Obtaining Business Licenses in Florida
A business license is essential for most new businesses as it ensures the business is able to operate or transact in the said jurisdiction. You have to first identify your licensing requirements and then apply for a business license in Florida, which depends completely on the type of business activity, location of the business, and the industry. As a small business, you may be required to obtain a regulated industry license as well as a business tax receipt.
How do I get a business license in Florida?
There are primarily two types of licenses in Florida, which are general licenses also known as a business tax receipt and licenses or permits for regulated industries and professions. You need to first identify whether your business requires to obtain a license for Florida business in either categories or a single category. In certain cases, you may even require local permits and approvals from local fire, police, health and zoning authorities. If you have a company office like a retail outlet in different counties or cities then you will have to apply for a local business license in each of those cities or counties. Similarly, you have to apply for Florida business license renewal in each of the counties or cities.
Application for a General business license
A general business license in Florida is also known as a Business Tax Receipt (BTR) or even an Occupational License. A BTR is required by law or municipal ordinances as it is issued by the local tax collector office in each city or county. In order to obtain a license for Florida business, you will have to apply with the Tax Collector’s Office in the city or county you are operating your business from.
Example: If your business is situated in Palm Beach County then you will have to apply for and obtain a license for Florida business from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s office. You will have to complete and submit the “Application for Local Business Tax Receipt” pursuant to County Ordinance No. 17-2. According to Sec. 17-17 of PBC Ordinance No. 72-7, you will not be issued any business tax receipt until you have complied with relevant county laws related to zoning, building, fire control, construction, and health. The cost of a Florida business license will vary according to the type of business activity and business tax will be generated accordingly.
IncParadise is one of the most reputable Florida registered agents and we offer a specialized “Business License Research Report” service to help you with all requirements pertaining to licensing and permits in this state. This research report contains detailed information that will help you to apply for a Florida business license.
What do you need to provide when applying for a Florida business license?
As a new business or startup, you will have to apply for a business license in Florida to make your company operational. Depending on the type of business activity, you may have to submit different types of documentation along with the permit or license application as well as for business tax receipts. The documents required are:
- Registration Documents – You will have to provide a copy of the Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation or any other formation documents depending on the form of business.
- Tax ID – One of the important documents required for new license application as well as Florida business license renewal is a copy of the Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Tax ID Number. If it is not available then you can submit a copy of your Social Security Number (SSN).
- City Business Tax Receipt – If you are applying for a regulated business license in Florida and if your business is situated within the city limits then you will be required to provide a City Business Tax Receipt. If your business is situated outside city limits then a certificate of use from the Planning & Zoning Division will be required.
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How much does a business license cost in Florida?
There are two types of licenses in Florida; one is the small business license in Florida also known as the business tax receipt and the other is the license for regulated industries and professions. The cost of a Florida business license in either case would vary from one business to another and according to the business activity or industry.
For example: the license fee for a permanent food service or restaurant would be $262 for 1-49 seats and the fee for non-seating food establishments is $242 annually.
Renewing Florida Business License
Once you apply for and obtain a license for your Florida business, it is important to ensure it is renewed as and when required. If you have paid an annual license fee then it will be renewed annually and if you have paid a 1/2 year fee then you will have to apply for a Florida business license renewal after 6 months. If you fail to renew your business license or operate without obtaining a license then there can be fines and penalties for non-compliance and can even lead to business closure.
It is important to note that local business tax receipts or a business license in Florida has a validity of one year and expires on Sept 30 each year. If you fail to apply for a Florida business license renewal or local business tax receipts before October 1 each year then your business will be considered to be delinquent. There is a delinquency penalty of 10% for the month of October and an additional 5% penalty for each month till March 1 after which legal action will be filed.