Overview

This industry includes businesses engaged in retailing new and used automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles (RVs), motorcycles, boats, etc. It also includes retailer in automotive parts, accessories and tires.

Business types included in this category:
  • Automobile Dealers

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new and used automobiles and light trucks, such as sport utility vehicles, and passenger and cargo vans.

  • Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores

    This industry comprises one or more of the following: (1) establishments known as automotive supply stores primarily engaged in retailing new, used, and/or rebuilt automotive parts and accessories; (2) automotive supply stores that are primarily engaged in both retailing automotive parts and accessories and repairing automobiles; and (3) establishments primarily engaged in retailing and installing automotive accessories.

  • Other Motor Vehicle Dealers

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new and used vehicles (except automobiles, light trucks, such as sport utility vehicles, and passenger and cargo vans).

General Considerations

Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the Florida Department of State, the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue. For businesses located outside of the State of Florida, evidence of registration with their Division of Corporations or Corporate Registry may be required.

When you have completed those steps, you must apply for a business license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – yacht and ship employer broker, broker or salespersons’ licenses
  • Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles–motor vehicle dealer, auctions, salvage, mobile homes and recreational vehicle licenses

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Get Started

The following represents your interactive licensing checklist for this business category. Select the expandable blue bars below for more information on the specific licenses, permits or registrations that may be required to open your business. We have also included a printable version of the following checklist available at the top of this page for your convenience.

Register your business with the Department of State

Department of State

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the state’s central depository for a number of commercial activities. These activities include a variety of business entity filings, trade and service mark registrations, federal lien recordings, judgment lien filings, uniform commercial code financing statements, fictitious name registrations, notary commissions, and cable and video service franchises.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of State (DOS) is where you register your business. You can search and access filed information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, trademarks, fictitious name registrations and liens. Also, electronic filing and certification can be processed via the Department’s website.


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Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress.

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Agency Introduction

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to send with all items you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. If you do not intend to hire others, you may skip this step.


  • You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.

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Register your business with the Department of Revenue

Department of Revenue

The Florida Department of Revenue administers three programs: general tax administration, property tax oversight and child support. The general tax administration program works with Florida businesses that are required to register for, collect, report and remit the taxes and fees administered by the Department.

The Department also manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This information is used to assist the Department’s child support program with child support orders. The employment information reported through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment assistance fraud.

For additional information, please visit www.floridarevenue.com.

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Agency Introduction

A business owner or contractor may need to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the taxes, fees and licenses administered by the Florida Department of Revenue. This is dependent on the structure of a business, the activities of a business, and whether the business hires employees. In addition, businesses must report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees through the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting program managed by the Florida Department of Revenue.


Reporting Employment Information

The Department manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. The Department’s Child Support program utilizes employment information and employer cooperation to assist with child support order compliance. The reported employment information through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment fraud.

  • Register your business to report newly hired, re-hired or temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date.

    More info

  • The Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program works with employers in a variety of ways to ensure compliance with child support orders when applicable. Employers must work with the Child Support Program to respond to income withholding requests and to enroll children in medical insurance plans. Once registered with the New Hire Reporting Center, businesses will be able to access the Child Support Employer Services website to report employee termination and bonus or lump sum payments, request replacement copies of income withholding notices currently in place for employees, and use the Program’s online calculator to get pro-rated child support amounts for employees that have more than one child support case.

    More info

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Business Taxes, Fees and Surcharge

Businesses in this category may be required to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the following taxes and fees.

  • Most corporations and certain entities conducting business, or who are incorporated in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1), or by filing the Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Return (Form F-1120).

    More info

  • An excise tax is imposed on documents that transfer an interest in Florida real property, and on written obligations to pay money signed in Florida by a borrower or delivered to a lender in Florida. The tax is paid to the Clerk of Court when the document is recorded. When a taxable document is not recorded, the tax must be paid directly to the Department of Revenue.

    Businesses or individuals that average five (5) or more taxable transactions per month must register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

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  • Motor vehicle dealers selling a vehicle that will be removed from Florida, as well as private tag agencies, must collect and remit the motor vehicle warranty fee, or Lemon Law fee, directly to the Department of Revenue using the Motor Vehicle Warranty Fee Return (Form DR-35).

    More info

  • Reemployment Assistance gives partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are able and available for work. If your business will employ workers in Florida, you may register online or submit a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • Before conducting business, anyone selling, renting, leasing or repairing goods, providing certain services, charging admissions, or renting or leasing short-term lodging, housekeeping accommodations, or commercial real property must register with the Department of Revenue.

    Additionally, use tax is due on the use or consumption of taxable goods or services when sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • This surtax, imposed by most Florida counties, applies to most transactions subject to sales or use tax. Businesses must also collect the applicable discretionary sales surtax from the purchaser at the time of sale, then report and remit it to the Department of Revenue.

    No additional registration is required.

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  • Gross Receipts Tax on Dry Cleaning – Businesses operating dry-cleaning and dry drop-off facilities engaged in laundering or dry-cleaning of clothing and other fabrics must pay a gross receipts tax at a rate of 2 percent of all charges for such services. Before beginning business, you must register for the dry-cleaning gross receipts tax online or by completing a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    Lead-Acid Battery Fee – Retailers selling new or remanufactured lead-acid batteries separately or as a component part of a motor vehicle (on- or off-road), vessel, or aircraft, must collect a $1.50 fee from the purchaser of each battery. Before beginning business, you must register each location for the lead-acid battery fee online or by completing a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    New Tire Fee – Retailers selling new motor vehicle tires separately or as a component part of a motor vehicle, must collect a $1.00 fee from the purchaser of each tire. Before beginning business, you must register each location for the waste tire fee online or by completing a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    Rental Car Surcharge – Businesses that lease or rent motor vehicles designed to carry fewer than nine passengers, or that sell car-sharing membership services for such vehicles, must collect, report, and remit the $2.00 per day (for lease or rental) or $1.00 per usage (for car-sharing) rental car surcharge to the Department of Revenue. Before beginning business you must register each rental location for the rental car surcharge online or by completing a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

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Apply for a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida. A variety of businesses will need to coordinate with DBPR to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes

This division performs licensing, educational, and investigative functions for yacht and ship brokers and salespersons, with its primary focus on consumer protection.

  • This license permits the sale of Yachts and Ships in Florida. The basic duties of a Yacht Salesperson and a Yacht Broker are similar with the main difference being the Yacht Broker status indicates additional experience in the industry. Employing Brokers (and all licensees) must maintain a principal place of business in Florida, and have the option of being in sole practice or employing other Yacht Salespersons or Yacht Brokers in their company.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol.

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  • This type of license allows a licensee to sell new motor vehicles under an established agreement with a manufacturer, importer or distributor. A franchise dealer is licensed by the Department to sell specific line-makes in the State of Florida that are manufactured, imported or distributed by licensed manufacturers, distributors or importers. Franchised dealers are allowed to sell new and used vehicles from their licensed location. They are not required to apply for an independent dealer’s license to sell used vehicles. However, a licensed franchised dealer may sell new vehicles from their primary location and open a supplemental location to sell used vehicles.

    More info

  • This license is for buying, selling or dealing in used motor vehicles.

    More info

  • A licensed motor vehicle auction dealer may sell motor vehicles only to licensed motor vehicle dealers. An auction wanting to retail to the public must apply for an independent motor vehicle dealer’s license with a prefix VI.

    More info

  • Any person engaged in the business of buying, selling, or dealing in mobile homes or offering or displaying mobile homes for sale.

    More info

  • Licensed mobile home dealers who wish to be licensed as mobile home installers must apply for this license category with a prefix DIH. Florida law provides that any person who installs a mobile/manufactured home must be licensed as an installer by the Manufactured Housing Section, Division of Motorist Services.

    More info

  • Florida law provides that any person who installs a mobile/manufactured home must be licensed as an installer by the Manufactured Housing Section, Division of Motorist Services.

    More info

  • A mobile home broker deals exclusively in used mobile homes and acts as the middleman on behalf of the owner or seller of a used mobile home which is for sale, or who assists or represents the seller in finding a buyer for a used mobile home.

    More info

  • A recreational vehicle dealer is licensed to sell both new and used recreation vehicles at their licensed location. A recreational vehicle dealer may not sell mobile homes.

    More info

  • Any person dealing exclusively in buying and selling used recreational vehicles (self- propelled and non-self-propelled) would obtain a recreational vehicle dealer license of this type. A recreational vehicle dealer may not sell mobile homes. A recreational vehicle dealer license is not required to sell camping trailers (rag top/pop-up) to the public.

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  • This license is issued to any person who engages in the business of acquiring salvaged or wrecked motor vehicles for the purpose of reselling them and their parts. This means that a salvage dealer can sell the vehicles in the salvaged or wrecked state. However, if the salvage dealer rebuilds the vehicle to retail or wholesale they will need an independent dealer’s license.

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  • Any franchised dealer wishing to operate their service and repair facility at a location other than their licensed dealership must also be licensed to operate the service only facility. No vehicle sales either new or used are permitted at this facility. A service facility is always associated with a franchise license and cannot exist without the dealer being licensed as a franchise dealer.

    More info

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Explore assistance from the Department of Economic Opportunity (optional)

Department of Economic Opportunity

In collaboration with our partners, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) utilizes public and private sector expertise to attract, retain and grow businesses and create jobs in Florida. It also provides valuable resources for businesses and entrepreneurs; assistance with recruiting workers; and statistical information regarding Florida businesses and employment. Your business may qualify for various state or federal assistance.


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Federal & Local Government Requirements

This checklist provides state requirements only. Remember to check federal requirements and your local county and municipal agencies. The following organizations and websites can help:

  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center Network (FLSBDC) – State designated as Florida’s principal provider of small business assistance, the network provides no-cost, professional business consulting, in-person and on-demand training, and access to business research resources to help Florida businesses—no matter their stage of business—grow and succeed.
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce – The chamber is a Florida business organization whose goal is to further the interest of businesses in Florida.
  • County Websites – Florida’s county governments require various licenses, permits and filings above and beyond state requirements, depending on the type of business you wish to open. Find out about other public services and opportunities related to Florida counties and their governments by visiting the Florida Association of Counties website.
  • City Websites – Business owners should be aware of local government requirements, especially local business taxes (occupational licenses), building permits and inspections, planning and zoning, and community and economic development opportunities. The Florida League of Cities offers a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of municipality websites and additional information about local events and government requirements.

Disclaimer: The State of Florida operates OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov as a public service to Florida residents and visitors worldwide. While efforts were made to verify that the content of this website is accurate and comprehensive, it is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBDC, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business. OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.