Orange county is the most densely populated county in central Florida, and it encompasses the City of Orlando along with twelve other incorporated cities. The county is in the state’s center, halfway between Jacksonville and Miami. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area on the Gulf of Mexico and Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Ocean are within driving distance of each other.

Orange County is well renowned for its simulation, optics/photonics, and high-tech sectors. It is the site of the nation’s second-largest university, a world-class international airport, and Lake Nona Medical City. Its dynamic economy features a flourishing life science research hub, a booming tourism sector, and industries engaging in advanced computer simulation.

Central Florida is home to many companies, including Lockheed Martin, Darden Restaurants, Siemens Energy, ADP, CVS Health’s Caremark, and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Anyone seeking to set up a business in Orange County must register the company and obtain a business tax receipt (business license) from the Office of Permitting Services.

You should also contact this office if you are unsure whether your business is located within the county limits. They can be reached at (407) 246-2204 to assist you in determining whether an Orange County business tax receipt is required. You should also talk about the zoning regulations in the area where you want to do business.

In Orange County, anyone intending to operate a home occupation must include extra information in their business tax receipt (business license) application, perhaps with a sketch of your residence’s floor plan, a one-time processing fee, and, if you are not the landlord of your residence, a notarized letter from your landlord endorsing your home-based business.

You will also need a notarized letter from your homeowner’s association or property manager if you own a condo. In addition, for zoning considerations, you must complete and submit a home occupation application. Aside from that, Orange County is exempt from Ad Valorem taxes.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners is authorized under this program to grant eligible businesses a temporary county property tax exemption of up to 100 percent for up to ten years.

Steps to Start a Business in Orange County Florida

Starting a business anywhere in the United States is a complex process with specific details that vary by location. However, if you intend to start a business in Orange County Florida, here are necessary steps to consider;

  1. Write your Business Plan

Consider this the blueprint for how to organize, operate, and expand your new business. You should know what type of business structure will work best for your company at this point. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations are all familiar options.

Once you’ve settled on a business model, you can include that in your business plan, along with information on the organization, management, and financial projections. The National Entrepreneur Center in Orange County offers detailed, professional support to both new and established entrepreneurs.

  1. Understand Zoning Regulations

Orange County includes the city of Orlando as well as twelve other incorporated cities, with varying zoning codes. When looking for a business location, you need to consider the city’s zoning regulations to ensure your business can operate there. Check to see what can be constructed on city property and how it can be designed.

Setbacks, height limits, density/intensity, and impervious surface ratio are all examples of development standards (ISR). Before requesting building permits, you must first conform to other city codes, including zoning overlays, adequate parking, and green space. Your plans may also be reviewed by planning staff, public review boards, and City Council.

  1. Understand Your License and Permits Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may require specific licenses and permits. For instance, you might have to contact the IRS for a federal employer ID number or the Orange County Business Tax Office for a tax receipt from the county. If you plan to serve food, call the Department of Agriculture at (800) 435-7352.

If you serve or sell alcohol at your establishment, you must apply for and receive an alcoholic beverage license. For more information on alcoholic beverage licenses, contact (407) 245-0785. You may require a variety of local, state, and federal permits or licenses; for more information, call the Office of Permitting Services at (407) 246-2204.

  1. Obtain Business Tax Receipt

As a business owner in Orange County, you must pay an annual business tax. When you fill out your application for an Orlando business tax receipt, you must sign your application to prove it. Someone who knowingly supplies false information risks having criminal charges filed against them and having their business tax receipt rejected or voided.

You must provide an appraised value of your inventory for all applicable fiscal years beginning in 2007. On your application, you must include your name, address, phone number, and any other contact information. A thorough explanation of your company’s operations is required.

If it applies to your business, you have to provide a FEIN, the professional’s name, a state license number, and the number of seats in the case of a restaurant. Also provide your name, business address (both physical and mailing), and phone number for your company.

You can even mail your completed business tax receipt application to the Office of Permitting Services at 400 South Orange Avenue, on the first floor of City Hall. They can be reached by phone at (407) 246-2204 if you have any concerns or require any help completing your application.

  1. Understand Signage Rules

Also, keep in mind that the cities in Orange County all have different signage rules; as a result, you must be able to make sense of regulations relating to signage size, type, and location. These codes permit suitable and efficient signage while promoting standards that foster pleasant and appealing residential and commercial neighborhoods.

Most cities in the county advise business owners to hire a sign professional to assist them with the permitting process. Sign contractors should always be licensed by the State of Florida, have a City business tax receipt, and carry worker’s compensation insurance.

The majority of the county’s cities allow business owners to file their plans digitally so that they can be reviewed online. After they process your Building Permit application, they will send you an email. It will provide you with a link to ProjectDox and a temporary password. You will require:

  • A site plan that features a property description, planned sign location, building(s) location, tenant space dimensions, and current signs with locations and dimensions.
  • Sign construction and elevation drawings, including front and side views


As previously stated, anyone wishing to open a business in Orange County must first register the company and then obtain a business tax receipt (business license) from the Office of Permitting Services. Orange County and the majority of its cities provide resources to help aspiring business owners establish and manage their businesses successfully.