7 Steps to Start a Business in Miami

Miami has established itself as a growing, global hub for commerce. Miami businesses of all sizes and industries enjoy relatively low sales and property taxes, and there are no local personal or local corporate income taxes. State registrations are generally moderately priced and straightforward to file online.

Our guide to starting a business in Miami walks you through each step of the process, no matter what sort of business you’re launching.

Here’s what we cover:

  1. Choose Your Miami Business Structure
  2. Register Your Business
  3. Apply for a Federal EIN
  4. File Your Federal BOI
  5. Register for Florida Business Tax
  6. Obtain Florida Licenses
  7. Obtain Miami-Dade License and Certificates

1. Choose Your Miami Business Structure

Every Florida business must register with the Florida Secretary of State Division of Corporations, SunBiz.  The only exception is a sole proprietorship exclusively operating under the business owner’s legal name. So before taking any further legal steps for the business, every Miami entrepreneur must decide how the business will be structured in order to correctly file and set the foundation for their new company.

» Unincorporated Businesses

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are examples of unincorporated businesses. These are businesses where there is no legal distinction between the owners and the business (and as such, no liability protections). If you plan to do business in Miami as a sole proprietorship or general partnership and operate under any business name besides your personal legal name, you will need to register a fictitious name with the Florida secretary of state through SunBiz. A fictitious name (also called a DBA) does not provide the same limited liability protections or other benefits of an LLC or corporation, it’s simply a name you’ll do business under. The state filing fee for a fictitious name is only $50 and it’s good for five years, which makes it a popular choice for some Miami small businesses.

» Incorporated Businesses

Florida LLCs and corporations are examples of incorporated businesses. LLCs and corporations are separate entities from their owners, meaning the business has its own legal name and assets. To start a Florida LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization (for LLCs) or Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) with the Florida Secretary of State. After registering your new business with the state, you’ll also need to file an Annual Report each year after formation by May 1st.Unlike unincorporated businesses, your Florida LLC or corporation will not need to register a fictitious name unless you do business under a company name besides the one listed in your articles.

2. Register Your Business

» Steps to Register a Fictitious Name/DBA for a Miami Business

If you need to register a fictitious name, you’ll need to make sure the name is available, publish a notice, and submit a filing:

  1. Fictitious Name Check. Before submitting any filings, check the SunBiz website to see if your preferred fictitious name is already being used in Florida.
  2. Fictitious Name Publication. Per Florida Statutes (Chapter 50), the name you register must be advertised at least once in a newspaper that is located within the county where your principal place of business is located. The State of Florida does not require proof of publishing the advertisement, but Miami-Dade County requires that businesses post legal notices online through their county portal prior to, or in conjunction with the state required printed advertisement.
  3. Fictitious Name Filing. The filing for a Florida Fictitious Name may be submitted online, or by printing and mailing the .pdf version. The online option is generally processed faster, but the fee is $50 either way and you should expect to provide the following information:
    • Business Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Principal County
    • EIN
    • Owner(s) Names and Details

Federal EIN filings are covered in the next section, but plan to apply for your EIN before registering your fictitious name if you are not forming an LLC or other incorporated business entity.

» Steps to Start a Florida LLC or Corporation for a Miami Business

Whether you’ve decided to form a Florida LLC, corporation, nonprofit, or limited partnership, SunBiz provides online and printable .pdf versions of each application. Forming a separate business entity (no matter which structure you use) requires a bit more information than just a fictitious name registration, but it also provides more protection by creating a new entity separate from the individual owners.

On the articles of organization or incorporation, expect to include details like a Florida registered agent, business purpose, etc. For full how-to guides, visit our pages dedicated to starting a Florida LLC or Florida Corporation, but the basic steps, regardless of the entity you’re forming are:

  • Check SunBiz to see if your preferred business name is already in use.
  • Hire or decide on a registered agent
  • File the appropriate articles online or by mail to SunBiz

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:

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3. Apply for a Federal EIN

After you register your Florida business with the state, your next step should be to obtain a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) as it will be requested or required for most of your subsequent steps. After your initial SunBiz filing is complete, you will work through your business filings like a funnel, starting with the largest jurisdiction (federal), working your way down to additional state level requirements, and then down to Miami-Dade County.

» What is an EIN?

Sometimes called a tax ID, an EIN is a tax identification number for your business. The IRS uses this number for federal tax purposes, such as tracking the federal withholdings of your employees. Similar to a Social Security Number, you company’s EIN is a totally unique identifier. An EIN is free to file directly with the IRS, or if you are hiring us to start your business, you can add the EIN filing under “optional items” and we’ll take care of it for you.

4. File Your Federal BOI

If you form or incorporate your Miami business as a legal entity like a Florida LLC or corporation, your business will most likely be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report to the federal government. You do not need to file a BOI report if you operate as a sole proprietor or partnership, and only filed a fictitious name.

Although there are a few exceptions, most businesses formed on or after January 1, 2024 must submit a BOI report within 30 days of formation. Reporting businesses formed prior to 2024 can file their initial BOI report at any time during 2024. BOI reports are free to file and must be filed online to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

» What information is reported?

BOI reports require company and individual information. Company information required is the company name, and DBAs/fictitious names, the jurisdiction of formation (Florida, in this case), and the tax ID or EIN. Individual information is required for company applicants if the company was formed 2024 or later, and all beneficial owners. The required individual information includes legal names, residential addresses, birth dates, and a copy of an approve photo ID.

» Who is a beneficial owner? Or company applicant?

Beneficial owners are those who own 25% or more of your company and/or who exercises substantial decision making in the business. Company applicants are those who handle the company formation filings, and/or direct the company to be formed.

5. Register for Florida Business Tax

If your Miami business is selling any taxable goods or services, you’ll need to complete the Florida Business Tax Registration through the Florida Department of Revenue. Your business should not operate without first completing the tax registration, but it does require an EIN so wait until your business is registered with the secretary of state, and you have obtained an EIN to complete this step.

Florida in one of the few states that doesn’t have a state income tax, however, there is a base, statewide 6% sales tax. Miami-Dade County has an additional 1% sales tax, so your company should collect and remit a 7% sales tax on all taxable goods and services.

Florida’s corporate tax is based on the federal taxable income, and then modified by adjustments through other variables like the current exemption of $50,000.

Taxable Year BeginningPrior to 1/1/20191/1/2019 – 12/31/20201/1/2021 – 12/31/2021On or After 1/1/2022
Tax Rate5.5%4.458%3.535%5.5%

» Are there other state business taxes?

Yes, but they don’t apply to every business. By completing the online Florida Business Tax Application, the interactive help tool will determine tax registration requirements for your business. You can also check your specific industry on the Open My Florida Business Site to see what additional taxes you may be responsible for.

» Is there Florida sales tax on remote sales?

Yes, but generally only when the remote sales exceed $100,000 annually. Remotes sales over $100,000 annually in Florida will typically require the retailer to register for taxes whether the retailer is based in Florida or not, or using a out-of-state marketplace.

6. Obtain Florida Licenses

Florida doesn’t require a general state business license, but you may have specific licensing requirements for your business’s industry or profession. Each industry or professional license is regulated by and obtained through one of the following departments.

» How does a business know which license they need?

Aside from checking directly with the department that would logically oversee your industry, you can search the Florida Business Information Portal. This site keeps it easy. Even if you search only a single keyword like “cleaning” the site will offer options from soap manufacturing to building services to you can find the option that best aligns with your business. Once you have it narrowed down, view the details to see what your type of business needs.

7. Obtain Miami-Dade License and Certificates

The “business license” for Miami-Dade County is actually called a local business tax receipt, but was formerly called the Occupational License. While a Miami-Dade County Local Business Tax Receipt and Tangible Personal Property Tax filings are required, your Miami business may also need additional local permits or certificates based on the industry or your business building itself.

Below, we go over some of the most common tax, permit and other certification requirements for new local businesses.

Local Business Tax Receipt

All businesses operating within Miami-Dade County are required to obtain a Miami-Dade County Local Business Tax Receipt (formerly known as Occupational License).

To get started, review your business tax category to see if you’re eligible for an exemption, or have additional requirements. Apply for your Local Business Tax receipt in Miami-Dade County with the online application system or fill out and print the receipt application and submit it by mail or in person.

Submit in person at:

The Tax Collector’s Office
200 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami

Submit by mail to:

Miami-Dade Tax Collector
Local Business Tax Section
200 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33128

After you receive your Miami-Dade County Local Business Tax receipt, it must be prominently displayed at your business location and publicly visible.

Tangible Personal Property Taxes

Tangible personal property taxes are assessed according to the value of the assets used in a business to derive income, such as: equipment, furniture, fixtures and equipment located in businesses and rental property.

The tangible personal property (TPP) tax return form in Miami-Dade County must be filed to the county property appraiser by April 1 each year to avoid costly penalties.

Tourist Tax Account

Businesses (or individuals) that rent or lease any traveler accommodations or short-term rentals for 6 months or less must register for a Tourist Tax Account to collect and pay monthly Convention and Tourist Development taxes. Also, businesses operating within Miami-Dade County that are licensed by the state to sell alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption are required to obtain a Miami-Dade County Tourist Tax Account and remit Local Option Food and Beverage taxes monthly.

Building Permits

Visit the Permits website to find out what you need for your commercial space or building.

Know the zoning requirements of the locations you want to open to ensure that you can operate your business there. Be sure that the space you are looking at can handle the type of business you plan to operate there before you sign a lease.

Certificate of Use

Prior to opening a business in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, a Certificate of Use (Zoning Permit) is required, to ensure that the business is allowed to operate within its zoning district. If your business will be located within a municipality you will need to check the local zoning requirements.


Plus State fees


Per Year