Last Updated: May 21, 2024, 7:50 am by TRUiC Team

How to Start a Corporation in Georgia

Starting a Georgia corporation can be a great choice if you are interested in attracting private investors or venture capitalists.

In order to get started, you will need to appoint a registered agent, hold an organizational meeting (where you create your corporate bylaws and appoint your initial directors), and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Georgia Corporations Division.

We’ll show you how to start a corporation in Georgia yourself.

Or, simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five Northwest ($29 + state fee)

Learn how to start a Georgia corporation

It's Easy to Incorporate in Georgia

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Step 1Name Your Georgia Corporation
Step 2Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5File a Notice of Incorporation
Step 6Get an EIN

For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.

Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.

Step 1: Name Your Georgia Corporation

Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation.

1. Georgia naming guidelines:

  • Your name must contain one of the following words or abbreviations: corporation, incorporated, company, limited, corp., inc., co., ltd., or words or abbreviations of like meaning in another language.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from all other entities on file with the Georgia Secretary of State.
  • Your name cannot contain language implying that the corporation is organized for an unlawful purpose or one not stated in its articles of incorporation; it also cannot include anything the Secretary of State determines is obscene.
  • Your name cannot exceed 80 characters.
  • You need approval from the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner to use the following words: insurance, assurance, surety, fidelity, reinsurance, reassurance, or indemnity.
  • You need approval from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance to use the following words: bank, banc, banque, banker, banking company, banking house, bancorp, bankruptcy, credit union, savings & loan, trust, or trust company.
  • You need approval from the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission to use the words “college” or “university.”

You can read more about corporation naming guidelines on the Georgia Secretary of State website. You can also read the Georgia state statute covering corporation names for more information.

2. Is my corporation name available in Georgia?

Your Georgia corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Georgia. Use the Georgia Secretary of State’s Business Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.

3. Is the URL available?

Before registering your Georgia corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.

Find a Domain Now

Step 2: Choose a Georgia Registered Agent

You must appoint a Georgia resident agent, also known as a registered agent, when registering a corporation with the Secretary of State Corporations Division.

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.

Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Georgia resident agent as long as the person:

  • is 18 years or older
  • has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
  • is available (in person) during normal business hours
How to Start an LLC Tip Icon

Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + state fees).

Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting

Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:

  • Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
  • Create and approve bylaws
  • Select your initial director(s)
  • Determine your share structure
  • Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.

Appoint Initial Directors

You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Georgia corporation until the first shareholder meeting.

A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.

After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers. 

Choose a Share Structure and Strategy

A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation. 

Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.

How to Start an LLC Tip Icon

Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.

Because Georgia corporations must draft their own Articles of Incorporation, you must indicate if your corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series.

Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book.

This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.

Step 4: File the Georgia Articles of Incorporation

You will need to file the Georgia Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Georgia. You can file it online, by mail, or in person with the Georgia Office of Secretary of State. The filing fee is $100 for online filings and $110 for mail or in person filings.

Georgia does NOT provide a fillable form for the Articles of Incorporation. You will instead need to draft them yourself. This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:

  • Corporate name and principal address
  • Corporate registered agent name and street address
  • The number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
  • Incorporator name(s) and address(es)

Because Georgia corporations must draft their own Articles of Incorporation, you must indicate if your corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series.

File the Georgia Articles of Incorporation

Option 1: File Online With the Georgia Corporations Division

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Articles of Incorporation by Mail or In Person

Download Form

Filing Cost: $100 online; $110 via hard copy

Filing Address:
Office of Secretary of State
Corporations Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Note: When filing by mail, you must also submit a Transmittal Information Form

Step 5: File a Notice of Incorporation

All Georgia corporations must publish a Notice of Intent to Incorporate in a newspaper of record in the county where the initial registered office of the corporation is to be located. You must send the Notice of Intent to Incorporate to the newspaper no later than the next business day after filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $40.

Step 6: Get an EIN for Your Georgia Corporation

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company. An EIN is needed:

  • To open a bank account for the company
  • For Federal and State tax purposes
  • To hire employees

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Running Your Corporation

It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more. 

Taxes, Annual Registration, & Licensing

Georgia State Corporation Tax 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’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Georgia Tax Center’s website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.

Georgia Employer Taxes

If you hire employees, you will need to register for Georgia employer taxes through the Georgia Department of Revenue's website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.

Georgia Corporation Licenses and Permits

To operate your corporation in Georgia, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Learn more in our Georgia Business License guide.

File the Georgia Annual Registration

You must file the Georgia Annual Registration through the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division website each year between Jan. 1 and April 1.

If you are up to date on all your fees and have no changes to declare, you can complete the annual registration without logging in, but if you owe fees or have changes to declare, you will have to log in with your corporation’s account.

Corporate Dissolution & Georgia Good Standing

How to Get a Georgia Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Georgia as a Certificate of Existence, verifies that your Georgia corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.

To request a Certificate of Existence in Georgia, you must use the Georgia Corporations Division’s website. On the main page, click on “Certificate of Existence” and then follow the prompts. The fee is $10.

Request a Georgia Certificate of Existence

Request a Certificate Online With the Corporations Division

Request Online

Fee: $10

How to Dissolve a Corporation in Georgia

If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble. 

There are five main steps to close your Georgia corporation:

  • Stop doing business
  • Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, record the meeting in the corporation minutes
  • File the Notice of Intent to Dissolve (if your corporation has already issued shares or commenced business) and the Articles of Dissolution with the Georgia Office of Secretary of State
  • Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue
  • Close your business bank accounts

File Dissolution Documents

There are two options for filing dissolution documents for a Georgia corporation: dissolution for corporations that already issued shares and commenced business and dissolution for corporations that have not. You can file these documents by mail or online.

Dissolution for Corporations That Already Issued Shares and Commenced Business
If your corporation already issued shares and commenced business, you must file the Notice of Intent to Dissolve (Form CD 410) and the Articles of Dissolution (Form CD 412). If you file these as paper copies, there is a $10 fee for each. There is no fee for filing online, but you will need an account to log in.

Dissolution for Corporations That Have Yet to Issue Shares and Commence Business
If your corporation has not yet issued shares or commenced business, you must file the Articles of Dissolution (Form CD 400). There is a $10 fee for filing a paper copy. There is no fee for filing online, but you will need an account to log in.

Is a Corporation Right For You?

An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.

LLC vs. Corporation | Form an LLC

Steps After Forming a Corporation

After forming a corporation you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets, and build credit.

Taking these steps will set your business up for success:

Form a Corporation with Northwest for $29 Plus State Fees

Georgia Corporation FAQ

How much it will cost you to start a corporation in Georgia will depend on your:

  • Filing cost: $100 online and $110 via mail 
  • Registered agent: Can be yourself, a partner, or a registered agent service. 
  • File a notice of Incorporation: $40 filing fee plus the cost of publishing

Therefore, incorporating in Georgia will cost you at least $140.

Check out our How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost article for more information. 

For one, a corporation is subject to significantly more rigmarole when getting started, and needs to comply with several management-based requirements (e.g., record meeting minutes, etc.). 

Moreover, LLCs are “pass-through” entities, meaning that they are taxed identically with sole proprietorships and general partnerships, whereas corporations pay corporation taxes.  

For more information, we recommend having a look at our LLC vs Corporation article.

Most certificates of incorporation will be sent to applicants around 15 business days after they are approved for filing (if done by mail or in-person), and five to seven business days if done online.

Having said that, workload issues can sometimes result in significantly longer turnaround times. 

We recommend having a look at the Secretary of State’s Register a Corporation page for more information.

Starting a corporation in Georgia is more complicated than starting other incorporated business entities (e.g., LLCs, etc.). Having said that, it is manageable, and can be done by:

  • Finding a legally-compliant business name
  • Choosing a registered agent 
  • Holding an organizational meeting
  • Filing the Articles of Incorporation
  • Filing a Notice of Incorporation 
  • Getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

See our What is a Corporation article for more information. 

Even though it is difficult to state whether forming an LLC is “easier”, starting and maintaining a corporation is arguably a lot more complicated than an LLC. 

This is because corporations are subject to significantly more scrutiny, and are required to comply with several management-related regulations.

For more information, see our How to Run a Corporation article. 

Georgia Corporation Quick Links

Georgia SOS Corporation Forms

Georgia Online Business Filing

Georgia SOS Business FAQ

Georgia Corporation Statutes