Starting an LLC in Georgia is easy, just follow these simple steps:
To start an LLC in Georgia, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division, which costs $100. You can apply online or by mail. The Articles of Organization is the legal document that officially creates your Georgia Limited Liability Company.
Follow the steps below to start your Georgia LLC today and get your business up and running.
STEP 1: Name Your Georgia LLC
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your Georgia LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Georgia naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.
1. Follow the Georgia LLC naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name include words 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.
- For a complete list of naming rules in Georgia, you can read the Georgia naming guidelines.
2. Is the name available in Georgia? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a business search on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
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 create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.
FAQ: Naming a Georgia LLC
What is an 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 benefits. An LLC is one of several business structures, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation (C-Corp and S-Corp). For more information, read our What is an LLC guide.
Watch our 2 minute video: What is an LLC?
Do I need to get a DBA or Trade Name for my business?
Most LLCs do not need a DBA (Doing Business As). 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 if you would like 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
You are required to nominate a Georgia Registered Agent for your Georgia LLC.
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business' point of contact with the state.
Who can be a Registered Agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Georgia or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to conduct business in the state of Georgia. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.
FAQ: Choosing a Registered Agent
Can I be my own registered agent in Georgia?
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Read about being your own registered agent.
Is a registered agent service worth it?
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.
For more information, read our article on Georgia registered agents.
STEP 3: File the Georgia LLC Articles of Organization
To register your Georgia LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division. You can apply online or by mail. Some states refer to the Articles of Organization as the Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization.
The Articles of Organization for an LLC (limited liability company) in Georgia is a legal document to officially form your business. You’ll be expected to provide the name of your LLC, choose a registered agent, list the services your LLC will offer, and pay the state filing fee. After you file the Articles of Organization, we recommend you obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you plan to hire employees and open a business bank account.
Now is a good time to consider whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. We suggest learning more about member-managed vs manager-managed LLCs before you file.
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online with the State of Georgia
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by Mail
When filing by mail you must download two separate forms.
State Filing Cost: $100, payable to Georgia Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)
Corporations Division 2
Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
SE, Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta , GA 30334
Instructions: Make sure you follow the instructions provided by the State of Georgia.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Georgia, you will need to form a Foreign LLC.
FAQ: Filing Georgia LLC Documents
How long does it take to get an LLC in Georgia?
Filing the Articles of Organization takes 5 to 7 business days online and up to two weeks by mail. Expedited filings are also available for an additional fee.
What is the difference between a domestic LLC and foreign LLC?
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC we are actually referring to a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state. If you are filing as a foreign Georgia LLC,read our guide for more information.
STEP 4: Create a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for an LLC in Georgia, but it's a good practice to have one.
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 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.
Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
FAQ: Creating a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the State of Georgia?
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states like Georgia do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
STEP 5: Get a Georgia LLC EIN
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN), is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS); an Employer ID Number 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? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This task can be done online or by mail.
FAQ: Getting an EIN
How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a social security number?
What tax structure should I choose for my LLC?
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing S corporation (S-Corp) status. We recommend consulting with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.
Have a question? Leave a comment!
Ask us a question, tell us how we're doing, or share your experiences. Join the conversation in our Comments Section.
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
We reviewed and ranked the top 5 LLC formation companies.
Find out which is best LLC service for you.
Protect Your Business & Personal Assets
Get a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your Georgia LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
You can protect your LLC in Georgia with these two steps:
1. Opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Find the right bank for you, read our review of the Top 5 Banks for Your Small Business
2. Getting a business credit card:
- Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
- Builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on.
Get Business Insurance
Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your Georgia LLC. The most common types of business insurance are:
- General Liability Insurance: A broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses get general liability insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance: A business insurance for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) that covers against claims of malpractice and other business errors.
- Workers' Compensation Insurance: A type of insurance that provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths. In Georgia, businesses with one or more employees, including LLC members and corporate officers, are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance. Get a free quote with ADP.
How much will the right insurance cost you? Click here to find out.
Properly Sign Legal Documents
Improperly signing a legal document as yourself and not as a representative of the business can leave you open to personal liability. When signing legal documents on behalf of your LLC in Georgia, you could follow this formula to avoid problems:
- Formal name of your business
- Your signature
- Your name
- Your position in the business as its authorized representative
See the image below for an example.
This ensures that you are signing on behalf of your Georgia LLC and not as yourself.
Learn more on how to protect your business & personal assets by reading our article - How to Maintain your LLC Corporate Veil.
Join the Conversation
We are here to guide you through your entrepreneurial journey, and are always looking at your feedback. Share your experiences in our comment box, chat with other entrepreneurs, or simply let us know how we're doing.
Keep Your Company Compliant
Georgia Business Permits & Licenses
Do I need a Georgia business license and permit?
To operate LLC in Georgia you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read carefully. Don't be surprised if there are short classes required as well.
Fees for a Georgia business license and permit will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.
Find out how to obtain necessary Georgia business licenses and permits for your LLC or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Visit Georgia's Official State Page.
- Local: Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and ask about local business licenses and permits.
Georgia LLC Tax Filing Requirements
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
Georgia Sales Tax
If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit online through the Georgia Department of Revenue website.
This certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.
Sales tax, also called "Sales and Use Tax," is a tax levied by states, counties, and municipalities on business transactions involving the exchange of certain taxable goods or services.
Read our sales tax guide to find out more.
Georgia Employer Taxes
If you have employees in Georgia, you will need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Georgia Department of Labor. Employers who are required to pay Employee Withholding Tax will need to register with the Georgia Tax Center.
Federal LLC Tax Requirements
Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using:
- Form 1065 Partnership Return (most multi-member LLCs use this form)
- Form 1040 Schedule C (most single-member LLCs use this form)
How you pay yourself as an owner will also affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.
Read our LLC Tax Guide to learn more about federal income taxes for LLCs.
Georgia LLC Annual Registration
Georgia requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Secretary of State. This can be done online.
File your Annual Registration
File Online with the State of Georgia
Fee: $50 (Nonrefundable)
Due Date: Due by April 1st each year
Late Filings: Georgia assess a $25 late fees if you miss your filing deadline. Georgia will dissolve your LLC within 2 years for failure to file an annual report.
Avoid Automatic Dissolution
LLCs may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings. When this happens, LLC owners risk loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines, and even submitting reports on your behalf for an additional fee.
Recommended: ZenBusiness offers a reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.
Make Running Your Business Easier
After starting a business, two of the most important things you can do are get professional accounting and hire the right employees. Streamlining these processes can save you time and money as your business grows.
Hiring Employees in Georgia
If you plan to hire employees for your business, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the State
- Provide workers' compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your work space
Find more information from Georgia's Department of Labor.
Recommended: Check out our Hiring for your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.
FAQ: Hiring Employees
What is the minimum wage in Georgia?
The minimum wage in Georgia is $7.25 per hour.
How often do I need to pay employees in Georgia?
Georgia requires wages to be paid at least twice per month, except for when wages are paid to officials, superintendents, or other heads or sub-heads of departments, who can be paid less frequently, according to the Georgia Department of Labor Employer Handbook.
Accounting for your LLC
It’s critical to get your books in order — even if you haven’t officially opened for business. Hiring an accountant or professional accounting firm will help you:
- Avoid business tax errors and unnecessary liability.
- Gain peace of mind while the experts do the hard work.
- Focus simply on running and expanding your business.
We have thoroughly researched and assembled a list of the best accountants in your area because we can all appreciate some face-to-face interaction.
If you prefer to handle your business taxes on your own, a well-managed accounting system will help you:
- Track your business finances (i.e., bills, expenses, income, etc.).
- Simplify your annual tax filings.
You can maintain your accounting in two ways
- Use a DIY accounting software. This can come with an increased risk of errors especially when starting a new business.
- Hire an accounting service. They can provide comprehensive advice to help optimize your bookkeeping and taxes as well as additional services such as payroll etc.
Recommended: For most small businesses, we recommend using a reputable accounting service. Schedule a free tax consultation for your business now to avoid costly errors in the future.
Interfacing with Clients and Customers
In the day-to-day of running a business, it's hard to be readily available for new clients or customers who want to contact you. For service-based businesses that don’t already have a brick-and-mortar location, a virtual office can solve this problem. You can get a dedicated business mailing address and a business phone number with call-forwarding so that you never need to worry about losing a potential customer.
Recommended: Opus Virtual Office can set up your businesses with a live receptionist and all the perks of a virtual office for a great price of $99/month. Plus, as a visitor of HowToStartanLLC, you can save $200 today.
Women in Business Tools and Resources
If you have a woman-owned business, many resources are available to help you concentrate on your business’s growth:
- Funding - (ie. grants, investors, loans)
- Events - (ie. conferences, meetups)
- Guides - (ie. business formation, personal growth)
- Support - (ie. advice, communities, business strategies)
Our information and tools will provide educational sources, allow you to connect with other women entrepreneurs, and help you manage your business with ease.
TRUiC has created video guides to support and reinforce our on-page guides. These videos help to visualize the ideas and lessons that you need to know to create and run a successful business.
Check out our growing library of small business videos on the TRUiC YouTube channel.
Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. If you have an existing LLC and want to do business in Georgia, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail.
Register as a Foreign LLC in Georgia
File by Mail
Fee: $225 (Nonrefundable)
Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Georgia as a Certificate of Existence, verifies that your LLC was legally formed and has been properly maintained. Several instances where you might need to get one include:
- Seeking funding from banks or other lenders
- Forming your business as a foreign LLC in another state
- Obtaining or renewing specific Georgia business licenses or permits
You can order a Georgia LLC Certificate of Existence online.
Order a Certificate of Good Standing
Request a Certificate of Good Standing Online
Fee: $10 (Nonrefundable)
Dissolve Your LLC
If at any point in the future you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your Georgia LLC, there are two broad steps:
- Close your business tax accounts
- File the Articles of Dissolution
When you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Georgia LLC Dissolution Guide.