Having an LLC in Georgia is a better and cheaper option than having other business structures. A limited liability company (LLC) reduces the owners’ personal liability and protects their personal assets. One can start an LLC in two ways, domestic LLCs or foreign LLCs (LLCs in more than one state). By following some basic steps, you can easily form an LLC in Georgia.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Georgia
- After Starting your Georgia LLC
- Georgia Foreign LLC
- Why an LLC in Georgia
- Georgia LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Georgia
An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. This section gives you a step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC in Georgia.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your LLC
Deciding on a business name is the first step to starting an LLC. In Georgia, before you name your LLC, it is important to note a few things. Firstly, make sure the name is available to use. If the name is available, then check if the name complies with all the Georgia business naming requirements. Once you pass through them, you can successfully name your business.
Why do you need a proper business name?
If you want your LLC to have special identification, your company name is essential. However, people face many issues by avoiding focusing on choosing a business name for their LLC business formation filings.
Here are some of the major benefits of choosing the best LLC names.
- Helps establish a company’s presence in the market;
- Creates a new identity that will resemble your LLC;
- Allows ease in finishing your LLC registration process;
- You can get the EIN once you have your name registration certificate
Requirements when deciding a name for your LLC
LLC Name Search: A business name search is required to check if the desired name is available or not. If the name is available then the business owner has to fill up a name reservation form and send it to the Secretary of State, Georgia. To do the name search, one has to visit the Business Entity Search page on the official Secretary of State website. Send the name reservation form to the below address by mail to reserve your LLC name in Georgia. The cost of a name reservation is $25 (online) and $28 (by mail).
Important Quick Links:
Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division,
Name Reservation Request,
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,
Suite 313 West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
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Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Georgia
A registered agent for service is your authorized person or business entity that will act or work on your behalf. This person or business will receive significant tax forms, legal documents, a notice of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Georgia. Choosing Georgia registered agents for your LLC is required.
Make sure your registered agents are residents of Georgia. They must have a physical street address which will be their mailing address too. It could also be a business. Here are the recommended agents:
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Note that availing of the services of professional registered agents would be your best option since you are guaranteed that whoever is handling your legal affairs knows their stuff well. You will enjoy peace of mind and focus only on running your business, as the ‘professionals’ take care of all legal matters.
These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in Georgia. Compare them to check the best yet cheapest option for you. Besides, they can guarantee you professional service because they have been in the business for years.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Georgia
A Certificate of Name Reservation is needed to file Articles of Organization which costs $100. Check out the LLC cost in Georgia for more details. You need to make reports of this certificate with the Georgia Secretary of State. You may file them online or by mail.
This Certificate of Formation is a legal document needed to form your business officially. It will indicate details about your LLC in Georgia, like if it is a member-managed or managers-managed.
Before you start filing your forms, you must already have your LLC name and registered agents or employees. You will attach a copy of your Name Reservation Certificate along with a list of the services that your Georgia LLC will offer.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. Create an account. You will need this to file most of your forms online. Once you have your account, choose file Articles of Organization and fill out the form completely before submitting it. To know more about online filing, visit the Georgia Certificate of Formation.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Georgia LLC registration, then you can download the Georgia Limited Company Certificate of Formation. Read the form thoroughly and fill it out. It will have to fill, among others, your name, city, state, zip code, and signature. You may also file in person by visiting the office on business days.
Mail To: Corporations Division,
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,
Suite 313 West Tower,
Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
Step 4: Create Your Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to an LLC operating agreement Georgia does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all your details of business operation. This document would be useful if you decide to dissolve Georgia LLC later.
Step 5: Filing a Georgia LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify types of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. It is like a Social Security number dedicated to a business’ taxes. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Before sending the form, ask for EIN Assistant. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
And that’s all! Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Georgia LLC. If you still haven’t used a professional service from here, I strongly recommend having one to handle the remaining tasks.
After Starting your Georgia LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:
- Get a company business bank account
- File Georgia business permits & licenses
- Get liability for business and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees
- File a Georgia LLC annual report or biennial report
- Already existing LLCs that wish to operate in Georgia must register as Georgia foreign LLC.
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Georgia Foreign LLC
To register a Georgia foreign LLC, one has to file the foreign LLC formation certificate with the Secretary of State, Georgia. Forming a foreign LLC allows you to operate your business in more than one state in the USA as a single business entity. Check Georgia Foreign LLC to know more about having a foreign LLC.
Why an LLC in Georgia
Georgia is one of the most popular states in the United States when it comes to setting up a business. Besides, if it is LLC then it comes with certain tax benefits such as a low tax burden. Other than personal taxes LLCs do not have to pay other additional taxes. Also, the state grants various incentives to small entrepreneurs.
Business Tax Credit
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit – LLCs in Georgia can get a tax credit from $1200 up to $9600 under the WOTC program for each qualified emoloyee. LLCs, by contributing to employment opportunities, can receive this amount of tax credit in Georgia.
- Mega Project Tax Credit – Setting up a mega project earn you a heavily loaded tax credit in Georgia. LLCs that invest a minimum of $450 Million and open net new job opportunities for a minimum of 1800 people can avail of this program. LLCs can get up to $5,250 per job, annually.
- Job Tax Credit – An LLC in Georgia can earn tax credits from $1,250 to $4,000 annually for the next 5 years straight for creating new job opportunities.
Enterprise Zone Act
Like Alabama and some other states, Georgia has Enterprise Zone Act too. Here, Dublin, Columbus, Riverdale, College Park, Barnesville, and several more are considered Enterprise Zones in Georgia. According to the Enterprise Zones Act 1997, having a business or operating in these areas will bring business incentives.
Georgia Incentive Programs
Apart from the above-mentioned credits, programs like Small Business Development Loan Guarantee, Optional Investment Tax Credit, Tax Exemption Program, and others are available. Under these programs, LLCs can receive a lot of incentives.
Top Business Niches in Georgia
When we talk about starting a business, we look for the most profitable business. For any entrepreneur, it is necessary to know about the top business niches in the state he/she is going to form their LLC. For the state of Georgia, the following are the top businesses one can look for while starting an LLC.
Old People Nursing Home
Old age is hectic with a lot of health issues. As we grow old we tend to settle in a place where we will get every possible facility at our doorstep. Georgia is kind of a state that has old people nursing homes as one of the most flourishing businesses. Entrepreneurs who are looking for profitable businesses can start nursing homes for elderly people in the state. On the other side, for people who are looking for a place to retire and settle, Georgia is the state for you with all old-age facilities.
Coffee shops and restaurants
Many places in the state of Georgia attract people from around the world. That is why there is great potential to enter the business of coffee shops and restaurants. There are many rare and amazing viewing points in the state near which you can start catering for some best coffee shops and restaurant businesses. There can be no comparison of a combination of good food and a beautiful view.
Tourism Consulting Businesses
Due to the increasing places of tourist attraction in the state, more people are now visiting Georgia. But not every person who is visiting the state has time to visit the whole state, due to which they look for suggestions. Here the role of tourism consultancy enters the game. A person in business who has complete knowledge of the state can provide consultancy services to the visitors and provide them with the option to let you be their travel guide.
Some entrepreneurs want to invest some less money for their business. Some of the best low-cost businesses are:-
- Pharmacy and wellness businesses
- Dry Cleaning businesses
- Digital marketing businesses
Georgia LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
To recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Georgia. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Georgia LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a registered agent
In Georgia, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out the list of our Best LLC Services in the United States.
- File a formation certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create operating agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
If you are a resident of Georgia, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $100 (domestic LLC) and $225 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Georgia include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 4% every year
It takes 7 to 10 business days to get an LLC in Georgia if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 14 days to get an LLC.
Every year all the LLC have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the Georgia Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLC in Georgia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, leave a comment below.