Overview

This industry comprises businesses primarily engaged in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption.

Business types included in this category:
  • Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption.

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 get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – alcohol and tobacco sales in food service establishments, temporary events and bars that prepare and serve food
  • Department of Health – bars and lounges that do not prepare food

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the advantages of becoming a Florida Lottery retailer.

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

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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 Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (required)

This division licenses, inspects and regulates alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (AB&T) typically licenses alcohol and tobacco sales in bars, permanent food service establishments, caterers and temporary events.

AB&T requires licensure from either the Department of Health or the Division of Hotels and Restaurants in order to qualify for a license within this business category. Stand-alone bars and lounges are typically licensed by the Department of Health. Bars that prepare and serve food are typically licensed under the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

If you are interested in obtaining an alcohol license, you may also want to consider adding a tobacco license to expand your business.

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Division of Hotels and Restaurants (optional)

This division licenses food preparation and service operations in bars and drinking places.

  • Fixed public food service establishments that provide and maintain accommodations for consumption of food on the premises of the establishment or under the control of the establishment, or for which the sole service provided is intended as take-out or delivery.

    More info

  • Food service establishments where food or drink is prepared for service elsewhere

    More info

  • A vendor at an event of 30 days or less where food is prepared, served, or sold to the general public and is advertised and recognized in the community

    More info

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Apply for a food sanitation certificate 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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Agency Introduction

The Department of Health works with food service establishments to ensure their products are not a source of foodborne illness. Generally this includes food service operations located in bars and lounges that do not prepare food, institutional settings (such as schools, assisted living facilities, detention facilities, adult day cares, etc.), civic and fraternal organizations, and theaters that limit their food service to items customarily served at theaters (such as beverages, popcorn, hot dogs and nachos).


Bars and lounges that limit food service to the preparation of drinks and non-potentially hazardous foods or catered foods require a license from this agency. These include but are not limited to alcoholic beverage kiosks (e.g., tiki huts, daiquiri stands, etc.).

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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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Become a Florida Lottery retailer (optional)

Florida Lottery

The Florida Lottery was established by the Florida Legislature in 1987 to maximize revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida and to enable the people of the state to play the best Lottery Games available.

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Agency Introduction

The Florida Lottery was established by the Florida Legislature in 1987 to maximize revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida and to enable the people of the state to play the best Lottery games available. The Florida Lottery offers fun and excitement for all who play, with new games, bigger prizes and more winners. Becoming a Florida Lottery retailer can add a new and exciting dimension to your business. Retailers earn a commission on each ticket sold, and a cashing bonus on every prize paid valued under $600. Retailers can also earn extra cash through various incentive programs.


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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.