DBA / Doing Business as/ fictitious name

$75 Filing Fee + $50 Florida state fee + $95 Publication= $220 total

If you're not going to use your own name as the name of your company (example: John Smith), you're going to need a fictitious business name, or DBA (Doing Business As). With a DBA, you can legally publish your business name everywhere: the phone book, your business cards, advertisements, directories, etc. You're putting yourself at risk without one.

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LLC / limited liability company

$75 Filing Fee + $125 Florida state fee = $200 total

A limited liability company (LLC) has many advantages as a form of business entity:

  • Pass-through taxation - under the default tax classification, profits taxed at the member level, not at the LLC level (i.e., no double taxation).

  • Limited liability - the owners of the LLC, called "members," are protected from liability for acts and debts of the LLC.

  • With "check-the-box" taxation, an LLC can elect to be taxed as a sole proprietor, partnership, S-corp or corporation, providing much flexibility.

  • Can be set up with just one natural person involved or, in some states, one owner which may be an entity itself.

  • No requirement of an annual general meeting for shareholders.

  • No loss of power to a board of directors (although an operating agreement may provide for centralization of management power in a board or similar body).

  • LLCs are enduring legal business entities, with lives that extend beyond the illness or even death of their owners, thus avoiding problematic business termination or sole proprietor death.

  • Much less administrative paperwork and recordkeeping.

  • Membership interests of LLCs can be assigned, and the economic benefits of those interests can be separated and assigned, providing the assignee with the economic benefits of distributions of profits/losses (like a partnership), without transferring the title to the membership interest.

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cORP. / inc. / corporation / incorporation

$75 Filing Fee + $70 Florida state fee = $145 total

There are many advantages to incorporating your business.  Liability protection of your personal assets is one of the primary reasons why a small business will form a corporation.  Incorporating helps to separate your personal assets from that of your business.   A corporation is a legal entity that exists separately from its owners or shareholders. Typically, shareholders are not liable for the debts and obligations of the corporation or from any litigation where the corporation is the defendant.  In a partnership or sole proprietorship, the creditors can go after the owner's personal assets if the company assets are not enough to settle a claim.

1) A Florida corporation will have an unlimited life.

2) Incorporations have limited liability protection for shareholders.

3) Shares are transferable.

4) Check with a CPA in Florida, because you may be able to reduce taxes.

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