Sunbiz.org – Florida Division of Corporations

by Durant on February 13, 2013

If you are planning to set up a Florida firm, you will need information on how to file the relevant paperwork. You need a company name, Florida Limited Liability company forms, and other paperwork. It may seem complicated but you can actually do most of the paperwork yourself. For this reason, the Sunbiz.org website is a wonderful help.

sunbiz

A little History

The Sunbiz website is actually a part of the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. It was set up specifically to help consumers and small business owners with the legal paperwork of setting up a new business.

How Sunbiz.org Can help You out?

If you are planning to set up a business, you may require an accountant, a lawyer, and even a consultant to help you fill the necessary paperwork and start the legal and financial proceedings. This can be expensive. Instead of spending so much money, it is a far better idea to use the resources of an official website like Sunbiz.org. The website offers a range of helpful services like –

Notary search — As we all known, it’s really difficult to find a notary but the website now offers a notary search for realtime notaries in your city. You will also find notary processors that will electronically approve your applications with an online fee.

Document searches — You might have already filed forms online but you can easily search the database on sunbiz.org to find the related documents, records, statistics, Florida Statutes, etc.

Quick public record searches — The company is linked to several databases and it offers free searches of several national and state databases like Business Name Inquiries, OnLine Fictitious Name Registration Inquiries, Debtor Name Inquiries, Partnership Names, etc. Usually, consultants will charge you for this service but carry out the search through this same free search engine. With Sunbiz.org, you are actually saving time and money.

Downloadable forms and online fee payments — The website has a complete database of the different forms like Florida Corporation Forms (Profit and NonProfit), Limited Partnership Forms, Limited Liability Partnership Forms, Trademark Forms that are required to set up companies in Florida. It’s a very simple list and the website has made it easy to pick the right forms for your use. All you have to do is download the form and then fill it in and submit it to the correct authorities. The website has an online search option by which you can check the status of your application.

Electronic filing and certification — You can file the forms through the same website and pay them via credit card or debit card. The website also offers Online Annual Report Filing by which you can file the financial, legal and accounting statements of your company to the relevant authorities. Please make sure that you check the fee section to find the correct fees to be paid for the form you have chosen.

Overall, this very reliable site offers a range of services for customers.  We recommend that you use it to find information on setting up a company and filing the relevant paperwork. You can contact the website directly through their online form for specialized services as well.

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When setting up Florida corporations, a decision needs to be made about whether the company should be an LLC vs S Corp.  LLC’s are Limited Liability Companies.  Their profits and losses pass directly to the LLC owners, who must report this information on their personal tax returns.  In contrast, S Corporations are set up to funnel profits and losses to shareholders.

Under Florida law, LLCs are not corporations.  They are, however, relatively simple to set up.   When creating a limited liability company in Florida, you need to create Articles of Organization.  In these articles, you must include the following:

• The name of your company, which must also include the words Limited Liability Company, or LLC.
• The mailing and street address for the company.
• The registered agent for the company, who must sign the forms accepting obligation for the company.
• The manager or managers of the company.
• A specific date for the company to begin doing business.
• Filing fees must accompany the paperwork.

Remember that the initial annual report for the company will be due the first  day of January after the initial filing date.

S Corporations are more complicated under United States federal income tax laws.  When an S corporation is formed, the tax rates are assigned under Subchapter S of Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code.  S Corporations basically pass along income or losses to their shareholders.  Those shareholders are then required to report the income or loss on their personal tax returns.

S Corporations have specific advantages.   Owners who work for these companies are considered employees of the company, and all their expenses are tax deductible.  The corporation, which is considered an independent entity, can continue in the event of the death of a manager, or in the event of change of ownership.

S Corporations are also audited less frequently than businesses owned by a sole proprietor.  Because profits and losses are passed along to shareholders, the owners are not typically held responsible for either. If you form a corporation in Florida, you will find one distinct advantage — Florida does not have a state income tax.  Therefore, your shareholders will not be taxed on their corporate earnings in Florida.

There are some restrictions for the creation of Florida S corporations.  The company must have 75 or fewer employees.  They must be U.S. citizens.  And a major disadvantage to the S corporation, depending on your viewpoint, is that shareholders have a stake in the decision-making process.  This means that, if they disagree with the corporation plans, they can block forward progress.

When it comes to Florida corporations, it is possible to set up either an LLC or an S Corp just by doing a little research.  But complications can arise which may delay the start of the business.  The best bet is to hire a good lawyer with solid business skills to help create the business.

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