Public Inquiries & Entity Name Searches
- 1. What factors are not distinguishable for Florida business entity names?
- Suffixes (e.g., Corporation/Corp., Incorporated/Inc., Company/Co., Limited Liability Company/LLC).
- For example, Business Enterprises, Inc. and Business Enterprises, LLC are not considered different.
- Do not include suffixes when searching for availability.
- Definite and indefinite articles (e.g., the, a, an).
- For example, The Kitchen, Ltd., Kitchen, Inc. and A Kitchen, LLC are not considered different.
- The word “and” and the ampersand symbol (&).
- For example, Cheese and Crackers, LLC and Cheese & Crackers, Inc. are not considered different.
- The singular, plural, and possessive forms of a word.
- For example, Tallahassee Sport, Inc., Tallahassee Sports, LLC and Tallahassee’s Sports, LP are not considered different.
- Punctuation and symbols.
- For example, Cookies ’n Cupcakes, Inc., Cookies-n-Cupcakes, Inc. and Cookies n Cupcakes! Inc. are not considered different.
- Abbreviation of a root word (e.g., “Fla.” or “FL” for “Florida”).
- For example, Fla. Business, Corp., FL Business, Ltd. and Florida Business, LLC are not considered different.
- Suffixes (e.g., Corporation/Corp., Incorporated/Inc., Company/Co., Limited Liability Company/LLC).
- 2. How do I know if an entity name is available?
Search our records to check the availability of a specific name.
- Administratively dissolved or revoked business entity names marked as “INACT/UA” are held for one year after their dissolution or revocation date.
- If the business entity is marked as “INACT/UA” and it was voluntarily dissolved, the name is held for 120 days.
- Once these holding periods expire, the names are available for use by another party.
Use the following “status” chart to determine if a name is currently available:
Available for Use
ACTIVE or ACT No INACTIVE/UA No INACTIVE or INACT Yes
- 3. How do I reserve a name?
- There are no statutory provisions for name reservations. Therefore, names cannot be reserved.
- We file names on a first come, first serve basis.
- Submit your filing immediately.
- 4. What does “administratively dissolved/revoked,” “involuntarily dissolved,” or “revoked for annual report” mean?
- Florida business entities are required to file an annual report each year to maintain an active status on our records.
- Under current law, business entities that do not file an annual report are administratively dissolved or administratively revoked.
- Under previous law, such businesses were involuntarily dissolved or revoked for annual report.
- Administratively dissolved, involuntarily dissolved, or revoked business entities may file a reinstatement application to reactivate their business status.
- 5. Is there a list of newly formed business entities?
- 6. How current are the records on Sunbiz?
- Our database records are updated daily.
- Images of electronic filings: appear within 3 business days after we process them.
- Images of non-electronic filings: appear within 5 business days of examination.
Business Member Inquiries, Changes and Resignations
- 7. How do I find the officers, directors, managers, authorized representatives or general partners of a particular business?
Perform a search by name for the business according to its type.
- 8. What do the abbreviations for officers, directors, managers and authorized representatives stand for?
- The tables below list some of the titles and abbreviations you might see in our database.
- You may need to view the actual image of the document to determine the exact title for some individuals.
Sample of Common Abbreviations
AR Authorized Representative AS Assistant Secretary C Chairman or
Chief Executive Director
CEO Chief Executive Officer D Director or Deacon MGR Manager P President or Pastor S Secretary T Treasurer or Trustee V Vice President
Sample of Uncommon Abbreviations
A Admiral B Brother G Grand Master S Sister W Worshipful Master
- 9. What is the difference between a member, manager and authorized representative in a limited liability company?
- In an LLC, a member is the equivalent of an owner.
- An LLC is either member-managed or manager-managed.
- A manager is a person designated by the members of a manager-managed LLC to perform the management functions on behalf of the company. The manager may or may not be a member of the LLC.
- A manager or member of an LLC may appoint an authorized representative to execute and file records with the Division of Corporations. For more information, see s.605.0102(8), Florida Statutes.
- 10. How do I change the officers, directors, members or managers of a corporation or limited liability company on your records?
- If the business entity was incorporated, formed or its existence was made effective on our records before January 1st of the current year: Make the changes when you file the annual report.
- If you already filed the annual report for this year: Florida law allows you to file an amended annual report form.
- If your business entity was filed on or after January 1st of this year: Amendment and affidavit forms are available for you to file.
- 11. How do I resign as an officer, director, manager or authorized representative of a corporation or limited liability company?
Complete, print, sign and mail the appropriate form and fee to the Division of Corporations.
- Florida or Foreign Corporations: Resignation of Officers/Directors (PDF), Resignation of Registered Agent (PDF)
- Florida or Foreign LLCs: Resignation/Dissociation of Member or Manager (PDF), Resignation of Registered Agent (PDF)
Filing Forms, Addresses and Statutes
- 12. How do I get the necessary filing forms?
- Filing forms are available online. Some forms can even be submitted online, which saves you valuable time and postage.
- Our forms are basic and meet minimum statutory filing requirements.
- Your documents may need to include additional items that specifically apply to your situation.
- The Department of State strongly recommends that all legal documents be reviewed by your legal counsel before they are submitted to this office for processing.
- 13. What are the fees?
Refer to our fee schedule for specific pricing information.
- 14. How do I obtain a copy of a specific Florida Statute?
The Florida Statutes are available online.
- 15. What are your street and mailing addresses?
See our contact information for specific addresses.
Forming a New Business Entity
- 16. How do I form a Florida profit or non-profit corporation?
To form a profit or non-profit corporation, fill out and submit the Articles of Incorporation, designate a Registered Agent, and pay the corresponding fee.
- 17. How can I expedite my filing?
- We do not offer expedited services.
- We do offer walk-in services and some online filings.
- 18. What is an effective date? When should I list an effective date?
- When a Florida corporation or limited liability company files its respective Articles of Incorporation/Organization, the business entity’s existence begins on the date the Division of Corporations receives and files the Articles, unless the Articles specify an acceptable alternate “effective” date.
- Corporations and limited liability companies can specify an effective date, no more than five business days prior to or 90 days after the document’s date of filing.
- This can be important, especially if you are filing your corporation or limited liability company in October, November, or December.
- How and Why It Works:
- If you are incorporating between October 1 and December 31st, but don’t expect to transact business until the next calendar year, avoid filing an annual report form for the upcoming calendar year by listing an effective date of January 1st.
- By specifying January 1st as the effective date, your corporation’s existence will not officially begin until January 1st of the following calendar year, even though your entity is already on the Division’s records.
- The January 1st effective date will allow you to postpone your corporation’s requirement to file an annual report form for one calendar year.
- 19. How do I form a Florida limited liability company?
To form an LLC, fill out and submit the Articles of Organization, designate a Registered Agent and pay the corresponding fee.
- 20. What types of corporate structures are available in Florida?
See our guide to types of corporate structures.
- 21. How do I form a “Sub-S” corporation?
- Contact the Internal Revenue Service to obtain information.
- Telephone: 1.800.829.1040
- 22. Where do I purchase a corporate kit, corporate seal, or stock certificates?
- Business form suppliers and service companies sell these items. Contact them directly.
- The Division of Corporations does not provide or sell these items.
- 23. Where do I get a business license?
- Occupational licenses:
- Contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county or counties that the entity transacts business.
- Professional licenses:
- Contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation by calling 850.487.1395.
- Occupational licenses:
- 24. What is a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN/EIN)?
- A FEIN is a number issued by the Internal Revenue Service, which is used to identify the business for tax purposes.
- Contact the IRS to obtain a FEIN.
- Telephone: 1.800.829.4933
- 25. What is a fictitious name and when should it be registered?
- 26. How do I register a trade name?
- Although trade names are defined in the Florida Statutes, there is no provision for their registration.
- The term trade name is often used to refer to a “doing business as” name.
- If an individual or entity is transacting business under a name other than their legal name, then a fictitious name registration must be filed.
- 27. What is a trademark or service mark?
- A trademark is a word, name, design, slogan, or any combination thereof used by a person to identify and distinguish goods from those manufactured or sold by others.
- A service mark is a word, name, design, slogan, or any combination thereof used by a person to identify and distinguish his or her services from the services of others.
- 28. How do I register a mark?
- Service marks and trademarks may be filed on a state or federal level.
- Florida trademark and service mark registrations (PDF) are for the state of Florida only.
- Federal registrations are good throughout the United States.
- Contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to federally register your mark.
- Telephone: 571.272.1000
Registered Agent & Office Information
- 29. What is a registered agent?
- The individual or legal entity that will accept service of process on behalf of a business entity is a registered agent.
- A business entity with an active Florida filing or registration may serve as a registered agent. An entity cannot serve as its own registered agent.
- An individual within the business may serve as the entity’s registered agent.
- 30. What is a registered office?
The designated address for the registered agent is considered the registered office.
- 31. How do I resign as registered agent?
Print and mail in the appropriate form and fee to resign as registered agent.
Entity Name, Address and Status Changes
- 32. How do I change the principal office/mailing address or email address for a business in your records?
Follow the directions listed for updating email and mailing addresses.
- 33. How do I change the registered office address for a business in your records?
Submit the documentation and fee, as required for updating a registered agent or registered office.
- 34. How do I change the name of my corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability limited partnership?
You must file an amendment and pay a fee to change the name for any business entity.
- 35. My business entity is no longer in business. How do I dissolve it or cancel its registration?
Complaints & Disputes
- 36. Where can I file a complaint against a business entity? Are there any existing complaints against a particular business?
- 37. Can the Division of Corporations assist me with a dispute or issue with a business?
- The Division of Corporations serves as a ministerial filing agency.
- Disputes or problems must be resolved between the affected parties or by a court of competent jurisdiction.
- 38. I have been listed on a business filing without my knowledge. What can I do?
- The Division of Corporations serves as a ministerial filing agency. As such, documents are accepted at face value.
- Any disputes or fraudulent filings must be resolved between the affected parties or in the courts.
- In many instances, documents may be filed to correct our records.
- In those instances where a correction is not an option, you may submit a notarized “Statement of Fact” informing the public that the document in question was filed without your knowledge or consent. The notarized statement will be made a public record for notice purposes.
Online or Faxed Filings, Copies and Certificates
- 39. Can I file a document by fax?
- Yes, but only if you have an established Prepaid Sunbiz E-File Account.
- If you regularly submit documents to our office and have an interest in establishing a Prepaid Sunbiz E-File Account, call us at 850.245.6939 to get started.
- 40. Can I request a certificate of status online?
- 41. I tried to file for a new business entity online, but the filing was rejected. How do I correct and resubmit the document?
- Return to the filing page you wish to correct.
- Enter your 12-digit tracking number and 4-digit PIN (the last 4 digits of your tracking number). Both numbers were listed in the e-mail from the Division of Corporations.
- Click Update Filing. Now you can correct and resubmit your document for filing.
- Online filings will be processed in the order it was received.
- 42. Can I abandon a rejected filing and get my money back?
- Yes. Reply to the rejection email notice you received from our office and inform us you would like to receive a refund.
- Include to whom we should make the refund check payable and the party’s correct mailing address.
- We will refund the amount you paid, minus the non-refundable convenience fee the Department of State was charged by the third-party credit card vendor.
- Allow 30 days to receive your refund.
- 43. I filed my document electronically, but have not received an acknowledgment letter, certificate of status or certified copy in the mail. What should I do?
- Check your email (including your spam folder).
- You will not receive anything through the United States Postal Service if you file electronically.
- 44. How can I get a copy of a filed document?
- Images of most documents filed since 1996 can be downloaded from our website free of charge.
- Requests for copies of documents not available online must be submitted in writing and mailed to the Certification Section.
Requests by mail: $10
Requests in person: $1 per page
Corporate document: $8.75
LLC document: $30
Partnership document: $52.50