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A Guide to Florida Business Entity Search

There are different types of businesses you can form in Florida right from a limited liability company to a general partnership, corporation, and even sole proprietorship. You can form a domestic entity or register a foreign business in the state. There are times when you may need to conduct a Florida business entity search especially if you are looking to see if your chosen business name is available or not. This guide has been created specifically on how to do a business entity name search in Florida, the importance of entity search, and the different search options available among others.

Florida Business Entity Search

The number of small businesses in the U.S. has grown from 16,529,955 (16 million) in 2000 to more than 25 million in 2021 while Florida is home to 2.5 million small businesses. The increasing number of small businesses indicates that Florida has a pro-business environment and offers plenty of advantages to ensure these businesses are able to move towards a path of growth and expansion.

If you are planning to form a startup in Florida then one of the important requirements in filing registration is a Florida business name search. This search basically helps you in identifying if the chosen name or assumed name for your new business or foreign entity is not registered in the Florida business name database managed by the division of corporations.

What is a Florida business entity search?

You can choose from different types of businesses depending on your requirement and the benefits such forms offer. The first step towards forming any business like a limited liability company or a corporation is identifying and reserving a business name. The process to check the availability of a specific business name in the state is known as Florida business entity search. Let’s look at the following example to understand this concept and process.

Example: If you are thinking of forming a hiking startup called “Hiking Florida LLC” then the first thing you need to do is to ensure the name is available. This will require you to conduct a Florida business name search also known as name availability check with the database of the division of corporations. This process can also be used to check availability of a fictitious name in the Florida business name database.

If you are wondering how to do a business entity name search in Florida then it is important to note that this entire process is conducted online.

Why is it important to do a Florida business entity search?

A Florida business entity search is an important process and this has to be conducted prior to filing the new business registration or incorporation documents and application. A business name or a fictitious name is the primary identity for any new or existing business irrespective of the entity structure. Hence, there are certain naming rules and regulations that you will be required to follow and these rules or regulations vary according to the type of business.

The rules for an LLC name will be different from that of a corporation and similarly, an assumed or fictitious name would be different from the name of a small business owner. In order to understand how to do a business entity name search in Florida, you have to first recognize the significance of a business name search. Some of the important reasons are:

  • The process of business entity search ensures your chosen name is not already in use by any other forms of business like a corporation or LLC in the state. The division of corporation allows you to search the entire Florida business name database to identify if your chosen name is unique or not.
  • The process of name search will highlight whether your chosen name is distinguishable even after using words like Limited Liability Company or abbreviation like “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
  • Names that have a suffix, a punctuation mark, a symbol, a definite or indefinite article etc., are not considered as distinguishable e.g., if your chosen business name is ‘Alpha Treks & Hike’ and the Florida business name search pulls up another business name in the records as ‘Alpha Treks and Hike’ then your name will not be considered as being distinguishable.

How to do a business entity name search in Florida?

A business name is the most important aspect of any type of business filing in Florida. Without a proper name, you will not be able to incorporate or register your startup. You have to provide a business name in most business documents. For example, Florida annual reports, applications for Amendment, SS-4 application for Employer Identification Number (EIN), cover letters, change of registered agent application, affidavit to change members, managers, officers, or directors, and articles of correction and dissolution among others all require a business name. Hence, conducting a proper Florida business name search is extremely important and there are several ways of doing it.

Visit Search Records

The first step towards how to conduct a business entity name search in Florida starts from the Florida Division of Corporation’s website also known as the Sunbiz Search Records option. The website provides several options to both new and existing domestic and foreign entities to conduct a Florida business name search through a comprehensive business name database.

Know the search options

There are different Florida business entity search options that you can consider depending on your requirements or needs. The options are as follows:

  • Search by entity name – The first type of Florida business name search option is by searching using a chosen name. When opting for this option, you can search the name database for Limited Liability Companies, corporations, Limited Partnership, and Trademarks. If you are planning to start a corporation and you have chosen a name like Florida Hills Inc., then while searching using this name, you will find that it is not a unique name as you may find some other the entities with similar names in the Florida business name database you may find similar names like, Florida Hills Corporation, Florida Hills Corp., Florida Hills, Inc., and Florida Hills. In such a scenario, you will have to change the name and search again. For example, you can choose ‘Florida Hill Store’ and if the search shows this name is available, then you have the green light to use it.
  • Search by registered agent – If you are planning to form a registered agent service or you want to conduct a Florida business entity search using the name of the registered agent then there is the option to do so. If you are searching for a registered agent service using the name ‘Registered Agents Inc.’, then the search will reveal several names along with the entity number.
  • Search by trademark name – A trademark name is used primarily to identify brands or goods and hence is known as a brand name. In order to register a trademark name in Florida, you will need to do it through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Florida business name database of the division of corporations allows searching for trademark names. The database lists all trademarks as well as all service mark registrations by name and the result includes document numbers and status of each entity.
  • Search by Trademark Owner Name – This type of Florida business entity search is conducted using the trademark owner name. The Florida business name database lists the trademark as well as service mark owners by their name and the results reveal the document numbers related to the names.
  • Search by EIN – The EIN or the Employer Identification Number is a unique nine digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses. You can use the EIN to conduct a Florida business name search and the result may bring up several entities registered under a single Federal Employer Identification number (FEI) and EIN.
  • Search Detail by Document Number – If you are wondering how to do a business entity name search in Florida then one of the options is conducting a name search using the document number of the business. The document number of a Florida business is a 6 or 12 digit number that has been assigned to an entity by the Division of Corporations during the registration or incorporation process. An example would be, if you search using a document number ‘F93200’ then it brings out the name of the entity and its filing information, status (active/inactive), and even the registered agent name and address.

Submit and view entity details (Active/Inactive)

The important step towards how to do a business entity name search in Florida is to use any of the name search options offered by the Division of Corporations. A Florida business name search can be conducted using the official state of Florida website (Sunbiz) for both active and inactive businesses. As an example, if you conduct the search using the document number ‘F93201’, it will bring up the following filing information:

  • Name of the business
  • FEI/EIN Number
  • Date of registration
  • Status (Active/Inactive)
  • Principal address and mailing address
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Officer or director detail
  • Annual Reports and filing dates

Looking to Conduct a Florida Business Entity Search?

The process of a Florida business entity search is helpful for all forms of businesses as it helps you to check the availability of a business name and if available, you can reserve or register the name. A new business can be registered only after it has reserved its name and IncParadise can provide any guidance or information that you require to form a new business in Florida.

We can help you to do a Florida business name search and get you the details of the search. IncParadise is one of the leading business formation service providers in Florida and provides several additional services to help different types of businesses.

Do you want to form a Florida business?