Business Licensing in Miami
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I’m hosting an Experience or a Trip in Miami. Could I be considered a business in the eyes of the law? What should I be thinking about if I am considered a business?
Yes. If you advertise or run any type of Experience or Trip in Miami, the City and County will consider you to be operating a business (and you must register as a business). For more information about registering as a business, see the Miami-Dade County Municipal Code.
Are there registration requirements for Miami businesses?
Yes. If Miami City and Miami County consider you to be operating a business, you are required to register with the City.
How can I register as a business in Miami?
If you meet the definition of a “business", you need to register as a business with both the Miami City and Miami County before you run your first Trip or Experience within the City.
Choose your business structure. First, you’ll need to choose your preferred business structure: a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, or a Limited Liability Company. You can learn more about what these different types of business structures mean here.
Sole Proprietorships are the simplest way to start a new business if you’re the only business owner and person responsible for your business’s assets and liabilities. Unlike the other business structures, Sole Proprietorships have less paperwork (you don’t need to file anything with the state) and you don’t need to file a corporate income tax statement with the Florida Department of Revenue.
Choose your business name. You’ll also need to name your new business. You won’t need to fill out any additional forms if you plan to use your own name (such as “John Smith"); just fill your name on the city registration applications. Since Trip Hosts on Airbnb typically use their own name on their Listings, this option should generally work for Hosts.
If you don’t want to use your own legal name for your business, you must register a fictitious business name (FBN). To do this, first make sure that the name you want is available using the City’s FBN search. Then complete an FBN application, and mail it, along with a filing fee of $50, to the Florida Division of Corporations with the County Clerk before starting your business (or hosting your first Experience or Trip). In addition you’ll need to advertise your business name in a newspaper that circulates in the county where your business is located at least once.
Obtain a Certificate of Use for your business location. Before running your first Trip or Experience within Miami, you’ll need a Certificate of Use approved by the Miami Department of Zoning confirming that the address where you plan to run your business is zoned for that use, even if you plan to run your business from home. The Certificate of Use application will ask for your business name and address. You can fill out the Certificate of Use application through the City’s Miami Biz portal but will need to submit that application in person at the City of Miami Administration Building, located at 444 S.W. 2nd Ave., Zoning Department, 4th Floor, Corridor C or any Miami NET office. The fee for a Certificate of Use for a home business (referred to as an “Accessory of Use" permit), is $82.50 per year. The Department of Zoning will then schedule an annual inspection of your space, which usually can be done within a week.
Running a business from home. If you run a business out of your home, the Miami Department of Zoning, requires you to use your home predominantly as a place to live, not as a place of business. This means that:
- A Certificate of Use is required
- The home office is located wholly within your home and no more than 25% of the home is used as a home office
- The experiences/trips you run out of your home are limited to tutoring, teaching an instrument, or artistic experiences (involving writing and composing, visual art, design, sewing, tailoring), or office uses
- No more than one guest/client visits at a time
- You only hold experiences in your home on Monday through Saturday between 8:00 AM to 6PM
For more details, check out the Miami Zoning Code. You should also check with the City or speak to a lawyer before conducting an Experience out of your home.
Enterprise Zones. A new business that locates their business address in a Miami-Dade county Enterprise Zone, may qualify for certain financial incentives, including sales tax incentives and corporate income tax benefits. You can learn more about Enterprise Zones here.
Register with the Finance Department and Tax Collector. Before running your first Trip or Experience within Miami, you’ll need to file an application for a Business Tax Receipt with both the Miami Finance Departmentand the Miami Dade County Tax Collector’s Office. Both applications will ask you to describe your business structure, business name, Business Type (like “Service Business"), provide your FBN if you have one, and your Certificate of Use.
Miami Finance Department Registration.You can fill out the Miami Finance Department Business Tax Receipt application through the City’s Miami Biz portal but will need to submit that application in person at the City of Miami Administration Building, located at 444 S.W. 2nd Ave., Finance Department, 6th Floor or any Miami NET office. The Finance Department will charge you $3.50 to process your application and Miami Tax Receipts are typically ready within the hour.
Miami Dade County Tax Collector Registration. You can apply for the Miami Dade County Business Tax Receipt online for free.
Pay your City and County Registration fee. You’ll need to pay a registration fee with both the County Tax Collector’s Office and the City Department of Finance. Both fees are set based on your business type. For most Trip Hosts, the registration fee will be around $45 for County registration and $30 for City Registration (which covers Service Businesses located within the city of Miami that have no employees).
Note:County and City registration must be renewed each year by September 30th. Since registration fees are set, you can expect to pay the same registration fee (of $75 for both County and City registration).
Example: Anna is a trip host who runs experiences one week per month where she brings her guests to her favorite restaurants and cocktail bars in Wynwood. She runs her experiences alone, and makes about $1,000 per month, which helps her supplement her earnings as an artist.
Note: The above registration process is not exhaustive, so please check out the City’s Starting a Business in the City of Miami guide and contact the City of Miami NET office, or speak to a lawyer to make sure you’ve met all of the requirements.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
Yes. You should consider the following:
- Activities and licenses. Depending on the activities involved in your Trip or Experience, you may need to register, obtain licenses, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our section on the various activity specific topics covers some of the typical activities, but it is not exhaustive. You should always check with the City or speak to a lawyer to determine which permits and licenses may be required for the experiences you are offering.
Employees.If you plan to hire employees as part of your business, you may also be required to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
Note:a sole proprietor without employees can use their Social Security Number instead of EIN.) The IRS also provides other useful information on taxes that apply to small businesses.
- Tax and accounting. You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, as you may need to pay personal income, sales tax, and tangible personal property tax. Also make sure you have the right insurance in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
What resources are available to me to help me get set up as a business?
We strongly encourage you to contact the City of Miami’s NET office and Finance Department, as well as the SBA’s Florida District office and take advantage of SBA’s Small Business Guide, South Florida edition. The Florida Department of Revenue and the IRS also provide useful information on taxes that apply to small businesses.
Are there additional laws that apply to me as a result of my being a registered business?
Yes. Several consumer protection laws, like the Federal Trade Commission Act, Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, require you to truthfully describe your Trip or Experience in your Listing so your guests can make informed decisions. This means that:
- The information you provide to Guests must be accurate and not misleading
- You accurately and completely describe in your Listing the main characteristics of your Trip or Experience, as well as what is included and any special terms and conditions (for example, my favorite local craft cocktail bar Experience includes the first round of drinks, but guests must pay for additional drinks out of pocket)
- You do not offer a service that you do not intend to provide
- Your price is accurate, and you do not List a Trip or Experience at one price and then charge an additional fee when your guests get there.
In sum, this means that you need to provide the services advertised in your Listing, within the advertised dates and times, at the advertised price. For more information, the FTC provides helpful guidance on truth-in-advertising, that we encourage you to review.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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