Steps to Form a Florida Company as a Foreigner
If you are wondering if it is possible for you to start a company in Florida as a foreigner or non-resident then the answer is yes, most definitely. There is a specific process that you would have to follow in order to form a startup. You will also be required to be compliant with all federal and state laws pertaining to starting a company. Let’s take a look at how to start a business in Florida as a foreigner and make it operational.
1.Prepare your Florida business plan
One of the most important aspects to consider before you start a company in Florida as a foreigner is creating a strong business plan. The objective of a business plan is to help create an operational roadmap that outlines the requirements, resources available, strategies, risks, opportunities and competition. If you want to register a Florida business as a non-resident or foreigner then your business plan should include the following:
- Business objectives and mission statement
- Business Overview
- Operations Plan
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- SWOT Analysis
- Financial Projections and Funding
- Management and Organization
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan and Sales Strategy
2. Secure your business funding
If you plan to start a company in Florida as a foreigner or a non-resident then there will be initial costs and annual costs. These costs include new business formation, rental or lease of commercial space, cost of purchasing or renting equipment, marketing and promotion of business, and obtaining business license and permits among others. If you feel that your initial budget is not enough to begin operations and sustain it then you will need to secure funding through other available sources in the state. Funding is an important aspect of how to start a business in Florida as a foreigner and before you apply for funding, it is important to determine your requirements. Some of the available funding opportunities are:
- Bootstrapping or Self-funding
- Florida Small business grants
- Small Business Loans in Florida
- Angel Investment
- Venture capital from private investors
- Government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS)
- Micro-loan organizations
- Small Business Administration investment programs
- Funding from Incubators & Accelerators
3. Choose a company name
A company name is an aspect that provides an identity to the business. A good choice of name can create a brand and a poor choice can kill the brand even before it takes off. Hence, you need to consider several aspects when creating a company name. You will also need to ensure the business name is in compliance with the Florida state laws, so that you can start a business in Florida. The important aspects to consider are:
- The name should be catchy, short, and easy to pronounce
- The chosen name should be SEO friendly
- Since the name will be used to register a Florida business, it needs to be unique
- The name should reflect your product or services and brand personality
- Always check for trademark issues prior to reserving the name
- Follow state statutes for choosing a name like a corporate name should have words like “corporation,” “company,” or “incorporated”
- You can also use abbreviations like “Inc”, “Co.”, or “Corp” pursuant to FL Stat § 607.0401 (2019)
- It should not contain any language that implies or states that the company is connected with a federal or state government agency
4. Choose a business entity
If you have decided to start a business in Florida as a foreigner then one of the primary considerations to make is the business structure. You can form different types of entities in Florida like:
The type of entity you want to form will be dependent on your requirements and what you seek from the business. Each business structure has its pros and cons as well as tax requirements and these aspects need to be considered as a part of the process of identifying how to start a business in Florida as a foreigner.
5. Choose a Registered Agent
One of the important and mandatory requirements governed by the Florida business statutes is that of a registered agent. If you want to start a business in Florida then it is mandatory to designate a registered agent for the service of process.
A Florida registered agent is also known as an agent for service of process and is appointed by a new or existing business for the purpose of accepting different official correspondences and legal notices. A registered agent like IncParadise will not only handle service of process but can help you register a Florida business. IncParadise is one of the most reputable registered agent service providers in Florida today!
6. Register your company
If you want to start a company in Florida as a foreigner then there is a specific process for registration of an entity. The new business formation process will depend on the type of entity or business structure. Since you are a non-resident or a foreigner, you will have to go through the process of foreign qualification. Hence, in order to register a Florida business, you will need to file an Authority of foreign business to transact in the state.
If you are planning to form a foreign corporation then you will have to file an Application by Foreign Corporation for Authorization to Transact Business in Florida pursuant to FL Stat § 607.1501 (2019) and for an LLC it will be a Certificate of Authority pursuant to FL Stat § 605.0902 (2019). IncParadise, one of the top registered agents in Florida can help you with the process of filing your new Florida company registration. You can order a new LLC or INC online right here – right now!
Form your business in Florida today!
7. Get EIN
If you are a non-resident or a foreign citizen and are planning to start a business in Florida then you will have to apply for and obtain an EIN or employer identification number. It is a unique 9-digit identification number that is issued by the IRS to different forms of domestic and foreign businesses. An EIN is most commonly used by businesses for filing annual tax returns.
8. Open a bank account for your business
If you are wondering how to start a business in Florida as a foreigner then it is important to remember that having a business bank account can be quite helpful. Although, it may seem that your existing personal banking account may be good enough, that is not the case, simply because mixing personal and business expenditures and earnings can cause accounting issues. A business bank account is primarily used for business transactions like accepting payments, purchasing business equipment, and paying employees among others. If you want to start a company in Florida as a foreigner then here are some of the top benefits of a business bank account:
- You can be assured of financial protection for yourself as well as your company
- It will help in keeping personal finances separate from your business expenses and income
- It enables organized handling of business finances
- With a business bank account, you can track your business expenses and monitor spending
- It makes tax audit and filing of tax returns accurate and easy.
9. Obtain the necessary business licenses and permits
Florida has a strong economy that supports all forms of businesses and different types of industries. You can start a business in Florida in any industry including tourism, aerospace, cleantech, logistics, information technology, and manufacturing. Your business will be formed under the law when you submit registration documents but your business will not be operational till you have obtained the necessary business licenses and permits. It is important to understand that there are primarily two types of business licenses in Florida and they are:
- General business license known as a business tax receipt in the state
- License and permits for specific industries or professions.
10.Know about the annual and ongoing state filing requirements
Once you start a business in Florida as a foreigner or a non-US resident; you will be required to maintain it and ensure your business is compliant with all annual requirements. This will help in ensuring your business enjoys active status. Compliance with annual and ongoing state filing requirements will help you to avoid any penalties or fines related to late filings. Different forms of business entities will have different annual as well as ongoing requirements. The annual requirements are: