Starting a business in Florida will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Florida.

Business License – There is no general state of Florida business license, however many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

 Jacksonville / Duval County – The City of Jacksonville requires all businesses operating in Jacksonville and/or Duval County to obtain a City Business Tax Receipt from the municipality where the business is located.

Any business operating out of a fixed location and this includes home-based businesses, will need to obtain a Certificate of Use from the Zoning Department.

Miami-Dade CountyNot all businesses in the Miami area are required to get a license, however, contractors, towing businesses, locksmiths, moving businesses, swimming pool cleaners, and others are required to get a business license through Miami-Date County

Businesses operating out of a building in Miami-Date County will need to first obtain a Certificate of Use. Additionally, businesses will need to have an annual inspection of their property and obtain a Life Safety Operating Permit from the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department.

After obtaining the Certificate of Use, businesses can apply for the Local Business Tax Receipt from the County and Municipality.

Tampa – The City of Tampa requires businesses operating in City limits to obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt. 

Orlando – Businesses operating in the City limits of Orlando must obtain a City and County Business Tax Receipt.   The City Business Tax Receipt is available through the Orlando Permitting Services Division and the County Business Tax Application is available from the Orange County Tax Collector.  

A new tenant or owner of a commercial building will also need to obtain Use Permit with the Orange County Business Tax Department.

St. Petersburg – A business operating in the St. Petersburg City limits will need to obtain a Business Tax Certificate Receipt, formerly called the Occupational License Tax. 

A few specific types of businesses also need to get a permit such as: food trucks, handyman services and others

Additionally, a Certificate of Occupancy is needed from the Construction and Permitting Department before operating out of a commercial location.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Florida Sales Tax Permit – The most common registration for businesses in Florida is the Sales Tax Permit.  This permit is required for businesses that sell goods at retail or providing certain services.

Generally speaking, physical products sold at retail are charged sales tax, while services are generally not taxable. A few taxable services include investigative and crime protection services, interior nonresidential cleaning services, and nonresidential pest control services.

Learn how to register for a Florida Sales Tax Permit.

Resale Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Florida Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License – A variety of professionals in the state are regulated such as accountants, home inspectors, landscapers, veterinarians and many more.  Additional information and fees for regulated professions are available from the State of Florida.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, day cares, salvage yards and many others also require licensing.

Fictitious Name Registration – While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Fictitious Name Registration (typically called a Doing Business As or DBA) with the State of Florida.

 

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many business licenses and permits in Florida for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.