Our picks for LLC formation services

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FAQs

Do I need to file any paperwork with the state to form an LLC in Georgia?

Yes, you need to file a document called Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. You can file online, by mail, or in person, along with a $100 filing fee. The fee is the same for online, mail, and in-person filing.

Do I need to obtain any licenses or permits to operate my LLC in Georgia?

There is no general business license required in Georgia, but all LLCs will need to obtain a sales and use tax permit. In addition, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from the state or local government, depending on the type of business you are operating.

Do I need to have a business bank account for my LLC?

While not required, it is generally recommended that you open a separate business bank account for your LLC. This will help keep your personal and business finances separate and make it easier to track your business income and expenses.

Can I have a single-member LLC in Georgia?

Absolutely! Georgia allows and recognizes single-member LLCs, granting you all the liability protection and tax benefits an LLC offers, even as the sole owner.

What happens if I don't have a physical office address for my Georgia LLC?

You can use a registered agent service’s address as your LLC’s official mailing address.These services accept legal documents on your behalf and often provide additional business support.

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When starting a new company, choosing a business entity is the most important decision that the founders must make. For most businesses with more than one founding member, forming as an LLC is often the best option for a number of reasons.

An LLC is an uncomplicated business structure that affords business owners legal protection by separating personal assets from business debts. Moreover, LLCs often enjoy a lower tax rate than corporations. Nevertheless, creating an LLC can get complicated depending on where you are based, with the formation process, filing fees, and continuing legal obligations differing from state to state.

Those forming a limited liability company in Georgia shouldn’t expect much of a hassle as the state’s formation procedure is fairly straightforward and uncomplicated, with few deviations from the routine process. Georgia’s filing fees and annual registration fees are also very reasonable.

1. Select a name for your Georgia LLC

Follow naming requirements

Step 1 in the process has to do with naming your business. There are 3 major guidelines to follow when naming your LLC in the state of Georgia:

  1. An LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of existing business entities on file with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division.
  2. An LLC’s name is required to contain one of the following phrases or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “LC”, or “L.C.” The words “Company” and “Limited” may be substituted with the abbreviations “Co.” and “Ltd.”, respectively.
  3. An LLC’s name is required to be 80 characters or less (punctuation and spaces included).

Need help coming up with a business name? Check out our free business name generator.

Reserve your LLC name with the Secretary of State

After selecting a name for your LLC, you can reserve it with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Check that the name is available by searching the name using the Corporations Division business name database.

If the LLC name is available, go ahead and reserve the name for up to 30 days by filing a Name Reservation Request online or through the mail. The reservation fee is $25.

2. Designate a registered agent

As in every U.S. state, forming an LLC in Georgia requires the appointment of a registered agent service to handle state and federal legal documents and service of process on the business’s behalf.

The registered agent must either be a state resident or business entity with a street address in Georgia OR if the individual or business is based out-of-state, they must have a business office in Georgia.

Our picks of the best registered agent services

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Starting a business requires a lot of state-mandated paperwork, which can be confusing for new business owners. Northwest offers business services that can help entrepreneurs find the right documentation, fill it out, and file it on time with the right government agency. In addition to helping you set up an LLC, Northwest has a host of additional services, like registered agent services, that new owners will find useful too.
  • ZenBusiness: There’s no need to stress about filing paperwork when you work with ZenBusiness. This company offers a great variety of LLC services, the focus of which is to ensure your business is set up correctly with the proper paperwork filled out and delivered to the right branch of your state government. Of course, ZenBusiness does charge for their services, but customers say they get the most bang for their buck.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

FAQs

Do I need to file any paperwork with the state to form an LLC in Georgia?

Yes, you need to file a document called Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. You can file online, by mail, or in person, along with a $100 filing fee. The fee is the same for online, mail, and in-person filing.

Do I need to obtain any licenses or permits to operate my LLC in Georgia?

There is no general business license required in Georgia, but all LLCs will need to obtain a sales and use tax permit. In addition, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from the state or local government, depending on the type of business you are operating.

Do I need to have a business bank account for my LLC?

While not required, it is generally recommended that you open a separate business bank account for your LLC. This will help keep your personal and business finances separate and make it easier to track your business income and expenses.

Can I have a single-member LLC in Georgia?

Absolutely! Georgia allows and recognizes single-member LLCs, granting you all the liability protection and tax benefits an LLC offers, even as the sole owner.

What happens if I don't have a physical office address for my Georgia LLC?

You can use a registered agent service’s address as your LLC’s official mailing address.These services accept legal documents on your behalf and often provide additional business support.

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3. File Articles of Organization

An LLC is created in Georgia through the filing of Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Filing the articles can be done online or via postal mail (those that file by mail must also submit a Transmittal Information Form, check below for details). The filing fee is $100 and payment can be made by credit card.

Your Georgia LLC’s Articles of Organization must provide the following details:

  • LLC name and address
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • The signature of an LLC member, manager, organizer, or legal representative

To file online, you must log in to https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/

Transmittal Form

Those who file Articles of Organization by postal mail are required to also file a Transmittal Information Form Georgia Limited Liability Company with the following information:

  • LLC name
  • LLC name reservation number (if applicable)
  • Names and addresses of organizers
  • Registered agent name and address
  • LLC email address
  • LLC principal address
  • Article filer’s names and addresses

4. Create an operating agreement

Although not a legally mandated step for forming an LLC in Georgia, drafting a comprehensive LLC operating agreement is strongly recommended for all nascent limited liability companies.

The operating agreement should do the following:

  1. Describe the LLC’s business structure
  2. Establish the individual responsibilities and obligations of LLC members
  3. Detail how the LLC will be run

Without an operating agreement clarifying the specific duties of its members, an LLC may face significant legal and operational difficulties.

5. Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) 

All newly formed LLCs in the United States must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (with the exception of single-member LLCs). The nine-digit EIN is like a social security number for a business and is necessary to pay income tax, file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and perform many other important functions.

You can apply for an EIN online on the IRS website without paying a filing fee.

6. Fulfill your legal obligations

Once an LLC is registered, its members must devote attention to fulfilling legal requirements that apply for the duration of the company’s existence.

Annual registrations

Georgia LLCs and foreign LLCs doing business in the state are required to file an annual registration with the Georgia Secretary of State. The first registration must be filed between January 1 to April 1 in the first calendar year following the year the LLC was formed. Filing an annual registration must be done online and the filing fee is $50.

Obtain business licenses and permits

Some LLCs in Georgia may be required to obtain one or more state or locally-issued business licenses, permits, or certifications depending on the type of their business and the area in which they are based.

  • Check out the First Stop Business Information Center hosted by the Georgia Secretary of State for comprehensive information on state business licenses.
  • Consult with a city clerk in the city or county where your LLC is based for information on local licensing requirements.

Understand state taxes

For income tax purposes, LLCs are pass-through tax entities; therefore, individual LLC members will pay taxes on their income. The business is not subject to income tax. Additionally, Georgia does not impose a franchise tax on LLCs.

  • Georgia tax rates: If your LLC is taxed as a corporation, it will be subject to a 5.75% corporate income tax. A business with a net worth over $100,000 will also pay a net worth tax each year, up to $5,000 total.
  • Register with the state’s Department of Revenue: Certain Georgia LLCs, such as those that collect sales tax and those that have employees, must register with the Georgia Department of Revenue. Registration can be completed online or by submitting a completed paper application through the mail or in person at the DOR office.

Visit the Georgia DOR website for more information on state taxes and fees.

Understand BOI reporting

Starting in 2024, a new BOI (Beneficial Ownership Information) reporting requirement has come into effect in the United States, impacting certain businesses. A beneficial owner is defined as someone who owns or controls at least 25% of the company or exercises substantial control over it. This mandate, overseen by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), necessitates the reporting of information related to beneficial owners of these businesses.

Filing depends on the business formation or registration date of the company.

  • For companies established or registered in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2024, the deadline for filing their initial reports is January 1, 2025.
  • For those formed or registered in 2024, they must file their initial reports within 90 calendar days from receiving notice of their formation or registration.
  • Companies formed or registered on or after January 1, 2025, have 30 calendar days from receiving notice to file their initial reports.

The information to be reported includes the name, date of birth, address, and identifying details from a government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) for each beneficial owner. It’s important to note that this reporting is not an annual requirement; businesses are only obligated to file once unless there are subsequent changes to the reported information.

Learn more about BOI reporting.

LegalZoom can help you file a compliant and stress-free BOI Report for only $149.

FAQs

Do I need to file any paperwork with the state to form an LLC in Georgia?

Yes, you need to file a document called Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. You can file online, by mail, or in person, along with a $100 filing fee. The fee is the same for online, mail, and in-person filing.

Do I need to obtain any licenses or permits to operate my LLC in Georgia?

There is no general business license required in Georgia, but all LLCs will need to obtain a sales and use tax permit. In addition, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from the state or local government, depending on the type of business you are operating.

Do I need to have a business bank account for my LLC?

While not required, it is generally recommended that you open a separate business bank account for your LLC. This will help keep your personal and business finances separate and make it easier to track your business income and expenses.

Can I have a single-member LLC in Georgia?

Absolutely! Georgia allows and recognizes single-member LLCs, granting you all the liability protection and tax benefits an LLC offers, even as the sole owner.

What happens if I don't have a physical office address for my Georgia LLC?

You can use a registered agent service’s address as your LLC’s official mailing address.These services accept legal documents on your behalf and often provide additional business support.

SHARE THIS POST

how to start an llc step by step infographic

Post LLC tasks

Set up business bank accounts

Setting up a business bank account for your LLC in Georgia is a fundamental step that offers numerous benefits. While not legally required, it helps maintain the separation between your personal and business finances, which is crucial for preserving your LLC’s limited liability protection.

Choose a bank that suits your needs, considering factors like fees, account features, and digital banking options. A few common options are:

  • Found: A user-friendly digital banking platform tailored to small businesses, offering expense tracking and accounting software integration.
  • Relay: Innovative banking solutions prioritizing transparency and collaboration with easy fund transfers, real-time expense tracking, and customizable budgeting options.
  • Mercury: Offers comprehensive financial management tools, including invoicing, expense categorization, and collaboration features.

A dedicated business bank account simplifies financial management, aids in accurate LLC tax reporting, and establishes a financial history for your LLC, which can be crucial when seeking loans or credit cards in the future.

Obtain a Certificate of Existence

In Georgia, obtaining a Certificate of Existence for your LLC is a crucial step in demonstrating your business’s legal compliance and status.

  • What it is: This certificate, often referred to as a Certificate of Existence, is issued by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. It verifies that your LLC has met all its state obligations, including filing annual reports, paying taxes, and maintaining current registrations. Many external parties, such as lenders, investors, or potential business partners, may request this certificate to ensure your LLC is in good standing before entering into any transactions or agreements.
  • How to get it: To obtain a Certificate of Existence, sometimes called a Certificate of Good Standing, you can request it online through the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. You’ll need to provide your LLC’s name and some basic identifying information, as well as pay a $10 fee.

Build a website

Every business needs an online presence. When you’re ready to build a website, follow these steps:

  1. Search for and purchase a domain name.
  2. Sign up for web hosting.
  3. Pick a web builder like Domain.com or GoDaddy to create a site with no coding experience necessary.
  4. Tailor your site to your customers, adding appropriate pages, content, and images.
  5. If you’re selling goods, add an e-commerce section to your site.
  6. Review, test, and publish your site.

Creating a website is a wise strategic choice for several reasons:

  • A website serves as your online storefront first and foremost, giving prospective clients a central location to research your goods and services.
  • People frequently use the internet to research products or services or make decisions on what to buy.
  • A website shows your business hours and which business days you’re open.
  • In addition to helping you create an online presence, a comprehensive and well-designed website makes you appear more credible and professional to your target audience.

Costs to set up an LLC in Georgia

Average cost to set up an LLC in Georgia: $150-$350

  • Incorporation fees: The main cost associated with starting your Georgia LLC will be the filing fee, which is required when you submit your Articles of Organization to the Georgia Secretary of State. The fee is $100, though you can pay more for expedited processing time if you choose.
  • Annual Registration Filing Fee: Most states require LLCs to file an annual report. In Georgia, you file an Annual Registration, which is very similar to Articles of Organization. You’ll update information as needed, like updating your business address if it moved or the name of your registered agent if it changed. The cost to file this report is $50.
  • Registered agent service fees (optional): If you choose, you can hire a registered agent service to collect formal documents for your company. If you’d prefer a professional company rather than an employee or friend, you’ll pay an annual fee between $50 to $200.

Foreign LLCs

Foreign LLCs formed outside of Georgia that plan on doing business in the state must register with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division.

The process is similar to that of a domestic LLC, with a slight change. Follow these steps to legally do business in Georgia as a foreign LLC:

  1. Comply with Georgia LLC naming guidelines and make sure that the LLC name is available for use in the state using the Corporations Division business name database
  2. Appoint a Georgia-based registered agent to handle service of process in the state.
  3. File an Application for a Certificate of Authority for Foreign Limited Liability Company with the Georgia Secretary of State. Filing can be performed online or by using postal mail. The filing fee is $225.

FAQs

Do I need to file any paperwork with the state to form an LLC in Georgia?

Yes, you need to file a document called Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. You can file online, by mail, or in person, along with a $100 filing fee. The fee is the same for online, mail, and in-person filing.

Do I need to obtain any licenses or permits to operate my LLC in Georgia?

There is no general business license required in Georgia, but all LLCs will need to obtain a sales and use tax permit. In addition, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from the state or local government, depending on the type of business you are operating.

Do I need to have a business bank account for my LLC?

While not required, it is generally recommended that you open a separate business bank account for your LLC. This will help keep your personal and business finances separate and make it easier to track your business income and expenses.

Can I have a single-member LLC in Georgia?

Absolutely! Georgia allows and recognizes single-member LLCs, granting you all the liability protection and tax benefits an LLC offers, even as the sole owner.

What happens if I don't have a physical office address for my Georgia LLC?

You can use a registered agent service’s address as your LLC’s official mailing address.These services accept legal documents on your behalf and often provide additional business support.

SHARE THIS POST