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Considerations for Starting a New Business

I have assisted a number of clients in forming a new business that meets their particular business and economic concerns. I have noticed that a number of things of a minor nature always come as a “surprise” to my clients, and I would like to share some simple procedures that may save you time and money in the future. Whether or not you choose to use an experienced business lawyer to assist in setting up your business, remember these few tips:

1. Do you need to file a Fictitious Name Application? Unless your business uses your legal name as the trade name, Florida law requires a simple filing with the state. It’s simple to fill out the forms and inexpensive. Why you ask? First, not filing the application is a misdemeanor. Second, you can’t file a lawsuit; in addition you may be liable for a plaintiff’s attorney fees if you don’t. Third, most governmental authorities require it, if needed, just to get a permit to do business.

2. Do I need a permit to do business? Yes, both City and County regulations typically require you to get a permit to transact business if you have an “office” in their jurisdiction. (Most places in the State of Florida now call it a Business Tax Receipt and/or Occupational License. You may need both.)

3. Are you moving into an office building? Be sure to find out if it is zoned properly for your type of business. Will renovations require a permit? Are there sufficient parking and adequate utilities. Is it open for weekend appointments?

4. Do you need a Federal ID number? If you are going to hire employees, which includes your or family members, the answer is “yes”. It is a straight forward process and can be done over the internet. Talk to a CPA about tax advantages.

5. Are you an “internet” based business? Many of these issues are too complicated to discuss here, but all of the above probably applies to you.
There may be many other concerns not listed here that will need your attention. An experienced business attorney can coordinate all of these and similar issues with your CPA and other professional consultants. Don’t hesitate to avoid missteps and mistakes now that may be a hindrance to your future success.

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