Florida Registered Agent
How to Start a Jacksonville Business
8 Steps to Start a Jacksonville Business:
Dive into all the details on starting a Jacksonville business, including business registration, getting a Jacksonville business license, and accessing community resources. Whether you’re a small business owner in the tourism industry or an entrepreneur intent on making it big in tech, the vibrant city of Jacksonville, Florida offers a wide range of opportunities across business sectors.
1. File Formation Paperwork
When starting a business in Jacksonville, your first step will probably be filing formation paperwork with the Florida Division of Corporations. Florida LLCs file Articles of Organization ($125) and Florida corporations file Articles of Incorporation ($70). As part of your filing, you’ll need to appoint a Florida registered agent who will be listed on your articles.
You won’t need to register with the state if you’re forming a sole proprietorship. However, if you’re trying to choose between starting a sole proprietorship and an LLC, remember that a sole proprietorship doesn’t offer the personal asset protection or tax advantages that come from owning an LLC.
Considering an LLC or corporation for your Jacksonville business?
Compare filing on your own to hiring our expert local registered agents to form your LLC or corporation.
DIY Business Formation
Pay only the Florida state fees and use our guide to set up your company.
- $70 Corporation/ $125 LLC
- May add our $49/year registered agent service
- Business owners must write or purchase their own operating agreements or bylaws
- Business owners must get their own domain names and websites
- Business owners must use their personal phone number or purchase an additional line
Hire Your Registered Agent Today!
Our Business Formation Service
Hire us to save time, effort, and possibly money. Includes:
- $49/year registered agent service
- Option to use our address on public records
- State filing fees
- Article preparation and submission
- Attorney-drafted operating agreement or corporate bylaws
- Expert Florida business support for the life of your business
- Official state approved articles sent to us, and stored securely online indefinitely
- Domain name, open-source website, email, and phone service to make your business look professional
All this for $49 registered agent + state fees + $100
2. Apply for an EIN
To file your federal taxes, you’ll need a federal tax ID. You can use your social security number if you’re a sole proprietor or single-member LLC. However, most businesses will need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). For example, the IRS requires corporations, multi-member LLCs, and all businesses with employees to get an EIN.
It’s a good idea to get your EIN right after registering your business because you’ll likely need to provide your EIN in order to obtain certain licenses and permits, pay local business taxes, and open a business bank account.
3. Register any DBAs (Fictitious Names)
Using a DBA, or “doing business as” name, is common practice for all types of businesses. Sole proprietors often adopt a fictitious name to avoid doing business under their own legal names (in Florida, unless the name of your sole proprietorship includes your full name, you must get a DBA). LLCs and corporations also frequently use DBAs to rebrand or expand into a new line of business without having to form an entirely new business entity.
A Florida DBA isn’t a business on its own—it’s just an alias for your business, making it possible for you to operate under a name that’s different from your legal business name. For example, you may run a bed-and-breakfast in Neptune Beach under the name “Trident Cottage,” even though the legal name of your business is Vegarosa Rentals.
4. Submit a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Businesses registered at the state level, like LLCs and corporations, typically need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (there are a few exemptions). Starting January 1st, 2024, these businesses must provide the federal government with basic information about their company and those with the most influence over business decisions.
5. Register for Florida State Taxes
Although there’s no state income tax in Florida, there is a 6% sales tax for all businesses involved in the sales of taxable items and services. Duval County charges an additional 1.5%, so in total, your Jacksonville business will need to collect and pay a 7.5% sales tax.
Corporations also need to pay a 5.5% corporate tax on all profits over $50,000.
Depending on your industry, you may also have to pay additional taxes. For example, if you plan on selling aviation fuel to small private airports, you’ll need to pay the Florida Fuel Tax.
6. Get a Local Business Tax Receipt
If you’re doing business in Jacksonville, you’re on the hook for local business taxes. You’ll need to obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt from the Duval County Tax Collector.
All businesses large and small that provide merchandise, services, or entertainment to the public must have a Local Business Tax (LBT) Receipt. So, even if you’re just a sole proprietor who makes money teaching guitar lessons, you’re required to have a receipt.
Additionally, if your company operates in multiple locations, you’ll need a receipt for each place of business. You’ll also need to get separate receipts for each type of work your business conducts that falls into a different tax classification. If your company performs work in three different tax classifications, you must get three receipts (one for each classification).
Your LBT receipt must be clearly displayed within view of the public at your place of business, and you are subject to inspection by county tax officers at any time
7. Obtain any Required Licenses and Permits
Florida doesn’t issue a general business license. However, if you work in a field that requires specialized education or training, you may need a professional or industry-specific license, such as a medical license or a wetlands permit. Certain types of businesses also require special licenses or permits—for example, if you’re opening up a beachside bar, you’ll have to get a liquor license.
8. Get a Certificate of Use
Before you can start business operations, you need a Certificate of Use (COU). A COU verifies that your business space is compliant with local zoning ordinances, the Florida Fire Prevention Code, and the Florida Building Code. For example, say you’re opening a restaurant and want to offer outdoor dining. You’ll need to make sure that the property you plan to use is zoned for your needs.
Jacksonville Business Resources
Feeling overwhelmed or want some in-person guidance? Here are some Jacksonville-specific business resources and organizations to help you on your way.
Getting the lay of the land
- City of Jacksonville Small Business Help Sessions: Get answers to your specific questions about permits, zoning, fire inspections, and certificates of use. These sessions are held twice a month, and you must register to join. Fill out the registration form online and find answers to some frequently asked questions on the city’s Small Business Help page.
- Jacksonville Public Library Small Business Resources: The library’s Small Business Resources Collection contains links to data for market research, information on business planning, and even tips for starting a side hustle.
- Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida (UNF): The Florida SBDC at UNF offers free business consulting and trainings on a variety of topics, including starting your business, government contracting, bookkeeping, and even hurricane preparedness. You can sign up for no-cost consulting online.
- US Small Business Administration (SBA) North Florida District: SBA North Florida provides free business consulting and support. The office can also connect you with state and federal resources and help you find funding, including Florida small business grants. And, if you’re feeling in need of inspiration, you can read some of the small business administration Jacksonville’s success stories.
Doing business with the City of Jacksonville
- Bidding Opportunities for Work with the City of Jacksonville: If you’d like to work with the city, check the bid opening schedule and learn about bid awards for contractual services and supplies, professional services, and capital improvements. Contracts with the city can range from landscaping to engineering design services.
- Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business (JSEB) Directory: To support the local economy in Jacksonville, the city made a goal to fulfill at least 20% of its contracts by hiring small and emerging Jacksonville businesses. You can sign up to be a supplier online, and once you’re approved, your business will be listed in the JSEB Directory. The directory is open to the public, so joining the JSEB supplier portal not only increases your opportunities for working with the city but also allows private citizens and businesses to find your services.
Connecting with the local business community
- Jacksonville Business Professionals (JBP): Jacksonville Business Professionals is an organization that allows professionals like accountants, attorneys, insurance providers, and lenders to network and further their education. Another major goal of JBP is collaboration between members, so if you’re part of this sector, JBP membership could bring you business opportunities. You can apply for membership online.
- Downtown Investment Authority (DIA): The Downtown Investment Authority offers resources to developers and other businesses seeking to invest in downtown Jacksonville. The DIA has numerous incentives and programs for partnering with the city to do business. Project profile assessment forms and applications are available online.
- JAX Chamber: JAX Chamber provides support to local businesses through initiatives like the JAX Bridges Entrepreneurship Program and resources such as the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center. Additionally, JAX Chamber advocates for business-friendly policies and laws in North Florida. You can fill out the membership application online.