Saturday, December 10, 2005

Starting a business in Florida

Florida ranks fourth in the nation in the number of expanding or relocating businesses.
If you have a special skill, industry knowledge and or a lifetime interest, Florida may be the best place for you to consider owning and or starting a business.

Florida has a wonderful spirit of innovation. From the Aerospace industry to Art galleries, it all has a place here.
In the coastal areas it’s possible to have a business that caters to locals and the tourists. This seems to be the best of both worlds depending on what business you’re in.

For more specific information on incorporating and business licenses, go to and
Rents will obviously vary greatly. Shops on Los Olas Blvd in Ft Lauderdale and Duval street in Key West charge extremely high rents per sq ft. However they also make lots of money due to thousands of tourists and locals daily.

For more information on what the business climate is like, check the different area links and their chamber of commerce.

Florida's Advantages by the Numbers:
Compared with the other U.S. states, Florida:
• Is the nation's 4th most populous state (Census, 2003)
• Has the 4th largest labor force, and the 15th lowest unemployment rate (BLS, 2003)
• Has the 4th highest number of business establishments (BLS, 2002)
• Has the 4th largest Gross State Product, making it the 8th largest economy in the western hemisphere, and the 15th largest economy in the world (BEA, 2001)
• Ranks 4th in total employment in high-tech industries (AeA Cyberstates, 2005)
• Is the 9th largest producer of exported goods (MISER, 2003)
• Is the 9th largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (BEA,2002)

State and Local Incentives, Florida Tax Advantages

Some of the more significant advantages to living and establishing businesses in Florida, with respect to taxes are:
• No state income tax
• No corporate income tax on sub-chapter S corporations
• First $5000 of taxable income apportioned to Florida is exempt
• No state property tax on inventory or equipment
• No business inventory tax
• No corporate franchise tax on capital stock
• No corporate tax on limited partnerships, individuals, estates and private trusts
• No collected or assessed state property tax
• No sales tax on "boiler fuels" used at a fixed Florida location in an industrial manufacturing, processing or compounding process
• No sales and use tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for resale or export outside Florida
• Corporation accounts receivable (one third) exempt from intangible property tax
• Exemption of employee stock options from employer
• No property tax on goods-in-transit for up to 180 days

While these are in themselves incentives, the following are additional incentives offered by the State and local government working together to provide you with an environment conducive to your success.
• Ad Valorem Tax Exemption (real and personal property) is offered by the local government and is based on the financial impact projected on the County (number of employees, capital expenditure, etc.).

Sales and Use Tax Exemption
• Silicon technology-based industry transactions involving manufacturing or research equipment
• Purchases of machinery and equipment used by a new or expanding Florida business to manufacture, produce or process tangible personal property for sale
• Labor, parts and materials used in repair of and incorporated into machinery and equipment that qualify for sales tax exemption upon purchase (phased in over four years, 25% exempt on July 1, 1999)
• Electricity used in the manufacturing process (phased in over five years, 80% exempt on July 1, 1999)
• Aircraft parts, modification, maintenance and repair, sale or lease of qualified aircraft
• Commercial space activity - launch vehicles, payloads and fuel, machinery and equipment for production of items used exclusively at Spaceport Florida
• Labor component of research and development expenditures---------------------------------------------------------------------
Summary of Florida's Tax Incentive

Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Programs
This program provides an inducement for target industry to locate new facilities in Florida or to expand existing facilities in Florida. The program provides tax refunds of $3,000 per new job created.
The incentive is increased to $6,000 per job if the company locates in a rural county or an Enterprise Zone. Higher awards are available to companies paying very high wages. To qualify for the “QTI” program, a company must create at least 10 new jobs (or a 10% increase for expanding Florida companies), pay an average of at least 115% of area wages, have a significant positive impact on the community and have local support.

Quick Response Training Program
The Quick Response Training Program provides grant funding for customized training to new or expanding businesses. The program is flexible and structured to respond quickly to meet business training objectives. A local training provider – community college, area technical center or university – is selected and available to assist in the application process and program development or delivery. If the business has a training program in place, a state training provider will supervise and manage the training program and serve as the fiscal agent for the grant funds. Reimbursable textbooks/manuals, materials/supplies and training equipment.

Economic Development Transportation Fund
This grant program provides up to $2 million to local governments for the construction or improvement of transportation infrastructure needed to accommodate new or expanding industry.

Expedited Permitting Assistance
State and local permit streamlining procedures are available to assist businesses in obtaining necessary permits and approvals in a quick, efficient and predictable manner.

Specialized Incentives
Your project may qualify for opportunities such as urban or rural tax credits, and incentives for brownsfields and enterprise zones.
Local Property Tax Incentive
New and expanding businesses can be granted an exemption from property taxes on improvements to real property and for tangible personal property. In order for a company to be eligible for this incentive, it must first meet the definitions of a new or expanding business as defined below:
• New Business:
A manufacturer which establishes ten or more full-time jobs.
• A business with more than 50% of its sales outside the State of Florida which establishes 25 or more jobs.
• Office space of a new Florida corporation housing 50 or more full-time employees of the corporation.

The above are applicable if the business is on a site clearly separate from any other facility owned by the same business.

Any business located in a slum or blighted area as defined by Section 163.355, Florida Statutes.

Expanding Business:
◦ A manufacturer that adds a minimum of ten new employees and increases employment by 10% or increases productive output by a minimum of 10%.

◦ A business with more than 50% of its sales outside the State that adds a minimum of 25 new employees and increases employment by 10% or increases productive output by a minimum of 10%.

◦ The expansion must be on the same or a co-located site of the business’ current operations.

◦ If a business meets one of the above definitions as a new or expanding business, it may then file an application for the Economic Development Property Tax Exemption with the local County Commissioners or the appropriate municipality or both. After the city or county commission receives this application, it must submit the application to the county property appraiser for review. After the property appraiser makes the report as to the fiscal impact of granting the exemption, the county or city commission shall then adopt an ordinance in the usual manner-granting the exemption.

◦ A business cannot receive exemption from school taxes or water management district taxes. Also, a business must pay taxes that were approved by the voters of a city or county to pay for bond issues and other special tax levies authorized by the voters of a city or county.

◦ The exemption can only be for the improvements to the real property and for tangible personal property. The land on which the new or expanding business is to be located will still be taxed.
• The State offers programs such as the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund Program (tax refund), a Sales Tax Exemption on Electricity and Steam (exemption), a High Impact Performance Incentive (grant) and more.

Tax Information: State
• Corporate Income Tax 5.5%
• Personal Income Tax 0.0%
• Retail Sales Tax 6.0%
• Intangible Tax (per $1,000) $1 - $1.50
• Groceries and medicine exempt from retail sales tax

Small Business Assistance
Below are nine resources proven helpful to start up and maintain a succesful small business!
◦ Small Business Administration -
◦ Small Business Development Center -
◦ US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Center -
◦ (The US Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Center is a one-stop shop for small businesses, containing everything from practical business advice to the latest small business news from Washington, D.C.)
◦ Florida Small Business -
◦ Enterprise Florida -
◦ The Florida Venture Forum -
◦ SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business -
◦ Odeon Group (Small Business Administration Intermediary) - 305 681-9600
◦ Micro Business USA - 305 438-1407
◦ First Florida Capital - (888) 320-5504

Below is a great site explaining why you should be in business in Florida.

If you have a dream follow it, Remember making a decision to do nothing and stay where you are is still a decision.

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