Checklist for Starting a Business in Manatee and Sarasota Counties
- START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN. This is essential for obtaining any financing and is an excellent resource for creating a checklist and for making sure you have thought through the business idea. SCORE has a number of resources that can help you create your plan including a workshop held several times a year.
- OBTAIN AN ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER, A BUSINESS LAWYER, AND AN INSURANCE AGENT. If you need a referral to a lawyer, The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), provides referrals to attorneys who will conduct an initial one-half hour office consultation for $25. Their number is 1-800-342-8011 1-800-342-8011 . If possible, utilize an insurance agent that comes recommended from friends, family, and colleagues. Your Manasota SCORE chapter can also provide a list of supporting professionals.
- DETERMINE A BUSINESS ORGANIZATION (E.G. C-CORPORATION, PARTNERSHIP, S-CORPORATION, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP). Through an appointment, SCORE can help with that. Alternatively, use a lawyer to help you. You might also review www.corporate.com/entitycomparison.
- REGISTER THE COMPANY WITH THE IRS AND OBTAIN A FEDERAL TAX NUMBER (EIN).
- REGISTER THE COMPANY WITH THE FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE.
What organizational documents you are required to file with the Florida Division of Corporations depends on your legal entity status. All of the requisite forms, mailing addresses and filing fees are located at: http://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/.
If you plan to market your business to the general public using a name other than your legal name (which is listed in your Articles of Incorporation or Organization), or, if a Sole Proprietorship, in a name other than your given name, or, if a Partnership and you intend the partnership to operate other than in the names of the partners, then you are required to file a Fictitious Name filing with the Florida Division of Corporations.
Certain professions require a professional license from the State of Florida. The best way to check whether your particular profession requires one of these licenses is to go to: www.myfloridalicense.com.
- REGISTER FOR STATE TAX ID NUMBER, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ID NUMBER, SALES TAX ID NUMBER (IF REQUIRED), AND ANY OTHER NECESSARY PERMITS REQUIRED FOR YOUR TYPE OF BUSINESS. See: www.myflorida.com/dor/businesses . This web site also has a NEW BUSINESS GUIDE which can be downloaded (PDF format).
- BUSINESS LICENSING
If you are doing business in Sarasota County, you need to obtain a business tax receipt license (this used to be called an Occupational License). The forms and additional information can be found at: http://www.sarasotataxcollector.com /OL_PAGES/OL_GeneralInfo.htm or by calling 941-861-8300. If your business is located within the city limits of Sarasota, Venice, North Port or Longboat Key you will first need to obtain a city issued business tax receipt before applying for the County license (see below).
Sarasota 941-365-2200 x4427
North Port 941-429-7009
Longboat Key 941-316-1999
Manatee County does not require an occupational license or business tax receipt. If your business is located within the city limits of Bradenton or Longboat Key you will need to obtain a city issued business tax receipt (see below).
Longboat Key 941-316-1999
WHILE DEALING WITH YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT BE SURE NO SPECIAL PERMITS OR ZONING REQUIREMENTS ARE REQUIRED.
- OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT.
Manasota SCORE is here to help. As you proceed through these steps, remember that you can always ask for help from SCORE!