What Documents Do You Need to Start Your Small Business?

When starting your small business, there are many important steps involved.  Chief among these is preparing and acquiring the proper documentation.  There is no one definitive answer as to what documents are needed to properly run your small business.  Rather, it depends on the business type you seek to start.  Options for a business form include a partnership, a limited liability company, and a corporation, among others.  Each comes with its own benefits.  While the subject of what benefits are associated with each business type are not discussed in this post, this post seeks to touch upon what is needed of each business type to be recognized as a legal entity by the state.

Tax Documents (All Business Types). All small businesses, regardless of their form in Florida, are required to take into account several tax documents.  First, if the business seeks to report business income separate from personal income for tax return purposes, you must acquire an employer identification number, or EIN.  The EIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service free of charge.  If you plan to report business income separate from personal income, you need an EIN regardless of whether your business hires employees.  Further, depending on the state statute, your company may also need a state tax ID in order for the state to collect taxes from your business.

Partnerships. Regardless of whether you are in a general or sole proprietorship, there are additional documents you need.  Chief among these is the DBA document.  The DBA document, or doing business as, is also known as a fictitious name.  The DBA can be acquired from the county clerk’s office and requires payment of a processing fee. Only partnerships doing business under a name different than the proprietor’s legal name need a DBA document.

Limited Liability Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships. All LLCs and LLPs require their proprietors to register with their local county or state.  Every county or state has varying registration fees.  Without registration, LLCs and LLPs may lose their limited liability protections.  It is therefore important to complete the new business registration paperwork and remain current on registration fees.

S Corporations and C Corporations. Both S corporations and C corporations are required to register and pay mandatory fees with the proper county or state, much like LLCs and LLPs. However, corporations are required to file articles of incorporation. In Florida, the articles of incorporation are required to be filed with the secretary of state. Further, in Florida, the articles must include specific provisions: name and address of the corporation, name and address of the incorporators, name and address of a registered agent or office, and the number of authorized shares.  Without proper filing, the corporation may lose its protections.

In conclusion, you must be aware of the type of documents needed by your business to operate legally and be recognized in its separate capacity from the proprietor.  What documents are needed will depend on the business form your small business takes.  Consulting with the right legal team can ensure you complete and file all of the proper documents.  Call the Trembly Law Firm at (305) 431-5678 today to schedule your consultation.