Overview

This category includes businesses providing health care and social assistance. The services provided by businesses in this category are delivered by trained professionals. All industries in the category share the labor inputs of health practitioners or social workers with the requisite expertise. This category includes home health care services, nursing care facilities, intellectual and developmental disability facilities, mental health facilities, emergency medical services, substance abuse facilities, residential care facilities, individual and family services, community food and housing, vocation rehabilitation services, hospice and child and adult day care services.

Business types included in this category:
  • Child Day Care Services

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing day care of infants or children. These establishments generally care for preschool children, but may care for older children when they are not in school and may also offer pre-kindergarten educational programs.

  • Community Food and Housing

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the collection, preparation, and delivery of food for the needy; distribute clothing and blankets to the poor; prepare and deliver meals to persons who by reason of age, disability, or illness are unable to prepare meals for themselves; collect and distribute salvageable or donated food; prepare and provide meals at fixed or mobile locations; Food banks, meal delivery programs, and soup kitchens; providing one or more of the following community housing services: (1) short term emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse; (2) temporary residential shelter for the homeless, runaway youths, and patients and families caught in medical crises; (3) transitional housing for low-income individuals and families; (4) volunteer construction or repair of low cost housing, in partnership with the homeowner who may assist in construction or repair work; and (5) repair of homes for elderly or disabled homeowners; providing (1) short term emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse and/or (2) temporary residential shelter for homeless individuals or families, runaway youth, and patients and families caught in medical crises; providing one or more of the following community housing services: (1) transitional housing to low-income individuals and families; (2) volunteer construction or repair of low-cost housing, in partnership with the homeowner who may assist in the construction or repair work; and (3) the repair of homes for elderly or disabled homeowners; providing food, shelter, clothing, medical relief, resettlement, and counseling to victims of domestic or international disasters or conflicts (e.g., wars).

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

    This industry consists of establishments known and licensed as specialty hospitals primarily engaged in providing diagnostic and medical treatment to inpatients with a specific type of disease or medical condition (except psychiatric or substance abuse). Hospitals providing long-term care for the chronically ill and hospitals providing rehabilitation, restorative, and adjustive services to physically challenged or disabled people are included in this industry. These establishments maintain inpatient beds and provide patients with food services that meet their nutritional requirements. They have an organized staff of physicians and other medical staff to provide patient care services. These hospitals may provide other services, such as outpatient services, diagnostic X-ray services, clinical laboratory services, operating room services, physical therapy services, educational and vocational services, and psychological and social work services.

  • Home Health Care Services

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing services in the home, along with a range of the following: personal care services; homemaker and companion services; physical therapy; medical social services; medications; medical equipment and supplies; counseling; 24-hour home care; occupation and vocational therapy; dietary and nutritional services; speech therapy; audiology; and high-tech care, such as intravenous therapy.

  • Nursing Care Facilities

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing inpatient nursing and rehabilitative services. The care is generally provided for an extended period of time to individuals requiring nursing care. These establishments have a permanent core staff of registered or licensed practical nurses who, along with other staff, provide nursing and continuous personal care services.

  • Other Ambulatory Health Care Services

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing ambulatory health care services (except offices of physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners; outpatient care centers; medical laboratories and diagnostic imaging centers; and home health care providers).

  • Other Residential Care Facilities

    This industry group comprises establishments of residential care facilities (except residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities, mental health and substance abuse facilities and continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly).

  • Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing residential care (but not licensed hospital care) to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse problems.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services

    This industry comprises (1) establishments primarily engaged in providing vocational rehabilitation or habilitation services, such as job counseling, job training, and work experience, to unemployed and underemployed persons, persons with disabilities, and persons who have a job market disadvantage because of lack of education, job skill, or experience and (2) establishments primarily engaged in providing training and employment to persons with disabilities. Vocational rehabilitation job training facilities (except schools) and sheltered workshops (i.e., work experience centers) are included in this industry.

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:

  • Agency for Health Care Administration – many business types in this category, including home health agencies, hospices, birth centers, nursing homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, etc.
  • Department of Children and Family Services – child care facilities, family day cares, large family child care homes and licenses to provide substance abuse services
  • Department of Health – dental laboratories licenses, food sanitation certificates, biomedical waste generator permits and exemptions, EMS providers

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

  • 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.

    More info

  • These local option taxes apply to rentals, leases, and licenses to use living quarters or sleeping or housekeeping accommodations for a term of six (6) months or less. In addition to sales tax, businesses must collect the applicable tourist development tax from the purchaser at the time of sale.

    If the tax is administered by the Department of Revenue, it must be reported and remitted with sales and use tax. No additional registration is required.

    If the tax is administered locally by the county, it must be reported and remitted according to the county’s filing schedule. Registration with the county is required.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Children and Families

Department of Children and Family Services

Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF)  works in partnership with local communities to protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families  and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency.

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Agency Introduction

The Office of Child Care Regulation administers licensure for child care facilities/homes and the Gold Seal Quality Care Program. A wealth of information and resources can be accessed via the child care website to include, a searchable database of child care providers throughout the state, “how to” guides for starting a child care business, online application for registered family day care homes/religious exempt facilities, and online training for child care personnel and/or any member of the general public.


Office of Child Care Regulation

The Office of Child Care Regulation grants licensure, registration or exemption statuses for child care programs depending on the type of program being operated and the services that program offers. The Office conducts unannounced inspections of these providers at varying intervals depending on their type. In addition to monitoring provider information, the Office also records and monitors personnel information for programs who are subjected to those regulations.

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Apply for a license from the Agency for Health Care Administration

Agency for Health Care Administration

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating health care providers and health care businesses in Florida. Health care providers and other health care related professionals will need to coordinate with AHCA to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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  • Adult Day Care Centers provide therapeutic programs of social and health services as well as activities for adults in a non-institutional setting. Participants may utilize a variety of services offered during any part of a day, but less than a 24-hour period.

    More info

  • The Adult Family Care Home is a residential home designed to provide personal care and services to individuals requiring assistance. The provider must live in the home and can offer personal services for up to 5 residents.

    More info

  • An ambulatory surgery center (ASC) is a licensed facility not part of a hospital with the primary purpose of providing elective surgical care. The patient is admitted to and discharged from the facility within the same working day. Overnight stays are not permitted.

    More info

  • An assisted living facility (ALF) is designed to provide personal care services in the least restrictive and most home-like environment. These facilities can range in size from one resident to several hundred and may offer a wide variety of personal and nursing services designed specifically to meet an individual’s personal needs.

    More info

  • A birth center is a licensed facility that is not an ambulatory surgical center, hospital or located within a hospital where births are planned to occur (following a normal, uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancy) away from the mother’s usual place of residence.

    More info

  • Florida’s CHMOs are dually regulated by AHCA and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). AHCA monitors quality of care-related issues and the OIR monitors financial and contractual issues. To become a commercially licensed HMO, an organization must receive a certificate of authority from OIR and a health care provider certificate from the AHCA.

    More info

  • “Eye bank” means an entity that is accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America or otherwise regulated under federal or state law to engage in the retrieval, screening, testing, processing, storage, or distribution of human eye tissue.

    More info

  • A business that provides licensed, certified or trained health care personnel to work as temporary staff for hospitals, nursing homes, residential facilities and other health care businesses.

    More info

  • An agency that provides skilled services (by nurses, therapists, social workers) and/or unskilled services (by home health aides, certified nursing assistants, homemaker, companions) to patients in their homes. A home health agency may also provide staffing to health care facilities on a temporary basis.

    More info

  • Any person or entity that offers to sell or rent to a consumer any home medical equipment and provides equipment related services such as delivery, set up and maintenance of the equipment.

    More info

  • Homemaker & Companion Services Providers employ individuals to do housekeeping, cook, run errands, and provide companionship to the elderly and adults with disabilities. They cannot provide any personal care or nursing according to state law.

    More info

  • Hospice is an entity that provides a continuum of palliative and supportive care for the terminally ill patient and patient’s family.

    More info

  • “Intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled” means a residential facility licensed and certified in accordance with state law, and certified by the Federal Government, pursuant to the Social Security Act, as a provider of Medicaid services to persons who have developmental disabilities.

    More info

  • An agency that offers health care related contracts for nurses, home health aides, certified nursing assistants, homemakers, and companions in a patient’s home and as temporary staff to health care facilities.

    More info

  • Nursing homes provide 24 hour a day nursing care, case management, health monitoring, personal care, nutritional meals and special diets, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, social activities and respite care for those who are ill or physically infirm.

    More info

  • “Organ procurement organization” means an entity that is designated as such by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and that engages in the retrieval, screening, testing, processing, storage, or distribution of human organs.

    More info

  • A non-residential provider that serves three or more children under the age of 21 who require short, long term or intermittent medical care due to medically complex conditions.

    More info

  • Tissue bank means an entity that is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks or otherwise regulated under federal or state law to engage in the retrieval, screening, testing, processing, storage, or distribution of human tissue.

    More info

  • Transitional Living Facilities assist persons with spinal cord injuries and persons with head injuries to achieve a higher level of independent functioning in daily living skills.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Health

Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.  The department’s goal is to be the healthiest state in the nation through innovation, collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and excellence.

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  • A license to operate a food service establishment regulated by the Department of Health.

    More info

  • Every person, firm, corporation, association or governmental entity owning or acting as an agent for the owner of any business or service, which furnishes, operates, conducts, maintains, advertises, engages in, proposes to engage in or professes to engage in the business or service of providing pre-hospital or interfacility advanced life support services or basic life support transportation service, must be licensed as a basic or advanced life support ambulance service, before offering such service to the public.

    More info

  • Apply for a Biomedical Waste Permit

    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.