How to Start an LLC in Georgia (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Georgia? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division ($100 when filed online and $110 when filed by mail).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Georgia LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in Georgia in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Georgia, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Name Your LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File Your Articles of Organization
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Obtain an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Georgia LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Georgia LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable Georgia naming requirements and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Follow the Georgia LLC naming guidelines:
- Your name must include “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name should not include words or phrases that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, treasury, state department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g., bank, attorney, university) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any other Georgia limited liability company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, or corporation.
Keep in mind that the Secretary of State has the right to restrict the use of certain words; this means that you will not be able to include them in your name unless you submit a letter of approval from the relevant state agency alongside your filing documents.
Examples of such words include:
- Insurance words, which require approval from the Office of Commissioner of Insurance. Examples include “insurance,” “assurance,” and “indemnity.”
- Banking words, which require approval from the Department of Banking and Finance. Examples include “bank,” “credit union,” and “trust.”
- Education words, which require approval from the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission: Examples include “college” and “university.”
For a complete list of naming rules in Georgia, we recommend checking out Georgia’s official Naming Guidelines.
2. Is the name available in Georgia?
To check whether your desired name is already taken by another business entity in Georgia, you can perform a Business Search on the Georgia Corporations Division’s website.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 30 days. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a $25 filing fee in order to do this ($35 for paper filings).
For more information, you can have a look at our Georgia LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it — potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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FAQ: Naming a Georgia LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same tax benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the Georgia LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you have trouble creating a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. We'll help you find a unique name for your business and an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a DBA (Doing Business As) name, known in Georgia as a trade name. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name, and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Georgia
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a Georgia registered agent and registered office. This is a necessary step in your Transmittal Form (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC alongside your Articles of Organization).
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving necessary tax forms, legal documents, notices of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business' primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Georgia or a business entity — such as a registered agent service, an individual in your company (e.g., yourself, etc.), or a business attorney — that is authorized to transact business in Georgia.
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC. Having said that, this usually isn’t recommended for small business owners as a registered agent service will maintain your privacy and save you time.
Read about being your own registered agent.
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
Step 3: File Your Georgia LLC Articles of Organization
To register your LLC in Georgia, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization and a Transmittal Form with the Georgia Corporations Division. When filing your Articles of Organization, you can either draft your own or fill out Form CD 030. You’ll then be able to apply online, by mail, or in person.
Before filing, you’ll need to have certain information on hand to be able to complete your Articles of Organization and Transmittal Form correctly, including:
- Your LLC’s primary email address
- Your LLC name reservation number (if you reserved a name before filing)
- The proposed name of your LLC
- The name of the person filing the Articles of Organization
- The filer’s address and email
- Your LLC’s principal office mailing address
- The name and address of your registered agent in Georgia
- The name and address of each organizer
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Georgia Corporations DivisionFile Online
- OR -
OPTION 2: File Form CD 030 by MailDownload Form
State Filing Cost: $100 online filing and $110 by mail, payable to Georgia Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)
Corporations Division 2
Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
SE, Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
For help completing the form, visit our Georgia Articles of Organization guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing LLC to the State of Georgia, you'll need to form a foreign limited liability company.
FAQ: Filing Georgia LLC Documents
Filing the Articles of Organization takes five to seven business days online and up to two weeks by mail. Expedited filings are also available for an additional fee.
A domestic limited liability company is a term used to describe an LLC that conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be created when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Step 4: Create a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
While Georgia LLCs are not required to form an operating agreement, it’s a good practice to have one regardless.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive LLC operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Georgia LLC operating agreement guide.
FAQ: Creating a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference.
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Georgia LLC
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? The business owner obtains an EIN number from the IRS (free of charge) after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. The IRS requires this.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the available tax classification options. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
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Maintain Your Georgia LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:
- Filing the annual registration
- Sorting out your tax requirements
We’ve provided more information on how to complete each of these steps below.
File the Annual Registration
All LLCs in Georgia must file an annual report, known in the state as the annual registration, with the Secretary of State. This filing keeps your business's information (e.g., name, registered agent, address, etc.) up to date with the state.
Annual registrations are due by April 1 each year.
File Online: You can file your annual registration online through the Georgia Secretary of State's eCorp portal along with the $50 fee. Failure to file the annual report will lead to your LLC being administratively dissolved or revoked.
Note: An additional fee of $10 is required for paper filings.
Sort Out Your Taxes
Though there is no state income tax, there are a number of different taxes you’ll be required to pay at a local, state, and federal level as a Georgia LLC. Your LLC’s tax obligations can also vary depending on the nature of your business (e.g., industry, niche, profession, etc.).
Below are the most common taxes in Georgia:
Sales and Use Taxes
If you’re selling goods or services in Georgia or selling to Georgia customers, the sales/use tax rate is the revenue you’ll need to collect on the sale of these taxable items. Despite being imposed across the state at a flat, general rate of 4%, the total rate you may be required to charge your customers can vary up to a maximum of 8.9% when local rates are also included.
Your LLC will typically need to submit its sales tax returns by the 20th of each month, though you can file a written application if you want to change your filing frequency.
Note: Though you can submit your sales tax return by mail using Form ST-3, it’s far more common to do so through the Georgia Tax Center, as you’ll be required to file and pay online you owe more than $500 for any return anyway.
As an LLC operating in Georgia, there are three main types of state taxes on your earnings to be concerned about, which we’ve discussed in more detail below:
- Personal Income Tax: This tax is imposed at a gradual rate varying between 1% and 5.75% depending on a taxable entity’s income level. To find out how much you’ll need to pay, use the Georgia Tax Rate Schedule found within this financial year’s Individual Income Tax Booklet.
- Corporate Income Tax: This is a flat tax of 5.75% levied on the net income of corporations (and LLCs structured as such) based within the state. Note that this tax will be paid by the shareholders of an LLC instead of the business itself if it’s organized as an S corp.
- Partnership Tax: LLCs organized as partnerships for tax purposes that own property, conduct business, or generate income within the state are subject to a 5.75% tax on their total net income. While the individual partners are typically responsible for paying their portion of this tax, the partnership can opt to pay this tax at the entity level.
Business Privilege Taxes
A number of business activities and industries in Georgia have a corresponding tax that your LLC will need to pay for the right to be able to engage in, such as the:
- Film Tax
- State Hotel-Motel Fee
- Fireworks Excise Tax
- Non-Prepaid 911 and Prepaid Wireless 911 Charges
- Transportation Services Tax
You can find a full list of all these business taxes, as well as more details on how they work, on the Georgia Department of Revenue website. Alternatively, due to how complex the specifics of each of these taxes can be, many business owners opt to consult an accountant to make sure their LLC is compliant with state tax obligations.
Keep in mind that, in addition to the applicable taxes from the list above, your LLC will be required to pay certain federal taxes regardless of where it’s registered. This often includes corporation and employer taxes – for LLCs taxed as C corporations – and income and self-employment taxes (for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities).
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, obtain all required business licenses, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.