Overview

This category includes industries providing air, rail and water-borne transportation of passengers and freight, and related support activities. It also includes businesses primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation by rail or water.

Business types included in this category:
  • Deep Sea, Coastal and Great Lakes Water Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing deep sea, coastal, Great Lakes, and St. Lawrence Seaway water transportation.

  • Inland Water Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing inland water transportation of passengers and/or cargo on lakes, rivers, or intracoastal waterways (except on the Great Lakes System).

  • Nonscheduled Air Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in (1) providing air transportation of passengers and/or cargo with no regular routes and regular schedules or (2) providing specialty flying services with no regular routes and regular schedules using general purpose aircraft. These establishments have more flexibility with respect to choice of airports, hours of operation, load factors, and similar operational characteristics.

  • Rail Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating railroads (except street railroads, commuter rail, urban rapid transit, and scenic and sightseeing trains). Line-haul railroads and short-line railroads are included in this industry.

  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Other

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation (except on land and water). The services provided are usually local and involve same-day return to place of departure.

  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation on water. The services provided are usually local and involve same-day return to place of origin.

  • Scheduled Air Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing air transportation of passengers and/or cargo over regular routes and on regular schedules. Establishments in this industry operate flights even if partially loaded. Establishments primarily engaged in providing scheduled air transportation of mail on a contract basis are included in this industry.

  • Support Activities for Air

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing services to the air transportation industry. These services include airport operation, servicing, repairing (except factory conversion and overhaul of aircraft), maintaining and storing aircraft, and ferrying aircraft.

  • Support Activities for Rail

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized services for railroad transportation including servicing, routine repairing (except factory conversion, overhaul or rebuilding of rolling stock), and maintaining rail cars; loading and unloading rail cars; and operating independent terminals.

  • Support Activities for Water

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing services to water transportation to include port and harbor operations (including docking and pier facilities); or canals; stevedoring and marine cargo handling services; navigational services to shipping; and Marine salvage establishments.

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.

After completing these steps, you may need to get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – harbor pilots as well as consumption of alcoholic beverages at airport waiting lounges and railway stations, and on certain common carriers, such as cruise ships, railroads, steamships, buses and airplanes
  • Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – operator of uninspected passenger vessels, U.S. Coast Guard captains

Businesses within this category may employ or require individuals holding professional licenses as requirement for a business license.  If you are only pursuing a professional license, you may not need to complete all of the additional steps listed on this checklist.

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.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://www.dos.myflorida.com/offices/general-counsel/public-records-requests/.

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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 floridarevenue.com.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit:https://floridarevenue.com/opengovt/Pages/default.aspx.

 

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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.

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  • 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

  • A tax imposed on each sale of communications services in Florida, including cable and satellite television, video and music streaming, telephone service (e.g., landline, VoIP, charges made by a hotel or motel), and mobile communications.

    Providers must register for communications services tax online or complete a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

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  • 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).

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  • 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).

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  • 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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Fuel and Pollutants Taxes

Businesses in this category may be required to register for one or more of the following licenses, and remit the associated tax.

  • Anyone who stores fuel in a terminal, transports fuel to or from a Florida destination, imports or exports fuel into or outside of Florida, or sells fuel in Florida is required to obtain a license and file a return. In addition, anyone who imports product by truck or rail, sells product through the loading rack of a terminal, produces biodiesel, or blends fuel outside of a terminal for use is required to remit state and local option taxes.

    Submit a Florida Fuel or Pollutants Tax Application (Form DR-156) to begin the licensing process.

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  • Florida levies a tax on the production or importation of a pollutant for sale or use. “Pollutants” includes any petroleum product, as well as pesticides, ammonia, chlorine, and solvents, including perchloroethylene. The definition does not include liquefied petroleum gas, medicinal oils, and waxes.

    Submit a Florida Fuel or Pollutants Tax Application (Form DR-156) to begin the licensing process.

    More info

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Coin-Operated Amusement Machine Operators

Businesses in this category may be subject to the following certificate requirements.

  • Operators of coin-operated amusement machines must purchase annually and display an Amusement Machine Certificate at each location.

    In addition to submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1) for sales and use tax registration, you must submit an Application for Amusement Machine Certificate (Form DR-18), that includes each location where you operate machines.

    More info

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Apply for an alcoholic beverage license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (optional)

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.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/instant-public-records/.

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Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

This division licenses, inspects and regulates alcoholic beverage and tobacco retailers in Florida.
These include licenses permitting the consumption of alcoholic beverages in airport waiting lounges and on board cruise ships, buses, airplanes and other common carriers.

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Board of Pilot Commissioners

The Board of Pilot Commissioners is responsible for licensing and regulating harbor pilots.

  • A licensed state pilot may seek to become licensed as a cross-licensed deputy pilot in a Florida port which has declared a need for a cross-licensed deputy pilot. Cross-licensed deputy pilots are licensed to bring vessels in and out of a specific Florida port, as needed. Individuals who seek to become licensed as a cross-licensed deputy pilot must complete this application. Cross-licensed deputy pilots must successfully complete training in the specific port.

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  • Deputy pilots are licensed to bring vessels in and out of Florida ports. Deputy pilots must successfully complete a port-specific training program before they can be considered for the state pilot examination. Individuals who seek to become licensed as a deputy pilot in a Florida port which has declared a deputy pilot opening must complete this application.

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  • State pilots are licensed to bring vessels in and out of Florida ports. Individuals who seek to become licensed as a state pilot in a Florida port must complete this application. All applicants must have completed all but the final three months of the port-specific deputy pilot training program before being allowed to take the state pilot examination.

    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.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://floridajobs.org/about-us/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/requests-for-public-records.

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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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Additional Local Government Information

County Business Requirements

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Explore Federal Licensing Considerations

Federal Business Requirements

In addition to state and local licensing, many business activities are also regulated by federal agencies.  Businesses within this category may also be required to obtain additional federal licenses, permits, registration, etc. depending on your specific business activities.  It is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBA, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business.  The U.S. Small Business Administration is an excellent resource for potential and current business owners seeking assistance navigating federal licensing requirements.  For more information on the Federal Government, please visit www.usa.gov.

In most cases, you will need not need a license to import or export services or goods into or from the US.  However, international transfer of certain goods may require a license, permit or certification.  All items are subject to export control laws and regulations.  For more information, please visit USA.gov’s importing and exporting page.

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U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world; the FAA is responsible for the safety of civil aviation. The FAA’s major roles include: regulating civil aviation to promote safety; encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology; developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft; researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics; developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation; and regulating U.S. commercial space transportation.

The FAA regulates various types of aerospace businesses and professionals including:

  • Air Carrier
  • Air Agency
  • Air Shows
  • Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Aircraft
  • Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting ARFF
  • Airmen
  • Airport Certification
  • Airway Transportation Systems Specialist
  • Aviation Safety Inspector
  • Commercial Space Transportation
  • Drone Pilot
  • Pilot Flight/Ground School
  • Medical Certificate

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Federal Maritime Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumer. The FMC ensures a competitive and reliable international ocean transportation supply system that supports the U.S. economy and protects the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

The FMC regulates various businesses and vessels, including:

  • Passenger Vessel Certification. The FMC Bureau of Certification and licensing (BCL) issues certificates to operators of passenger vessels with 50 or more berths and that embark passengers from U.S. ports (PVOs). The Certificate (Performance) evidences that the PVO has on file with the Commission acceptable coverage to satisfy any liability incurred for nonperformance of transportation, such as when a PVO declares bankruptcy and fails to complete the cruises booked. The coverage is used to reimburse passengers when the PVO fails to perform cruises as contracted and has taken no further actions to refund passengers. The Certificate (Casualty) evidences that the PVO has acceptable coverage to satisfy any liability incurred for death or injury on file with the Commission.
  • Ocean Transport Intermediaries. The Office of Ocean Transportation Intermediaries receives, reviews, and processes all OTI bonds and bond riders. Information regarding these issues can be found at Bond Program Information. The Office processes all revocations, surrenders, recissions of revocation and reissuances of OTI licenses. The Office also manages the Regulated Persons Index(RPI) and the list of FMC Licensed & Bonded OTIs.

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

As the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The FMCSA monitors and ensures compliance with motor carrier safety (all carriers) and commercial (for-hire, non-exempt carriers) regulations. Companies may find they are subject to registration requirements for both safety (safety registration) and commercial regulation (operating authority registration). Companies subject to the safety requirements are also required to obtain a USDOT Number.

The FMCSA registration process requires that companies define the type of Motor Carrier, Broker, Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP), Cargo Tank Facility, Shipper and/or Freight Forwarder business operation they plan to establish. The Agency administers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that govern interstate – and some intrastate – commercial trucking and bus industries.

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U.S. Coast Guard

As a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and a first responder, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) employs a unique mix of authorities, broad jurisdiction, flexible operational capabilities, and a network of partnerships. The Coast Guard is the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and inland waterway.

The USCG regulates a wide variety vessels and mariners, including:

  • Captain License
  • Deck Officer
  • Deck Ratings
  • Engine Officer
  • Engine Ratings
  • Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate
  • Towing Vessel Endorsements

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