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Starting your own business in the Sunshine State

If you are planning to start your own business in Florida, there are a ton of benefits and incentives to help you get started.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you are planning to start a business in Florida, you have come to the right state.

According to the state of Florida, the state has the fourth-largest economy in the U.S. On top of that, small businesses are essential to Florida, making up 99.8% of all businesses in the state.

Plus, there are other benefits. Florida is known for tourists visiting every year. From coming to hit the beaches, or explore Disney World, tourists visiting Florida can have a huge impact on small businesses.

Additionally, Florida is considered one of the most tax-friendly states. Along with no personal income tax, corporations in Florida are only required to pay 5.5% on their corporate income tax return, which means more money for your business in the long run.

If you have decided on a product or service to sell, but don’t know where to get started, growing a business isn’t too complicated. There are a few simple steps you can follow.

First, you will want to decide on what type of business you will be running. You can choose between a Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, or DBA, also known as a “Doing Business As.”

If you plan to operate your business under a name that is not your legal name, Florida requires you to submit a DBA. The state also has a database where you can make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else.

After registering your business with the state, you will need to apply for your Employer Identification Number, along with applying for any other business licenses or permits you may need.

Your licenses can vary, depending on the type of industry you are in, but you can check with your county’s tax collector to figure out what you need.

If you also need some help getting your business off the ground, Florida has a ton of incentives to help you get started.

The state offers Quick Response Training (QRT), a program that provides training for your business, including instructors, training materials, and more.

Additionally, Incumbent Worker Training also helps currently employed workers receive additional training to keep the business competitive. If you’re qualified, these incentives will not come at any cost to you.

Depending on what kind of industry you are in, Florida also offers sales and use tax exemptions on all kinds of business purchases, including machinery and equipment used by a new or expanding manufacturer.

Lastly, there is the Capital Investment Tax Credit. It is used to grow capital-intensive industries in the state, providing an annual credit for up to 20 years against the corporate income tax.

Depending on what kind of company you are starting, your initial start-up costs will vary.

In general, all businesses have to pay $100 to file Articles of Organization with the Florida Secretary of State’s office. On top of that, you will have to pay a $25 registered agent fee. You could also end up paying a few more fees for copies of those files.

Florida will not require you to have commercial liability insurance, although you probably want to have it anyway to protect your assets. If you plan to operate a car or truck for your business, you will need a commercial vehicle policy.

If you have started your business, and you are making enough money to hire an employee, there are a few steps you need to take.

Florida employers are required to report newly hired and re-hired employees to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center within 20 days of the employee’s start date.

If you hire a temporary employee from a temp agency, you will not have to report that.

Once you get your business going, look to your local resources for additional support. Central Florida SCORE is a nonprofit dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses by providing experts on business counseling through workshops and one-on-ones.

Below is a list of additional resources to help you get started:

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