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Clearwater is an excellent location to start a business, thanks to its proximity to other large Florida cities and its variety of successful industries. At FMA C.P.A., we see many small businesses take off and thrive in Clearwater and surrounding Pinellas County and Hillsborough County areas. If you’re thinking about starting a business in Clearwater, here are some things you should consider.

 

Clearwater’s Location, Industry, and Economy

Clearwater’s proximity to Tampa, just half an hour across Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg, about forty minutes south, makes Clearwater a thriving hub for several industries. Real estate, tourism, professional and financial services, and startups in particular are major industries in the area. Clearwater is the 17th largest city in Florida, with a population of over 119,000 in 2020. 

Plus, with an established transport system and two major airports nearby, Clearwater’s convenient location strengthens the global connectivity and accessibility of anyone trying to start a business in the community.

With plenty of business opportunities and a large population, and as part of one of the biggest economies in the United States, Clearwater is one of the best places to launch your business. It also holds favorable tax rates for businesses, making it a clear choice for many businesses looking to establish or relocate.

 

Favorable Taxes Make Clearwater a Great Place to Start a Businesses

When choosing a location for your business, it’s important to consider the tax environment for each potential location. Clearwater and Pinellas County taxes are highly favorable to businesses, as is Florida’s state tax code in general. Florida code taxes corporate income only for C-Corporations, including capital gains, at 5.5%. On top of that, the first $5,000 of corporate income for C-Corporations is exempt.  There is no state income tax on S-Corporation, LLC,  Partnership or Sole Proprietorship income.

Sales tax is also fairly low in Pinellas County, with 6% state sales tax and an additional 1% for Clearwater. In Clearwater specifically, you need a business tax receipt to do business within city limits, which is only $28. It must be renewed by September 30th every year and the application is easy to fill out and submit online.

Should you need to buy property in Clearwater, you’ll also need to pay property taxes. In this county, property taxes are calculated by multiplying the property’s value by a mill (which is essentially $1 per $1,000 in property value).

 

Insight from a Clearwater Business Advisor

To set up a business in Clearwater, you’ll need to find the perfect location and space, establish a customer base and make connections with all the suppliers and professional services to run your company. Having someone who knows the local area can be extremely helpful. 

Certainly you will need assistance with business taxes and accounting, most likely from a C.P.A. However, it’s a good idea to think beyond taxes and look for business advisory services, for a more complete, proactive approach. Think of a business advisor as an extension of your company: someone who can help you strategically manage your business and help you make important financial decisions. A business advisor can inform your decisions about payroll, taxes, succession plans, and much more.

A business advisor will also register your business and make sure you’re tax compliant and getting the best tax rates. 

Starting your business in a new location can be challenging. You might not figure out your target market immediately and might not understand the economy patterns of the area. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a business advisor who understands the local area and can provide business resources you might need.

 

Work with FMA C.P.A.

When you choose a local Clearwater C.P.A. to get your business up and running, you’re investing in your community. Supporting fellow businesses in the Clearwater neighborhood can boost your own company’s reputation, spread good word-of-mouth, increase your business’s visibility, and uplift the community as a whole.

FMA C.P.A. is proud to be actively engaged in the Tampa Bay community. We host and participate in local charity events, volunteer for local nonprofit organizations, and offer educational courses to schools and business groups. Managing Partner Mark Martukovich is active in BNI Tampa Bay, the largest BNI chapter in the country. Through his connections there, as well as involvement with the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, Florida Gulf Coast Area Commercial Realtors (FGCAR), and Florida Institute of CPAs, Mark and his team can introduce business owners to numerous local services and professionals. 

Supporting new and existing companies in our community is a top priority at FMA C.P.A., and we would be proud to assist you as you start your business. Contact FMA C.P.A today for customized business and/or tax planning services. We’re excited to meet you.