Business Startup Checklist

If you are planning on starting a business in Hillsborough County Florida, there are some things you will want to consider and prepare for early in the process. With some guidance from the official Hillsborough County government website, here are some of those things.
  1. You may choose to attend one of the county's workshops offered at various facilities in the county during the year, including at the ECC in Ybor. The workshops are designed to provide information and resources to ease the business startup process.
  2. Prepare a summary of your new business plan.
    Let this be a general overview of the idea or ideas you have for your business. This should include where your business will be located, how many employees you expect to have, and who is your target market. This is a good time to consider your total startup costs, monthly bills and projected cash flow
  3. Determine the business structure you'll use.
    Hiring a professional at this point may be beneficial. A qualified CPA will help you evaluate your situation and determine the structure that suits your situation best. Being a sole proprietor is simple, but does nothing to protect the owner. An LLC has advantages and can be taxed as a pass-through, or as an S Corp. A Corporation requires a bit more planning and reporting, but for some business, the administrative load is balanced by the benefits of the structure. Your CPA will advise you on the various state agencies with whom you must register for the structure you choose.
  4. DBA / Fictitious Name
    If you intend to do business by any name other than your legal name (ie: John Doe) or the name of your LLC or corporation, you'll need to register a "DBA" or "Fictitious Name". Again, your CPA will advise you on this and direct you to the Florida Division of Corporations as needed.
  5. Contractor and Professional Licenses
    Many types of business require licenses by the county and or the state. Those include beauty (hair and nail) salons, Accountants / CPAs, Construction, Food Service, Hotels and more. Some businesses will also need to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  6. Permitting & Zoning
    Whether you're planning on opening a store front, or working from home, you'll need to research the state, county and city regulations to ensure you are in compliance, obtaining any necessary permits and resolving any zoning conflicts that might arise.
  7. Business Tax Receipt
    Any business operating in Hillsborough County is required to obtain a business tax receipt. If your business is inside any of: Tampa, Plant City or Temple Terrace, you may need a city business tax receipt. Contact your city government for more details.
  8. Federal, State and County Taxes
    If you're going step by step through this guide, your CPA has probably already advised you on some of the tax implications of some of the choices you have to make when starting your business. There's a good chance your company will need, or at least choose, to have a Federal Employment ID, (FEIN) Getting one is simple at the IRS website.
  9. If you sell anything physical or a service in this list:
    1. Nonresidential Cleaning Services
    2. Commercial Pest Control Services
    3. Commercial/Residential Burglary and Security Services
    4. Detective Services
    You'll need to collect Florida State sales tax. Let's add to that list "A service that includes any physical product". A search for the "drop of oil" rule will enlighten you on this topic.
  10. These businesses will have to collect the Florida Communication Services Tax
    1. Telephone Services
    2. Paging Services
    3. Faxing/Facsimile Services
    4. Video Conferencing Services
    5. Cable Services
    6. Direct-to-home Satellite Services 
    Your CPA can help you confirm if your business fits into any of these categories.
There are many factors to consider when starting a business and as you establish and grow within the community. Trust a CPA who knows the area and knows what's best for your business. Trust Accountability Team LLC.

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