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How to Form an LLC in Sarasota Florida

Published On:
September 28, 2021

Are you thinking of forming an LLC in Sarasota, Florida? Here is a step-by-step guide to creating an LLC.

What is an LLC?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a relatively new business structure for small businesses in the USA. It is a legal entity that combines the pass-through tax treatment of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the limited liability of a corporation. An LLC is not a corporation (although it's often mistakenly identified as such). It differs from a corporation in that the members of an LLC are subject to fewer record keeping and reporting requirements than those required of a corporation, and its status as a pass-through entity means that members of an LLC are not taxed on profits earned by the company, but instead "pass-through" the profits and losses to their personal income tax returns.

What do I need to form an LLC?

The first thing you want to do is choose a name for your limited liability company. Your LLC's name must include the words "Limited Liability Company" or the abbreviation "LLC." The word "Limited" may be abbreviated as "Ltd." or "Ltd." The word "Company" may be abbreviated as "Co." or "Co." If you're establishing multiple LLCs, the name may include the words "Limited Liability Company" followed by another name. For example, "Panda LLC" or "Panda, LLC." 

If you plan to operate your LLC in multiple states, you must check with the secretary of state or corporations division of each state to determine the name requirements. 

Once you've chosen a name, you must make sure it's available to use. You can check for availability on the Internet using the state corporation search. For Florida, the state website is If you don't want to check the name yourself, you can hire an attorney or an agent to do it for you.

Next, you need to gather the required information about your business. This will be:

  1. The Limited Liability Company Name 
  2. The address of your business location (also called the principal address). In Florida, the mailing address of an LLC can be different from the principal address (P.O. Boxes are allowed).
  3. The business owners (also called the Registered Agent). The address of the registered agent must have a physical street address in Florida. This may be different or the same as the business address. P.O. Boxes and out-of-state addresses are not allowed.

The other steps here are optional.

  1. Manager. This is a person who may act on behalf of the owners of the company in a legal capacity. They are notated by using the MGR abbreviation on the application.
  2. Authorized Representative. This is a person who can execute and file records with the Florida Division of Corporations.

Points to note:

  • If Managers and Authorized Representatives are to be listed, their names and addresses must be on the form. 
  • Other members of the LLC must not be listed.

You may see a section on the form asking for an EIN. This is an employer identification number and is issued by the IRS. This is only required in the State of Florida if you are forming an LLC with two or more members. Otherwise, you may use your SSN in place of an EIN.

If you do need an EIN, you can get one immediately online at IRS.

How to file successfully

To form an LLC, you need to file a document called "Articles of Organization for Florida Liability Company." This can be filed via mail or online. Filing online is the easiest and can be done so at There will be a filing fee of $100 and a registered agent designation fee of $25. Additionally, you can have a certificate mailed to your address for an additional $35. This will include a Certified copy form and a certificate of status that verifies your LLC has been formed as of the effective date on your application. 

If filing online, you will also need to provide an email address where the status of the application will be sent. 

Now that the application has been approved, you can legally operate in Florida under the name of your LLC. However, there is another step you can also take. You can file what is known as DBA or Doing Business As. This is a notice of intent to everyone in that state then you are conducting your business under a particular name. Following my example from above, instead of including "Panda, LLC" on all your marketing, if you file a DBA as "Panda", you could now legally use Panda as your business name while still maintaining an LLC and all the tax and legal benefits. This is particularly useful if your LLC name is long and not memorable. A famous example of this is IBM, which full name is International Business Machines Corporation. 

How to File a DBA

With an LLC filed and approved, a DBA is relatively quite simple to file. In Florida, a DBA is called a Fictitious name and simply a notice of intent to use a particular name for conducting business locally.

Before registering a fictitious name with the state, you must advertise your intent to use the name in a local county newspaper at least once. However, proof of advertisement is not required to complete the form. You sign and certify that you have. It is generally recommended to advertise the name regardless to save yourself potential infringement in the future.

For All businesses in Sarasota county, you can submit your intent to use a fictitious name to the Business Observer. They charge a $28 publishing fee to have it published in the next edition of the paper. 

Once you have submitted your name use to the business observer, you may go ahead and file a fictitious name registration at

And that's it! You now have an LLC formed for your business. If you need help with getting a website set up for your business, contact us in the banner below. 

Nothing in this article constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice of any kind. While this blog post was written with the assistance of a lawyer, Atrax Designs does not offer legal services in any capacity. We make websites. Any legal service associated with our service packages is offered through registered and strictly vetted third parties. 

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