This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Florida Department of Revenue and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.
Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county. It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.
Business Name Registration
Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the state of Florida. Start with a statewide corporate business name search to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.
Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Florida” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and “Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your state, county or city.
In the state of Florida, filing a Fictitious Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same fictitious name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names. Register a Fictitious Name with the state.
Note: In the State of Florida, if you choose to register a fictitious name, you must certify on your application that the Fictitious Name you are registering has been advertised at least once in a newspaper located in the same county where your business will be located (or where you reside).
Business License Registration
Sole Proprietors are not required to register with the state. Sole Proprietors should check with their local county court clerk for registration requirements. Find a County Court Clerk in Florida.
General partnerships of two or more persons must register with the Division of Corporations.
In Florida, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. It is advisable for general partnerships to file for a Fictitious Name and a Statement of Partnership Authority. A Statement of Partnership Authority authorizes one partner as the primary contact person to the State of Florida, local taxing authorities and banks. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners.
Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft. You can apply for an EIN online. In addition, some business registration forms will require a a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.
Business Tax Registration
Residential housecleaning services are not taxable in Florida. Cleaning services do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the Florida Department of Revenue.
Florida has no personal income tax. Business income from sole proprietorships and general partnerships is not taxed by the state. Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to file Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Returns.
Florida general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form F-1065. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.
Selected Florida City Licenses (Business Tax Receipts)
Cape Coral Business License: https://www.capecoral.net/entrepreneur_guide/online.php
Daytona Beach Business License: http://www.codb.us/index.aspx?nid=345
Fort Lauderdale Business License: https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/sustainable-development/business-tax
Gainesville Business License: https://eservices1.cityofgainesville.org/BusinessTax/6/NewBusiness.aspx
Jacksonville Business License: http://www.coj.net/departments/tax-collector/local-business-tax
Miami-Dade County Business License: http://www.miamidade.gov/taxcollector/local-business-tax.asp
Orlando Business License: http://www.cityoforlando.net/permits/business-tax-receipt/
Pensacola Business License: https://www.cityofpensacola.com/FormCenter/Tax-5/Application-for-Business-LicenseTax-Rece-108
St. Petersburg Business License: http://www.stpete.org/assistance/business_tax_division/business_tax_application.php
Tallahassee Business License: No license or Business Tax Certificate needed since June of 2017.
Tampa Business License: https://apps.tampagov.net/www_webapp/default.aspx?page_id=11