Opening a Business
OPENING A BUSINESS
All business owners are required to obtain a Business Tax Receipt (formerly known as an Occupational License). In some instances, when a business is changing use, a Certificate of Use will be required prior to obtaining the Business Tax Receipt. When applying for a Business Tax Receipt, most businesses will be required to provide a lease/bill of sale/recorded warranty deed, federal tax ID number, and articles of incorporation/DBA. For a full list of requirements, please click on the link below or call the Finance Department at 305.673.7420.
In the instance that a Certificate of Use is required, the application process will begin with the Building Department. Inspections by the Building Department, Fire Department, Planning Department, and others must occur following the submission of an application. For more information regarding a Certificate of Use, please call the Building Department at 305.673.7610.
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIPS, PARTNERSHIPS AND CORPORATIONS
Your first decision as a business owner is to determine the legal structure of your business. Your choice determines what kind of taxes the business must pay, who's liable and what forms are necessary. There are four main choices: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation or Limited Liability Company. Contact the Florida Department of State Division of Corporation for more information at 850.488.9000 or visit them online at www.sunbiz.org.
STATE AND FEDERAL TRADEMARKS
A trademark or service mark may be registered with the Florida Division of Corporations for use and protection only in the state of Florida. For protection of your trademark in the entire U.S., including Florida, you must register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For information about registering in Florida, call 850.245.6051 or check the Division of Corporation's website at www.sunbiz.org. For information regarding federal registration, contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 800.786.9199 or visit them online at www.uspto.gov.
USEFUL START UP INFORMATION
The Small Business Administration's small business guide
(http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html) is intended to serve as a roadmap for starting a business. It is both comprehensive and easy to use. It also includes numerous electronic links for additional information. Use this powerful interactive tool, with many supporting resources to help you start a successful business.