The cost of living in Florida is slightly higher than the U.S. average across the board, but it remains more affordable than other major economic hubs in the country. This means entrepreneurs can plug into a humming business landscape at a reasonable cost, though housing and transportation costs are somewhat pronounced.
There is significant fluctuation of prices based on locality, of course. For example, Miami tends to be more expensive than other major metropolitan areas in the state, such as Jacksonville or Tampa Bay. For businesses with physical locations, real estate costs, in particular, vary widely, so it's important to research local markets.
Florida is generally known as a state with an overall low tax burden. It is one of seven states in the U.S. that doesn't have a personal income tax, making it a highly attractive state for pass-through entities, such as LLCs. The state sales tax is middle of the road on taxes for rented or purchased goods at 6%. That excludes such necessities as groceries and medicines. Corporations in Florida must file a corporate income tax return, but at a low top rate of 5.5%.
Florida doesn't have a state income tax or some of the other business taxes found in other states.
Some business owners are uprooting their businesses to move into Florida due to the tax advantages.
Entrepreneurs also report sufficient access to capital for starting and growing their business in Florida. In addition to more the 150 banks across the state, Florida is home to significant amounts of investment capital from venture capitalists and angel investors, some business owners report.
The stable business environment in Florida makes business here ripe for investment. Also, the walls of access to large markets have been broken down by technology.
In recent years, investors have turned their eyes to the Sunshine State. Today, Florida is home to several economic hubs considered to be incubators of innovation and startups.
You can have peace-of-mind when you locate your business in Florida. The state’s favorable business tax structure, government policies and competitive costs make planning for future growth easy. Florida consistently ranks among the best states for business, thanks to its pro-business state tax policies, competitive cost of doing business and streamlined regulatory environment. The state is proud of its welcoming business climate and competitive advantages.
Florida has one of the world’s most extensive multi-modal transportation systems, featuring international airports, deep-water shipping ports, extensive highway and rail networks and multiple hubs that allow for high-speed data transmission from around the U.S. to Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Florida’s talented and diverse 9.5 million workers can exceed the expectations of even the most demanding employers. Not surprisingly, Florida’s talent pipeline is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Much credit for the excellent skills of the Florida workforce can be given to the state’s excellent educational institutions and unique workforce training programs
The low unemployment rate in Florida is an indicator of its strong economic performance. However, in an employee's labor market, it can be difficult to retain existing talent, as companies are prepared to offer lucrative compensation packages to lure in the best candidates.
While there are several top universities in Florida from which businesses can easily recruit, high salaries and wages, attractive benefits packages, and perks. Businesses should be prepared to compete to secure the most skilled or experienced employees in their industry.
Florida's current minimum wage rate is $8.46, as of January 2019. Florida labor laws do not say anything about overtime payment requirements. There are no Florida laws requiring employers to provide employees with severance pay if someone is let go. There are also no state laws requiring employers to provide employees with vacation benefits or sick leave, either paid or unpaid.
THE BENEFITS OF O-ZONE INVESTMENT
One of the hidden gems of the recent tax-reform legislation is opportunity zones (generally referred to as o-zones) and the ability to defer, reduce and eliminate realized and future capital gain taxes as a result of certain investments.
Taxpayers who invest gains in an o-fund enjoy deferred taxes, gain reduction and appreciation exclusion. Tax on the gain invested in the o-fund is deferred until either the date a taxpayer sells its interest in the o-fund or Dec. 31, 2026, whichever comes first.
To take full advantage of the statute’s current benefits (i.e., deferral of tax until 2026 and 15 percent reduction in taxable gain), investments must be made by the end of 2019. This does not mean taxpayers cannot make investments after 2019 to take advantage of the benefits, including the appreciation exclusion that many believe is the greatest benefit of the new law.
Opportunity Funds are a new class of investment vehicles that aim to responsibly drive much-needed capital into rural and low-income urban communities. O Funds will activate passive holdings by connecting investors to investment opportunities located in newly designated Opportunity Zones.
This concept – originally introduced in the Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA) – is the first new community development tax incentive program introduced since the Clinton Administration. The program will allow U.S. investors to receive a temporary tax deferral and other tax benefits when they reinvest unrealized capital gains into O Funds for a minimum of five years. Today, trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains are held in stocks and mutual funds alone. This capital could soon be invested in O Funds to uplift local economies throughout the nation.
Opportunity Funds will be designated through the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service as eligible based on rule-making that has not yet taken place. The Opportunity Funds must invest 90 percent of their fund in Opportunity Zones to receive the tax benefits, which will vary depending on the number of years the investment is held in the Zones.
Lee County Economic Development Office
2201 Second Street, Suite 500
Fort Myers, FL 33901
While many regions struggle to maintain the status quo, Florida’s economic engine keeps surging forward. To put things in perspective, consider this: if Florida were a country, it would have the 19th largest economy in the world.
Florida has the 4th largest Gross State Product and is the 8th largest economy in the Western Hemisphere. And with 12 cities named to Economy.com’s “Business Vitality Index,” Florida has more than double the number of any other state.
In terms of personal income, Florida tops the Southeast, and its 2007 per capita income of $38,444 places it at No. 2 in the Southeast and No. 20 nationwide.
A gross lease is a type of commercial lease where the tenant pays a flat rental amount, and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership, including taxes, utilities and water. Most apartment leases resemble gross leases.
A modified gross lease is a type of real estate rental agreement where the tenant pays base rent at the lease’s inception but in subsequent years pays the base plus a proportional share of some of the other costs associated with the property, such as property taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance.
A triple net lease (or "nnn" lease) is a form of real-estate lease agreement where the tenant or lessee is responsible for the ongoing expenses of the property, including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance, in addition to paying the rent and utilities.
If you decide to open a business in South Florida, you'll find yourself in excellent company. Between 2010 and 2013, small business activity grew by 3.7 percent (the fourth fastest in the nation), and SBA loan approvals increased by more than 56 percent between 2012 and 2015.