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If you're a small business owner in Florida looking to maximize your tax benefits and protect your personal assets, you may want to consider setting up an S Corporation, otherwise known as an S Corp. Starting an S corp in Florida can propel your small business. You and your business can take advantage of the benefits of an S corp, but there are requirements and regulations you must follow as well. 

All S corps start as corporations that are then converted to S corps. There are also rules you’ll need to know to avoid any mistakes as you start your S corp. Keep reading to discover five simple steps to setting up an S corp in Florida.

What Is an S Corporation?

An S Corp is a business entity that combines the benefits of a corporation (limited liability protection) with pass-through taxation. It allows business owners to avoid double taxation on their income while providing the legal structure of a corporation. S corporations have federal requirements that the IRS sets. All S corporations start as corporations and convert into S corporations by completing Form 2553. To become an S corp, your corporation must:

  • Be a domestic corporation 
  • Have no more than 100 shareholders
  • Have only one class of stock
  • Have only allowable shareholders, which may be certain trusts, estates, and individuals. It may not be corporations, non-resident shareholders, or partnerships.
  • Not be an ineligible corporation.
  • S Corporation Requirements in Florida

    Florida offers an attractive environment for businesses, with its pro-business policies, no personal income tax, and a vibrant economy. However, there are a few requirements that S Corp owners should be aware of.

    To form an S corp, you’ll form a corporation with the Florida Department of State. After forming your corporation, you’ll file and submit Form 2553. This will allow your corporation to elect to be taxed as an S corporation. 

    How to Start an S Corp in Florida

    Setting up an S corp in Florida takes five steps:

    1. Choose a business name
    2. File Articles of Incorporation
    3. Apply for a business license
    4. Obtain an EIN
    5. Complete and submit Form 2253

    You can sidestep these five steps by working with the S corp experts at 1-800Accountant.
    We have professionals in Florida ready to get you up and running!

    Step 1: Choose a Business Name

    The first step to setting up a business in Florida is to choose a business name. Florida business owners must choose a business name that is distinguishable within the Florida Department of State records. 

    There are additional requirements for S corp names in Florida: 

  • You should search for a business name with the Department of State to choose one that’s available and unique.
  • Your business name should include: Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Corp., Inc. or Co. 
  • You shouldn’t use your business name until after you receive your filing acknowledgment from the Florida Division of Corporations.
  • Finding a unique brand name and (normal-looking) domain to go with it can be a bit of a time-sink for new business owners. This free tool from Business Name Zone generates name and domain combos for you based on your input – and it only takes a few minutes.

    Step 2: Articles of Incorporation

    Next, you’ll file your Articles of Incorporation. Along with your business corporation name, you’ll provide additional information: 

  • Your corporation’s address
  • Registered agent name 
  • Registered agent address
  • Registered agent’s signature
  • Corporate purpose
  • Officer and director information
  • Effective date
  • Stock Shares
  • Incorporator’s signature
  • There are important details to know during this step in the process for the corporate purpose, effective date, officer/director, registered agent, and stock shares. 

    First, providing a corporate purpose for non-professional corporations is optional. The effective date for an S corp begins when the Florida Division of Corporation files your Articles of Incorporation. 

    Officers and directors also have requirements when filing your Articles of Incorporation. The addresses and names of your directors and officers are optional. However, if you want to include these names, there’s a format you’ll follow.

    Fourth, you’ll need a registered agent to start an S corp in Florida. A registered agent can be an entity or individual, but it must have a physical street address in the state. 

    The registered agent must also provide a signature. For business entities who wish to provide a signature, an individual of the entity must sign to serve as a registered agent. 

    Finally, to start a corporation in Florida, you’ll enter the number of stock shares your corporation will issue. You must provide at least one stock share to complete your Articles of Incorporation.

    Step 3: Apply for a Business License

    Third, you’ll apply for a business license to start an S corp in Florida. You’ll work with two main business license agencies to get your business license, either DACS (Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) or DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation).

    Florida offers additional business license agencies for health professions and other professions. If your S corp will focus on certain professions, you’ll contact:

  • Agency for Healthcare Administration (ALFs, home care, nursing homes)
  • Agency for Persons With Disabilities (Group homes)
  • Department of Children and Families (Daycare facilities)
  • Department of Financial Services (Insurance agents)
  • Department of Health (Clinical social workers, nurses, tattoo artists)
  • Step 4: Obtain EIN

    The fourth step to starting an S corp in Florida is to obtain an EIN. You can apply for an EIN in three ways, by fax, by mail, or online, and it is free to get your EIN. 

    There’s only one difference among the ways you can obtain an EIN. The time to receive your EIN will vary from four days (if you apply by fax) to a few weeks (if you apply by mail). While you can receive an EIN immediately if you apply online, you’ll need to complete the application in one sitting. We can also assist and simplify the EIN filing process.

    Step 5: Complete and Submit IRS Form 2553

    The final step to starting an S corp in Florida is to file S Corp Election with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To gain S Corporation status, complete and submit IRS Form 2553. This form allows a corporation to elect to be treated as an S corp in Florida. After completing IRS Form 2553, you’ll fax it to the IRS.

    How much does it cost to start an S corp in Florida?

    There are two required fees to know if you want to start an S corp in Florida. There are filing fees which cost $35.00, and a Registered Agent Designation fee of $35.00. Together, the required fees cost $70.00 to start an S corp.

    There are two optional fees which you may choose to pay. If you want a Certificate of Status, there’s a fee of $8.75. If you want a Certified Copy of your documents, there’s a fee of $8.75 as well.

    How long does it take to start an S corp in Florida?

    While the state of Florida doesn’t have guidelines for when to start an S corp, there’s a deadline the IRS sets. 

    There’s a requirement to file Form 2553 no more than two months and 15 days (or 75 days) after the election takes effect. 

    Let Us Help You Start Your S Corp

    Starting an S corp in Florida is a process that can be made seamless by partnering with the right team of business formation professionals. The formation of your entity is a critical first step, and it's important to get it right. This is where the team at 1-800Accountant can assist you. Our experts can guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you're set up for success from the start.

    With 1-800Accountant, you're not just getting help with the initial formation of your S corp. Our team is dedicated to helping your small business thrive, offering ongoing support and services tailored to your specific needs. So, don't wait. Schedule a free consultation today and take the first step towards successful S corp formation in Florida.

    This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. 1-800Accountant assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.