Corporate Structure • Naming Your Business • Permits and Licenses • Location
Permits and Licenses
Forms and More Forms
Launching a business typically involves paperwork. Unless you plan to go it alone — as a home-based sole proprietor with no employees — you will probably need to obtain certificates, licenses and permits in order to legally operate. Here’s an overview of what you might need.
Required by most counties and cities in Florida and must be obtained prior to receiving a business tax receipt. For addresses within city limits, contact the city zoning department; for addresses outside city limits, contact the county zoning department. Note: Some jurisdictions require permits from both city and county.
Business Tax Receipt
(formerly occupational license) Required by most counties and cities in Florida. If you are located within city limits and the city and county issue separate business tax receipts, you may need two. Contact the municipal and county government offices in your area for details.
State and Professional Business Licenses
Close to 200 job categories/professions require a state license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In addition, more than 100 businesses require a license, permit or registration from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Costs vary depending on the profession; applicants must meet established criteria to be licensed. Health-related professions and businesses are licensed and regulated by the Florida Department of Health.
All businesses in Florida selling alcoholic beverages must apply for a beverage license through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Fees are based on types of beverages sold or served. Retailers and wholesalers of beer, wine or liquor also are subject to federal occupational tax and must register with and obtain a control number from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Health Permits and Licenses
Required for public lodging and public food service businesses and are available from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Licenses for retail food stores, food processing plants and food storage/distribution businesses may be obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.
Retail Establishment Licenses
Required by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation for any business financing the sale of goods or services sold by installment contract or revolving charge account to a retail buyer. Also subject to licensing and regulation: collection agencies, consumer finance companies, mortgage brokers, securities dealers and investment advisors and mortgage business schools.
Permits are required for any business that is an actual or potential polluting source; one-time construction permits and renewable operating permits are also required. Permitting is mandated for such activities as dredge and fill, storm water construction, water treatment, sewage treatment and drainage well construction. Apply through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.