Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Georgia is an easy process, but it involves a few steps.
Start an Georgia LLC for $0 + state fee
To form an LLC in Georgia for free + state fee, we have listed 3 options to consider:
You can go online and visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website and do it yourself or you can use the ‘free’ service from Incfile or ZenBusiness.
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Forming an LLC in Georgia for $0 (DIY Summary)
Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to help you through the DIY process, along with relevant links to official resources:
Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC
The first step in forming an LLC in Georgia is choosing a unique name for your business. Make sure the name you select is not already in use by another business entity in the state.
You can check the availability of your desired name by conducting a search on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent
Every LLC in Georgia is required to have a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of the LLC.
The registered agent must have a physical address in Georgia and be available during regular business hours.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization
To formally create your LLC, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State.
The articles should include essential information about your LLC, such as the name, address, purpose, and the name and address of the registered agent.
You can file the articles online or by mail along with the required filing fee.
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Although not legally required in Georgia, it is highly recommended to create an operating agreement for your LLC.
This document outlines the internal rules and regulations of your business, including ownership interests, profit and loss allocation, management structure, and voting rights.
It helps establish clear guidelines and prevents potential conflicts among LLC members.
Step 5: Obtain the Necessary Permits and Licenses
Depending on the nature of your LLC’s business activities, you may need to obtain specific permits and licenses from state and local authorities.
Research the requirements for your industry and comply with all necessary regulations to ensure your LLC operates legally and avoids any penalties or fines.
Step 6: File Annual Reports
After forming your LLC, you must file an Annual Report with the Georgia Secretary of State each year.
The report includes updated information about your LLC, such as its address, registered agent, and members or managers.
Filing the report is important to maintain your LLC’s active status and to stay in compliance with state regulations.
Georgia Business Tips
Forming an LLC in Georgia involves several key steps and considerations. To begin, you must complete the necessary paperwork and filings to form an LLC in Georgia.
Conducting a thorough Georgia LLC name search is crucial to ensure that your desired business name is available and meets the state’s requirements. Additionally, drafting a Georgia LLC operating agreement is essential as it outlines the internal management structure and operational guidelines for your LLC.
While you have the option to be your own registered agent in Georgia, many entrepreneurs opt to enlist the services of professional registered agents for their expertise and convenience. The length of time it takes to get an LLC in Georgia can vary depending on various factors such as processing times and the complexity of your application.
Alongside the formation process, you’ll need to obtain a Georgia Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, which is necessary for tax purposes. To streamline the process and ensure compliance, it is advisable to seek the assistance of the best LLC services in Georgia and the best registered agents in Georgia, who can guide you through the process and handle the necessary documentation.
Moreover, it’s essential to consider any required business licenses in Georgia specific to your industry and location. Understanding the associated costs to form an LLC in Georgia is crucial, as it includes filing fees and potentially additional expenses based on the services you require.
Lastly, if you ever need to change your Georgia registered agent or dissolve an LLC in Georgia, it’s important to follow the state’s dissolution procedures to conclude your business operations effectively.
Georgia LLC: Definitions
- Georgia Secretary of State: The government office responsible for overseeing business registrations and maintaining records of companies in Georgia.
- Business entity: An organization or entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities.
- Corporation: A legal entity separate from its owners, offering limited liability protection and distinct legal rights.
- Partnership: A business structure where two or more individuals or entities share ownership, responsibilities, and profits.
- Registered agent: A person or entity designated to receive legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of a business.
- Legal documents: Written agreements, contracts, or records that have legal significance and enforceability.
- Official correspondence: Communications, letters, or notices sent by government agencies or authorized entities.
- Articles of Organization: A legal document filed with the Secretary of State to create an LLC, outlining key details such as the name, address, and purpose of the business.
- Filing fee: A payment required to submit documents to the appropriate government agency.
- Operating Agreement: A contract that outlines the internal operations, ownership, and management structure of an LLC.
- Ownership interests: The percentage or share of ownership that individuals or entities hold in an LLC.
- Profit and loss allocation: The distribution of profits and losses among LLC members as defined in the operating agreement.
- Management structure: The hierarchy and arrangement of decision-making roles and responsibilities within an organization.
- Voting rights: The ability of LLC members to cast votes on specific matters related to the company’s operations and decision-making.
- Permits and licenses: Official authorizations granted by government authorities that allow businesses to engage in specific activities or industries.
- State and local authorities: Government bodies and agencies at the state and local level responsible for regulating businesses and enforcing laws.
- Industry regulations: Rules, laws, and guidelines specific to a particular industry or sector that businesses must comply with.
- Penalties and fines: Punishments or monetary charges imposed for violating laws or regulations.
- Annual Reports: Periodic filings that provide updated information about the LLC’s status, address, registered agent, and members or managers.
- Active status: The legal standing of an LLC, indicating that it is compliant with the state’s requirements and authorized to conduct business.
- Compliance: The act of adhering to legal requirements, regulations, and guidelines set forth by governing bodies.
- Business attorney: A lawyer specializing in business law who provides legal advice and guidance on matters related to starting and operating a business.
- Online services: Internet-based platforms or tools that offer assistance, information, and resources for business formation and management.
- Business structure: The legal framework or organization chosen to conduct business operations, such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership.
- Flexibility: The ability of an LLC to adapt and adjust its operations and structure to meet the changing needs and circumstances of the business.
- Simplified business formation: The ease and straightforwardness of setting up an LLC, which generally requires fewer formalities and paperwork compared to other business structures.
Learn how to form an LLC in Georgia with our Forming an LLC in Georgia guide. Get all the info you need to create a limited liability company online in Georgia.
It’s no surprise that the Peach State is open to business, thanks to its thriving economy and vibrant people.
If you want to use an LLC formation service, visit our list of the best LLC services in Georgia.
Forming an LLC in Georgia – Overview
LLC Georgia – To create an LLC in Georgia, you’ll need to file Form CD 030 – 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.
This page will provide you with all the necessary steps to do a Georgia entity name search, draft a Georgia LLC operating agreement, and answer questions like, can I be my own registered agent in Georgia? and how long does it take to get a Georgia LLC? and ensure your Georgia LLC is properly formed.
Creating an LLC in Georgia could open up many opportunities. You will need to follow these steps in order to create an LLC for Georgia.
These steps will help you avoid costly fines and delays while allowing you to enjoy an LLC’s tax and liability benefits.
How to register and form an LLC in Georgia
New construction and growth are all around Atlanta, whether you’re driving through the suburbs or walking around Piedmont Park. It’s the same across Georgia.
All Georgia limited-liability companies can be formed by filing a GA LLC application with the Georgia Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
Follow these five steps to set up your Georgia limited liability company. It’s essential to correctly submit your information online, from naming your LLC to filing paperwork.
This will make it much easier to get an LLC in Georgia.
To create your LLC, you must register the business in Georgia. This will make your company public.
This information is required for the state’s communication with your limited liability company and its regulation.
You will need to select a registered agent. Your Georgia registered agent will receive legal notices from the state.
You’ll need to verify that you have filed all required paperwork. You’ll need to, for example, draft an operating agreement and obtain an EIN.
Note: This guide will show you how to create a domestic LLC in Georgia. A domestic LLC is one that was established in the state where you reside. A foreign LLC is an LLC that was established in another state. You must follow a different procedure to register a foreign LLC.
Georgia Business Resources
Step 1: Name your Georgia LLC
Georgia Secretary of States
It must contain the words “limited liability corporation” or “limited company”. (It being allowed to abbreviate both the word “limited”, as “ltd.,” and the word company, as “co.”) Or the abbreviation L.L.C. “, “LLC”, “L.C.” “, “LLC”, or L.C.”
Name your LLC as the first step. Congrats! It is the most exciting step in starting a business. There are many things to consider, but choosing a name is the most important.
Start by being creative when naming your LLC. Names are the first impression potential customers will get of you. It should reflect you and your business, both now and in the future. Make a list of the names you like. Then, you can start to get into Georgia’s details and naming rules.
You can avoid any unforeseeable problems by reading Georgia’s name availability standards, and doing a search for Georgia businesses. You can file your LLC paperwork if you are confident that your research is correct. You can also pay $25 to reserve your name for a period of up to 30 days if you are not ready to file.
LLC Georgia: Name Requirements
Before submitting your name, you should know the Georgia business naming laws. The name of your limited liability company (LLC) must be distinct from any other LLCs, corporations, or limited partnerships (LPs) that have been filed with the Secretary.
What makes a name distinct? The Secretary of State for Georgia will make this determination. Here’s a list that is NOT distinguishable.
- Adding “a”, “an”, or “the” after a name: If a name already exists, you can’t call yours “Flower Store LLC.”
- Abbreviations You can’t call your LLC “Georgia Consulting Firm”, if “Ga. There is a Consulting Firm.
- Phonetic Spellings “Grillz LLC”, is not distinct from “Grills LLC”.
- Punctuation “A.B.C., LLC”, is not to be distinguished from “ABC, LLC”.
- Plural: Plural forms are not distinguished when it comes down to naming your LLC.
- Substitution: An suffix to the same word of another LLC’s name does not count as distinguishable.
These are some of the considerations when you write your name.
Will my LLC file be rejected due to the name I chose?
Yes, it can be. LLC submissions are often denied for not complying with Georgia’s naming standards.
Restricted LLC names in Georgia
Certain words cannot be used to describe your LLC without submitting a letter from the agency. These are:
- Insurance terms: To use the words insurance or assurance, surety, fidelity, reinsurance, or reassurance, you need to get approval from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
- Banking terms: You must have the written approval of the Department of Banking and Finance before you use the words bank or banc, banquet, banker, banker, bank house, trust, credit union bankruptcy, or trust company.
- Education words: The words “college” and “university” require written approval from the Georgia Nonpublic Secondary Education Commission.
These words are important to remember when creating a business name.
What happens if my business name is not yet registered?
Do you have the perfect name? You can reserve your business name now even if you aren’t ready to create an LLC.
Georgia’s Secretary of State office allows you to reserve a name for your business. For a maximum of 30 days, you can submit three preference names (in the event that the first is not available).
Our business name reservation system can help you avoid the state. We will handle your filing and stop others from registering your name.
Georgia LLC Registration Information: More Information about Naming Your Business
Do you have questions about Georgia’s naming regulations? Call them at (404-656-2817. They will ensure that your name conforms to the state’s requirements.
Additional Naming Considerations
- Registering a Domain Name: We assume that you will want a website to promote your business. A Georgia limited liability company will need an online presence. When choosing a name, keep in mind your website’s URL (domain name). If your first choice of name is already used on a website, you might consider switching to your second choice.
- Trademarking Your Georgia LLC Name: You also need to verify trademarks at both the state and federal levels. To check if your business name has been trademarked by someone else, go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. You can search the Georgia Secretary-of-State website for Georgia trademarks.
- Filing to a DBA Name.DBA (or “doing business under” names) are names that your business can use in addition to your legal business name. DBAs in Georgia are also known as “trade names”.
Step 2: Appoint a Georgia Registered Agent
Elect a registered representative in Georgia. What is a registered agent? Your LLC designates your registered agent to receive official documents, communications, and service of process.
The state views the registered agent as the official mailbox of your LLC. To be able to accept legal notices personally, they must be at their address during normal business hours.
What happens if my Georgia registered agent isn’t available or found?
If the state doesn’t reach you, you could face consequences. You could miss important information if you are not present during business hours or on vacation while serving as your own registered agent.
You may also experience this if your registered agent leaves or moves and you forget to update the paperwork with the state.
Failure to register an agent can result in you not being notified of any litigation. A court case could move forward without your knowledge.
Direct mail may not be returned to you, which could lead to fines. Reliable registered agent services can help you avoid potential issues.
Who is a Georgia registered agent?
The registered agent must be the person or company who acts as the point of contact for your LLC.
Georgia registered agents may also be:
- A person: This individual must be at least 18 years old and have a Georgia street address. You must also locate the person at this address.
- Another company. Registered agent service companies can act as your registered agents. As long as the company you are a domestic corporation, another LLC or foreign corporation that has been granted a certificate of authority to transact in Georgia, they can serve as your registered agent.
Georgia doesn’t allow you to use a mail drop or post office box as your registered agent’s residence.
Many LLC owners depend on registered agent services due to the nature of their role. Your registered agent, for example, is the person who will serve papers in the event of a lawsuit against your company. A registered agent can be an owner, shareholder, employee or member of the LLC.
Step 3: Fill out your Georgia Articles of Organization
|Agency:||Georgia Secretary of States|
TRANSMITTAL FORM GEORGIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
|Filing Method||online or mail.|
|Turnaround:||~5-12 business days|
Official Code of Georgia Annotated. – Title 14 – Corporations, Partnerships, and Associations. – Chapter 11 – Limited Liability Companies
|Notes:||For filing by mail, send GA Transmittal Form 231 with the original and one copy each of the articles and $100 fee.|
Now you’re ready to file your Articles of Organization with Georgia. Congratulations! Now it’s time for you to file your Articles of Organization. After your Articles have been submitted and approved by the state, you will be officially a Georgia LLC.
To form a new LLC, you will need to submit Articles Of Organization.
How do they get filed? You can submit the information for your LLC online to the Secretary of State’s website.
Online filings are free, but physical filings will cost you $100. You can register for Georgia business if you already have a business in Georgia.
Also, you will need to create an account and select “create or Register a Business.”
Register LLC Georgia: What to Do with Your Articles of Organization
Be sure to get the following information before you file your Articles of Organization:
- Name of your LLC (or valid number reservation number if it’s already been reserved).
- Your name and address
- A valid email address
- Mailing address at the principal office
- Name and address for your registered agent
- Name and address for each organizer.
- Optional: Any provisions that you might need to add to your Articles of Organization
- You’ll need a credit card to register your Georgia LLC.
The $100 initial filing fee can be paid online using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express card.
Step-by-step instructions on how you can file your Articles of Organization for Georgia. These instructions will provide more information about this step. The most important step is filling out the Georgia LLC application.
Georgia LLC Changes
What happens if the circumstances change? Don’t worry. It is not necessary to file your Articles of Organization twice.
You will need to file Georgia Articles of Amendment to make any other changes to your Articles of Organization.
Compliance can be stressful. Many customers trust us to keep them compliant.
What is the processing time for my Articles of Organization?
Online filings will be processed in the same order they were received. However, expedited filings may be available.
Standard processing times take seven business days. You can request expedited filings for an additional fee by requesting two business days processing or same-day processing.
It’s time for celebrations once your Articles of Organization have been filed and approved. Congratulations! You have now officially created an LLC in Georgia.
Georgia has recognized your LLC as a business entity. There are still a few steps to go, but this is a significant moment. You might be able to celebrate at the Sun Dial or at the Varsity with a delicious dinner.
Do I have to submit an annual report?
After your Articles of Organization have been approved and you’ve had a celebratory meal, mark your calendar to submit the annual registration. In other states, this is known as an annual report.
Annual registrations for Georgia must be filed with Secretary of State between January 1, and April 1, of each calendar year after your LLC is established. These reports (or amended annual registers) can address changes such as the registered agent’s change or the principal office address. Not submitting one every year can result in your LLC being dissolution.
Step 4: Make a Georgia LLC operating agreement
Make an LLC operating agreement for your Georgia LLC. Although operating agreements for limited liability companies in Georgia are not required, it is a good idea to have one.
An operating agreement covers important details such as the rules your company will follow and how finances will be managed, the business structure and how decisions will take place.
What should your Georgia operating agreement include?
These are some things you might want to include in an operating agreement.
- LLC details This includes the name of your company, members, registered agent and any other important information.
- Profit distribution Clearly explains the process of distributing profits to members of your LLC, especially if there are multiple owners. How are they distributed? Is it evenly distributed based on ownership percentages or something entirely different?
- Dissolution Although this is a common detail, it’s important to remember. How will assets and liabilities be divided in the event of a business’s dissolution? How will this happen?
- Member responsibilities You need to clearly state who is responsible for day-to-day operations.
These are the major components. You can add any details that you feel are important.
Do I have to sign an operating agreement if my only owner is me?
For a single-member LLC, you might not think that an operating agreement is necessary. Your operating agreement may be required by potential investors and future business partners.
Some banks won’t allow you to open a bank account for your business without one. You can also write down what happens to your business in the event of your death.
Sometimes, an LLC owner will be taken to court by someone trying to prove that they are one entity. This allows them to pursue the owner’s personal assets. An LLC operating agreement is a way to show the court that the LLC owner and LLC are distinct if that happens.
Are all members required to sign the agreement?
All parties should sign the agreement if you are creating an LLC together with other owners (members). This is the formalization of their agreement to the terms. Some LLCs in Georgia have their operating agreements notarized.
Template for Operating Agreement: LLC Georgia
Georgia does not require LLC operating agreements. There is no form you need to fill out and submit to the Georgia Secretary of State.
What are the advantages of an operating agreement?
Are you still not convinced that an operating agreement is necessary for your LLC’s success? Here are some benefits to having an operating agreement.
- It contains the rules of your LLC. This is important for LLC members and can help to avoid default rules from the state.
- Written agreements will outline how disputes will be dealt with. Although you may not need them, it is better to have them clearly written.
- This document outlines the company’s structure. This document is useful if you need to give information to investors or other parties. Before granting credit or loans, some banks and lenders want to see the agreement.
- Additional asset protection. Clarify which assets belong to the business and which are personal. This will add an additional layer of protection against legal issues that may arise in your business or for you.
Step 5: Apply to an EIN
Register your LLC at the federal government using an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
EINs are useful for many reasons. However, in Georgia, they are required to register your company with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Federal Tax Identification Numbers (EINs) are also known as EINs. These are nine-digit numbers that are assigned to LLCs by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
This number acts as your company’s Social Security Number. While you can get your EIN from the IRS website, LLC services can help you get an EIN.
EINs are required to open bank accounts for businesses and hire employees. They are essential for tax purposes in Georgia.
LLC Georgia – Registering for State Taxes
If a new LLC is formed, it must register with the Department of Revenue. Register on Georgia.gov’s Georgia Tax Center website.
The registration process will allow you to register your LLC for different state-specific taxes.
- Corporation income tax
- Sales and Use Tax
- Tax on transportation services
- There are many other options.
The Department of Revenue in Georgia does not pay unemployment insurance taxes. Register for this tax with the Department of Labor.
Register with the Department of Revenue
To register your LLC with the state, you will need to have an EIN. You’ll also need the following items:
- Name for your company
- Date of the first Georgian sale
- Name and contact information for the officers/members of your LLC
- Mailing address for businesses
Once everything is done online, you will need to file your taxes monthly (or quarterly) depending on your particular situation.
Formation of an LLC in Georgia: Federal Tax Considerations
LLCs offer the advantage of not being subject to double taxation. The LLC pays no federal income taxes and instead passes the income directly on to its owners.
Each business owner then pays taxes as regular income on their earnings. This is a difference from most corporations where profits are taxed at both the individual shareholder and business levels.
Federal taxes are administered by the IRS based on each member’s share of an LLC. If you own 50% or more of an LLC, and you are entitled to 50% of its profits, the IRS will tax 50% of your LLC earnings.
Members may be required to pay self-employment tax to the IRS to compensate for the fact they don’t have an employer withholding taxes such as Social Security or Medicare from their paychecks.
An LLC structure can help business owners save significant money when compared to traditional C corporations.
However, LLCs have the option to elect to be taxed like a corporation if they so desire. This can expose owners to double taxation but can still benefit certain LLCs.
Some LLCs choose to be taxed under the S corp (Scorp) classification. Although the S corp classification is subject to more scrutiny by the IRS, it can help members save a lot of self-employment taxes. You are not subject to double taxation if you’re a C-corporation.
The IRS is ultimately responsible for federal business taxes. They collect corporate taxes such as self-employment tax, federal corporate income tax, and corporate tax. Contact the IRS for specific questions about federal taxes.
Next steps for forming an LLC in Georgia
Your LLC registration is nearing its end. These are the last things to keep in mind.
Opening a bank account for your business
After you have obtained an EIN, you can open a company account. It is important to separate your personal and company banking in order to tax-freely separate your business and personal finances.
Georgia LLC – FAQs
What is the cost of starting an LLC in Georgia?
Online filings are $100 for the Georgia Secretary of State, while mail forms will cost $110.
Is there an annual fee for LLCs in Georgia?
Each year, LLCs must file an Annual Report and pay $50 annually.
What is the average time it takes to create an LLC in Georgia?
An LLC approval in Georgia takes approximately 7-10 business days. It can take 2-3 weeks to approve mailed-in or online filings.
However, an expedited processing option is available for an additional fee.
How do I check if my Georgia LLC name is still available?
Search the Georgia Secretary Of State name directory to find available Georgia LLC names.
Is a registered agent required for an LLC in Georgia?
Each LLC in Georgia must be represented by a registered agent under Georgia law.
Anybody can be a Registered Agent provided they are at minimum 18 years of age, live in the state and are available during business hours to receive documents.
Is a Georgia business license required for an LLC?
Sometimes it is believed that an LLC and a business license are one and the same in Georgia.
However, they are not. The business entity is also known as an LLC. It is the way the business is organized in order to do business. A business license allows you to legally operate.
What is a Foreign Limited Liability Company (FLLC)?
An LLC that is operating in other states than the one where it was founded. Being physically operational means that the LLC has a physical presence, such as an office or employee.
Each state where the LLC plans to operate will require it to register as an LLC foreign.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org