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Starting Your Business

Congratulations on the decision to start your business in Sarasota County. There are many tools available to assist you. If at any time you have a question, please reach out to the Economic Development Corporation for assistance. 

Starting A Business Checklist

Here is a list to get you on the path to starting your business in Sarasota County!


Do your business plan


Connect with experts


Register with the State of Florida


Obtain your Employer Identification Number


Register with Sarasota County


Register your Local Business Tax


Register your non-real estate property


Contact your municipality about zoning, water/sewer connections, inspections and necessary permits

Business planning

You’ve got a great business concept and you’re ready to go. But wait, do you have a formal business plan put together? A business plan is a road map to success. Without a business plan most banks and landlords will not work with you. A business plan is a vital tool to move forward. Taking the time to speak with an expert and developing a good business plan will pay off. Luckily there are experts who are here to help. 


  • The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida assists existing and emerging businesses in Sarasota county, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. The consultants expertise focuses on areas that are vital to owning and operating a successful business, including business and strategic plan development, access to capital and loan packaging assistance, financial analysis and assessment, accounting systems and financial literacy, feasibility analysis and start-up assistance. 
  • CareerSource Suncoast hosts a series of 10 classes and online coursework for potential, new, or existing entrepreneurs, called Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO). It teaches business principles, practical knowledge and a framework to create both a business model and plan. Participants will network with each other and receive 1-to-1 consulting from instructors. 
  • SCORE has been mentoring new and existing businesses for over 40 years and has a network of over 13,000 volunteers who donate their time to help entrepreneurs. As highly successful and experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs, SCORE mentors deliver valuable, timely, and practical advice. Whether you are a start-up or an existing business, SCORE mentors will help your business open new markets, reach new customers, and achieve new goals. The service is free, confidential, and available online or in-person. 

Connect with experts

Another vital element to starting your business is surrounding yourself with experts. Whether it’s accounting, business law or a good real estate broker. There is no replacement for an expert to get you started on the right path. Sarasota County is full of well-equipped Chambers and business associations who will gladly connect you to the experts you need. 


State of Florida

You may be required to register to collect, accrue, and remit taxes or fees if you are engaged in activities associated with a tax or fee. If your business will sell taxable goods or services, you must register as a sales and use tax dealer to collect, report, and remit sales and use tax before you begin conducting business in Florida. The Florida Department of Revenue administers over 30 taxes and fees. The Department’s online Florida Business Tax Application uses an interactive wizard to determine tax registration requirements.

The Division of Corporations (SubBiz.com) is Florida’s central location for filing business entities, trade and service marks, fictitious name registrations, judgment and federal tax liens, UCC financing statements, and notary commissions and apostilles. The Division serves as an informational resource for statewide business activities, registrations and certificates. The division provides sole proprietors and companies with the legal right to do business in the state of Florida.

Employer Identification Number

An EIN is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. You may apply for an EIN online.

Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Business Tax is required if you are engaging in a business, profession or occupation located within Sarasota County. It is in addition to any other taxes or fees paid to operate a business.

Local Business Tax

The Local Business Tax, also known as a Business Tax Receipt, is a tax for operating a business within the City limits of Sarasota and North Port.  The Local Business Tax was previously known as an Occupational License; however, the State of Florida changed the name in 2007 to Local Business Tax.  Licenses are issued by the State of Florida.

Tangible Personal Property 

Tangible Personal Property is everything other than real estate used in a business. It includes furniture, fixtures, tools, machinery, household appliances, signs, equipment, leasehold improvements, supplies, leased equipment and any other equipment used in a business or to earn income. Personal household goods NOT used in a rental are NOT subject to the personal property tax. Section 193.052, Florida Statutes, requires that all Tangible Personal Property be reported each year to the Property Appraiser’s Office. You can file your DR-405 Tax Return online

Regulatory & Zoning

Sarasota County and the incorporated municipalities within it, stand ready to help you understand the following:

  • Temporary use permits
  • Business usage permits
  • Required inspections
  • Impact fees
  • Signage
  • Zoning

Contact the municipality your business is in:

Unincorporated Sarasota County: 941-861-5247
City of North Port: 941-339-7000
City of Sarasota: 941-263-6000
City of Venice: 941-486-2626
Town of Longboat Key: 941-316-1999

Ready to Start?

Learn more about what we can do for you.

Need Assistance?

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County is a team of committed individuals ready to help you navigate the Sarasota County business ecosystem. 

Contact Us

Invest in Sarasota County

The EDC of Sarasota County diversifies our local economy and helps create jobs for Floridians. Investing in the EDC empowers us to grow our economy and attract more business to our region.

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