company name is the same as your own. However, you must complete a Fictitious Name Registration if your sole proprietorship will operate under a different name.
Factors that Affect Your Choice of Business Type
Once you know the types of businesses and partnerships in Florida, you’ll need to decide which option is the right fit for your needs. Considerations that impact your decision include:
Liability: Many business owners want to keep their company separate from their personal interest when it comes to debts and liabilities. You should consider a limited liability entity to protect your own personal assets.
Organization: When there are multiple individuals involved as owners in a company, you may want to designate officers, limited or general partners, a board of directors, managers, and other positions. Organizing your business for ongoing operations is necessary for all entity types, except a sole proprietorship where you handle all essential tasks.
Restrictions on Transfer: Partners in a business have an ownership interest depending on the nature of their investment. In most cases, you’ll want to include restrictions on transfer of shares in a corporation, LLC, partnership, or other entity. You don’t want stakeholders to sell or gift shares to a third party or stranger, or have them distributed in a divorce.
Understanding Clearwater Business Licenses
After organizing your business to operate in Florida, you must still obtain a Clearwater business license – termed a “business tax receipt.” Counties and municipalities have different requirements, but you can expect to fill out forms and pay filing fees.
In addition, companies operating in certain industries may need a separate business license. For instance, restaurants, taverns, stores, hair salons, and many other entities need to obtain a license for that specific operation. Some professionals also require separate licensing, such as attorneys, physicians, nurses, real estate agents, and many more.
Discuss Licenses and Partnerships with a Clearwater Business Formation Lawyer
There are many other factors to consider when reviewing different business licenses and partnerships in Florida, so it’s important to consult with a business law attorney about your needs. For more information, please contact Clearwater Business Law at (727) 785-5100 to schedule a consultation. Our lawyers can tell you more about our legal services for business owners in Clearwater, FL and throughout Pinellas County.