Florida is an excellent place to start a business, even if you are working out of a home office. It is not rare to find businesses operating at home without a license, as owners tend to assume they do not need specific licensing to work from home.
Is a business necessary for at-home businesses in Florida? Read on to find out.
Do You Need a Business License for a At Home Business in Florida? – The Verdict
Whether a home business will require licensing in Florida depends on several aspects, such as the company’s legal structure, number of employees, type of activity, etc. Operating a business without the required licensing may result in civil actions and penalties.
Several business structures may apply to an at-home business. In Florida, you can form a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or other business structure with the owner’s home registered as its principal place of business.
In most cases, at-home companies are formed as sole proprietorships. Considered the simplest structure to start a Florida business, this unincorporated structure is owned and operated by one individual.
General Business License
Whether a company is operating as a one-person business at home, a general business license is required for any business selling merchandise or services.
Also referred to as a “business tax receipt,” this license is required in the city or county where the business is located. In some cases, both the city and the county may require a general business license.
Zoning laws vary significantly from one place to another. In Florida, different locations have zoning laws to specify where distinct businesses or professions can operate. Depending on the type of activities conducted by a home business, local zoning laws may curb its operation.
For example, let’s say a Florida resident operates a landscaping business at home. The daily activities of the company include constant movement of employees, truck parking overnight, and equipment like lawnmowers and trimmers outside the house.
If the home is located in a residential neighborhood, this situation will surely result in some sort of conflict with local zoning laws and complaints from neighbors.
Licenses for Regulated Activities
Many business activities and professions require specific licensing from a government regulatory body.
For example, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is responsible for licensing 35 professional segments, including the construction industry, engineering, hospitality, real estate, and landscape architecture.
The DBPR is only one of the departments responsible for licensing within state jurisdiction. Consult with an expert attorney to identify which license applies to your particular profession or business activity.
Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Many home businesses prefer to operate as a sole proprietorship or independent contractors in Florida. If a sole proprietorship decides to hire employees, the owner must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
The EIN is a federal identification number used for tax purposes. Sole proprietorships without employees are not required to obtain an EIN, as owners can use their Social Security number to file taxes with IRS.