How to Start an LLC in Georgia – Easy Steps

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Starting an LLC in Georgia requires essential steps to keep your business running. 

As an LLC is a way to legally structure a business, understanding how to start an LLC in Georgia should be one of your top priorities. 

LLC incorporates the limited liability of a corporation with the flexibility and lack of formalities given by a partnership or sole proprietorship. 

If you seek to limit your business liability for debts and lawsuits, you should consider forming an LLC.

This guide will show you in simple steps how to form an LLC in Georgia. 

How to Start An LLC in Georgia

Forming an LLC in Georgia requires filing a CD 030 – Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division, for costs of $100

This Article of Organization is the legal document that officially establishes your Georgia limited liability company. 

You also have reserved your name for up to 120 days by filing a Business or Corporation Name Reservation Application.

Steps on How To Start An LLC in Georgia

To start an LLC in Georgia, you have to: 

  • Choose Your LLC Business Name
  • Appoint a registered agent
  • File an Article of Organization 
  • Prepare an Operating Agreement
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number 
  • Acknowledge other requirements

Choose Your LLC Business Name

To choose a name for your business, it must be reserved with the Secretary of State before filing your LLC formation documents. 

The name must be automatically checked for availability. 

This can also be done online with a fee of $25 when you mail a name reservation request form for a domestic entity firm to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. 

Your business name must vary from other business names; you must search for proposed name availability at the Georgia Secretary of State. 

However, when choosing a business LLC’s name, it must contain the word line: Limited Liability Company, LLC; or L.L.C.

In addition, you must consider the following:

Follow the LLC Business naming guidelines:

  • Your business name must include ability company” or its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). 
  • Ensure that your name is distinguishable from any other Georgia limited liability company, corporation, limited partnership, or registered limited liability partnership business name. Ensure the name you desire isn’t already taken by doing a Business Entity Search on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
  • Ensure to Reserve the name once you find the availability: You must complete the Name Reservation Request for Domestic Entities form at least two weeks before registration or reserve your business name when completing the online LLC registration.
  • Consider if the URL is available: Check online to see if your business name is known as a web domain. If it is, you may want to buy the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.

Appoint a Registered Agent

All LLC businesses in Georgia must have a registered agent for service of process in the state. 

A registered agent is an individual or corporation that concedes to accept legal papers on the LLC’s behalf if someone sues the company. 

The agent agrees to accept the service of process on behalf of the limited liability company before designation. 

The registered agent can be anyone as long as they are: 

  • Individuals residing in Georgia
  • Georgia business entity,
  • An out-of-state business entity with an office in Georgia.
  • Have a physical street address in Georgia. 

File Article of Organization

Filing a Form CD 030 – Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division where the LLC’s initial registered office is located is required to create your LLC. 

The following information must be included in the Article of organization: 

Your LLC’s name

  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • Indication if the LLC is a series LLC, professional LLC, or non-profit LLC
  • The active date the LLC will begin
  • Signature of the organizer or attorney-in-fact.
  • A copy of the Name Reservation certificate from the Secretary of State must be attached.
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You can file it online with the State of Georgia for $100. 

Also, you can file Form CD 030 by Mail for $110 via:

Mailing Address:

Corporations Division 2

Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

SE, Suite 313 West Tower

Atlanta, GA 30334

Prepare an Operating Agreement

It is highly recommended to get an LLC operating agreement in Georgia. 

The operating agreement is an internal document that ascertains how you will run your LLC. 

It also sets out the treaties and duties of the members and managers, including how the LLC will be managed. 

Also, it can help protect your limited liability by showing that your LLC is a separate business entity.

However, the state law will govern your LLC’s operations without the operating agreement. 

Obtain Your Employer’s Identification Number (EIN)

An employer’s Identification Number is required if your LLC has more than one member.

As such, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). 

If your LLC is required to file a separate tax return, you must obtain an EIN.

You can do this by completing an online EIN application on the. 

Also, you can request an EIN via mail or fax for free.

Mail to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

What To Do After Forming an LLC in Georgia

Having learned how to start an LLC in Georgia, it is essential to protect your business.  

You can protect your business by taking some legal steps and separating your personal and business assets to avoid the risk that your LLC is sued. 

You can also follow these steps below to protect your LLC in Georgia:

Opening a Business Account

You may have to separate your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.

This also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you separate all business expenses for end-of-year tax purposes.

It also helps you build your business credit score, which is essential for getting a line of credit or business loan. 

In addition, it allows you to keep track of department expenses by issuing multiple cards to your employees.

Hire a Business Accountant

To prevent your business from overpaying on taxes while helping you avoid penalties, fines, and other costly tax errors, you may have to hire a business accountant. 

Doing this makes bookkeeping and payroll easier, giving you more time to focus on your growing business 

Furthermore, it helps you manage your business funding more effectively, discovering areas of unforeseen loss or extra profit

Get Your Business Insurance

Getting business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your LLC. 

The common types of business insurance are:

General Liability Insurance: This broad insurance policy protects your business from lawsuits. 

Professional Liability Insurance: This business insurance is for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) and covers malpractice claims and other business errors.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: This type provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths. In Georgia, businesses with one or more employees, excluding officers and LLC members, must have workers’ compensation insurance.

Create Your Business Website

To legitimize your business, you need to create a business website. 

Every business needs a website to avoid missing out on many potential customers and revenue.

Send Out a Press Release

To provide publicity, you need to do press releases to promote your business. 

This is because they are also one of the most cost-effective strategies to establish your brand presence on the web. 

Also, they provide publicity, improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), drive more customers to your website, and have long-lasting benefits.

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Keep Your Business Licenses and Permits

You must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations to operate your business in Georgia. 

You must obtain and keep your business licenses and permits from your state. 

For instance, for a restaurant’s LLC, you must obtain permits like; need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

However, the details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. 

The fees also vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.

Tax Filing Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to register for one or more forms of state tax.

You must register for sales tax if you sell a physical product; you’ll typically need to register for a seller’s permit online through the State of Georgia website.

Some of the tax filing requirements are: 

Georgia Sales Tax

This is required if you are selling a physical product.

You must register for a seller’s permit through the Georgia Department of Revenue Services.

Meanwhile, the certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.

Georgia Employee Tax

If you have employees in your LLC in  Georgia, you must register for Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Georgia Department of Labor Tax and Benefits System. 

Also, the Employee Withholding Tax with the Georgia Department of Revenue Services.

Georgia Gross Receipts Tax

This Georgia Gross Receipts Tax is evaluated on the total gross revenue of all businesses operating in the state. 

The actual gross receipts tax rate will depend on your type of business.

File An Annual Reports

After organizing your LLCs in Georgia, you must file an annual report with the State of Georgia Division of Corporations within six months of your LLC’s organization.

Every LLC registered in Georgia must file an annual yearly report before April 1st of each year.

The filing fee is $50 for Georgia LLCs.

You need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue if you will be selling goods and collecting sales tax or if you have a plan to have employees. 

The annual report must include the following: 

  • The LLC”s name and the state or country where it is registered. 
  • The address of the registered office of the LLC in Georgia.
  • The name of the registered agent at that address.
  • The address of its principal office in the state or country where it is organized for a foreign LLC. 
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s managers; or names and addresses of the LLC’s members.
  • The name and address of people owning at least a 5% interest in the LLC and the percentage of interest held by the people in the company

Note: Georgia assesses a $25 late fee if you miss your filing deadline. 

However, Georgia will dissolve your LLC within two years for failure to file an annual report.

Hiring Employees

If you plan to hire employees for your LLC in Georgia, you need to abide by the law and follow these steps:

You must: 

  • Verify that new employees have US work permits. 
  • Report employees as “new hires” to the State
  • Provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees
  • Withhold employee taxes
  • Print workplace compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your workspace

How to Start A Foreign LLC in Georgia

If you have an existing LLC and you want to extend the business to Georgia, you need to register as a foreign LLC. 

This is because 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 must register as a foreign LLC. This can be done online.

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You can do this by 

  • Fling online with the Georgia Secretary of State for a nonrefundable fee of $225.
  • Filing by Mail or In Person

File by Mail via

Mail to:

Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,

Suite 313 West Tower

Atlanta, GA 30334

How to Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Georgia

In Georgia, the certificate of good standing is also called the certificate of existence. 

With a certificate of good standing, your business is verified that it was legally formed and adequately maintained in Georgia. 

Meanwhile, you can order a Georgia LLC Certificate of Good Standing online for free. 

You might need to get your certificate of legal standing if: 

You will seek funding from banks or other lenders

You might form your business as a foreign LLC in another state

You will obtain or renew specific business licenses or permits

You can order a Certificate of Legal Existence online or by mail.

Online: Request a Certificate Online Through the Georgia Secretary of State.

Mail or person: Request a Certificate by Mail or In-Person. 

How To Order A Certificate Of Status

It is essential to request a Certificate of status by Mail from the Division of Corporations

This certificate costs $10, which is payable to the Secretary of State, and it is also nonrefundable. 

Conclusion

This guide on how to start an LLC in Georgia reveals all you need to know and put in place to form your LLC. 

You need to choose and reserve your business name following the tips above. 

You also need to file some documents like an operating agreement, file an annual report, a registered agent, and other requirements.

We wish you success as you form your LLC.

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