- Step 1. Naming Your Georgia LLC
- Step 2. Choosing a Registered Agent
- Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
- Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
- Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
- Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
- Georgia LLC Resources
- Georgia LLC FAQs
Step 1. Naming Your Georgia LLC
All LLCs in Georgia must have a legally designated name. As you go about choosing this name, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Legally Required Designation
According to Georgia requirements, your LLC name must be 80 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation, and contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the abbreviations below:
- Limited Company
Whichever name you choose for your LLC, it must be recognizably different from any other LLC registered in the state. You can perform a name search of available names using the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division website.
You may also want to search for an available domain name at the same time. Even if you don’t want a business website at first, purchasing a domain name in advance may save you from future stress.
If you want to reserve a name ahead of time, you can file a Name Reservation Request to hold a name for your LLC for up to 30 days ahead of the establishment. This form can be filed online for $25 or by mail for $35.
If filing by mail, send the form and a check for the $35 fee to the address below.
Office of Secretary of State
Corporations Division, Name Reservation Request
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
You should also be aware that there are several words that are completely restricted from using in your LLC’s name. These words are anything that can create a risk of your business being confused with a government entity. We share some examples of this below:
- State Department
Keep in mind that using words such as “bank,” “attorney,” or “university” may require additional paperwork for your LLC and possibly the presence of a properly licensed individual in your LLC.
Using an Assumed Name
It is possible to use an assumed or fictitious name when conducting business under your LLC. This is commonly referred to as a DBA (doing business as) name and is a great option if you registered your LLC under your personal name, but you want a more recognizable name for interacting with the public.
To establish your DBA name, you will need to register with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the area that your LLC is located. You can use the Georgia Clerks’ Cooperative Authority website to do a search of clerks by county and find out who you need to register with.
Step 2. Choosing a Registered Agent
Every LLC that is formed in Georgia must appoint a registered agent; your registered agent will be an individual or business entity that is ultimately responsible for accepting all legal notifications, tax documents, and government communications. They will be the contact point between your LLC and the state of Georgia or other federal agencies.
Any member of your LLC, including yourself, can be a registered agent, as can a registered agent service or any business entity that is authorized to conduct business in Georgia. Your registered agent will need to have a valid street address in Georgia and be available during regular business hours.
Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
Once you have your LLC name and a registered agent selected, you can file your Articles of Organization and officially establish your LLC. You must file with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division Corporations, and the filing fee is $100.
If you want to pay for expedited services, you can expect an additional $100 fee for a 2-day service, a $250 fee for same-day services, and a $1,000 fee for one-hour services. You can view the full expedited fee schedule for filing documents here.
When filing online, your Articles of Organization will need to include your LLC’s name and the signature of a member, organizer, or manager. You can your documents and pay the fee through the Georgia Corporations Division website.
You can expect a week’s turnaround time when filing online.
If you opt to file your Articles of Organization by mail, you will need to pay an additional $10 fee on top of the $100 filing fee. You will also need to file an additional Transmittal Information Form.
This form should include an email address for your LLC, your LLC’s official name and name reservation number (if applicable), the name and address for the person filing, the LLC’s principal office address, the name and address of the LLC’s registered agent, and the names and addresses of all LLC organizers.
Once completed, you should mail this form to the address below:
Corporations Division 2
Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
After you file by mail, you can expect it to take approximately 15 days before your documents are processed and the LLC established.
Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
It is not required for your LLC to have an operating agreement by the state of Georgia, but it is a good idea to create one for your business anyway. The operating agreement will establish clear guidelines for how your LLC is managed, the rights of the members, and what to do in the instances that the LLC is dissolved or sued. It can also help establish some additional protection of your personal liabilities.
If you choose not to create an operating agreement, keep in mind that Georgia LLC law will decide how your LLC is managed in the event of a conflict, lawsuit, or dissolution, and this might not always be in your best interests.
Keep your operating agreement on hand if you do create one, and treat it like the important business documents it is. You may also opt to give copies of it out to all of the managers or members of your LLC.
Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
As soon as your LLC has been legally established, you will need to apply for a Tax ID number, more commonly known as an EIN (Employer Identification Number), through the IRS. This number is required for all LLCs that are multi-member or for any single-member LLCs that choose to hire employees or will opt to have their business taxed as a corporation.
Your EIN is necessary to help the IRS identify your business on all tax documents and government filings, acting similarly to a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN to hire any employees, file federal or state taxes, or open business checking or credit accounts. It may also be required when applying for funding for your business.
It is completely free to file for your EIN through the IRS, and you can file the application either online or by mailing it in. It is important to note that if you do not have a social security number, you will need to apply for your EIN through the mail.
You can use the IRS website to file the EIN application for free. This method is the quickest and easiest way to file, as you will receive your number as soon as your application is completed.
If you choose to request your EIN by mail, you need to fill out this form. Leave section 7b blank if you are an international applicant or do not have a social security number. Mail the form to the address below, and if you have any concerns, you can follow up with the IRS by calling (267) 941-1099.
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
Even after your LLC has been legally established in Georgia, there are certain federal and state requirements that you need to keep up with to keep your business legally running.
Pay Annual Registration Fees
It is required by the state of Georgia for you to file an annual registration for your LLC. The initial registration will be due between January and April 1st of the year following your LLC’s establishment, with all subsequent registrations being due by April 1st.
There is a $50 filing fee associated with the annual registration, and you will need to file online through the Georgia Corporations Division website.
Separate Your Business Finances
It is not required that you have a separate business bank account for your LLC in Georgia, but you may want to open one anyway. A business bank or credit account can help keep your LLC’s finances and assets separate from your personal ones. This can be incredibly helpful in the case that your LLC is sued, as only your LLC’s finances will be liable.
Make sure to have your EIN on hand (if applicable) when opening a business bank account. You will also likely need your Articles of Organization and an Operating Agreement. Because different banks require different documents, you should check ahead of time what is needed to open up an account.
Keep in mind that you will need to choose an account that is suitable for your LLC and its needs; be aware of all minimum required balances or fees associated with the account to ensure it is the best one for you.
Keep up With Federal and State Taxes
When running your LLC, it is important that you keep on top of all state and federal tax requirements if you want your LLC to operate smoothly and legally.
Georgia State Business Taxes
There is no state business tax required for your LLC if you are being taxed as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, though you will need to pay state income tax. If you have elected for your LLC to be taxed as a corporation, you will need to file a separate corporate tax return and pay Georgia’s 6 percent flat tax fee on your annual income in addition to any income tax returns.
LLCs treated as corporations may also be required to pay a franchise tax depending on how much net worth and income your corporation has. You can read about these distinctions and register to pay taxes on the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website.
Georgia Sales Taxes
If your LLC plans to sell goods or services, you will be required to collect sales tax and then pay sales and use tax with the state of Georgia. You can register for this tax online and will receive a sales and use tax number and a Certification of Registration from the Department of Revenue. From there, you will file your sales tax returns with the Department on a regular basis.
State Employer Taxes
If your LLC will have employees, you are required to pay both withholding taxes and unemployment insurance (UI) taxes to the Georgia Department of Revenue. You must apply for a withholding tax number with the Department and will be required to pay your state employer taxes on a periodic basis: either weekly, monthly, or annually.
Both filing and paying can be done online through the Department of Revenue’s online portal.
Federal Tax Requirements
There are several different tax structures that you may opt to have once your LLC is established. You can read this article if you want an in-depth guide to the difference between each one.
In most cases, your LLC will be taxed as a sole proprietorship or a partnership and expected to file an individual tax return with the IRS that contains a Schedule C for reporting your LLC’s income. If you choose this tax structure, it is important to remember that you will most likely be expected to pay should self-employment tax at a rate of 15.3% in addition to any income tax.
You may even have to make quarterly tax payments to avoid IRS fines. You can find more information on this tax on the IRS website.
Corporate Tax Status
You can choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation instead, such as an S Corporation or a C Corporation. To declare this, you will need to fill out IRS Form 8832 to elect corporate status and IRS Form 2553 if you want to be treated as an S Corporation.
Once these forms have been processed, your LLC will be treated as a corporation and you will be expected to file a separate corporate tax return with the IRS annual and pay any associated taxes.
If you can’t decide between tax structures or need additional help understanding how you will be taxed, it is a good idea to hire a financial advisor or a professional accountant so that you don’t miss any federal or state requirements for your LLC.
Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses
There is no state-wide requirement for LLCs to acquire a business license, but there may local county or city requirements, in addition to requirements for certain professionals to obtain a business license.
You can check the Georgia First Stop Business Guide to find out if your LLC will need additional requirements based on the business type or location of the LLC.
Similarly, there may be additional federal permits or licenses required for your LLC depending on the type of business it is, and if it is something specialized, like health care or food service. You can find out more information regarding federal licensure requirements for your business type using the US Small Business Administration’s website.
Georgia LLC Resources
This collection of resources can provide an easy guide as you get started with officially establishing your Georgia LLC.
- Available business name search
- Available domain name search
- Name Reservation Request information
- Georgia Clerk’s Cooperative Authority search
- Expedited fee schedule
- Articles of Organization online file
- Articles of Organization form
- Transmittal Information Form
- IRS EIN online application
- Annual Registration online file
- Georgia Department of Revenue
- Employer Withholding Tax information
- IRS Self-Employment information
- IRS Form 8832 and IRS Form 2553 for LLC corporations declaration
- Georgia First Stop Business Guide
- US Small Business Administration
Georgia LLC FAQs
These frequently asked questions about starting an LLC in Georgia can help answer any of your lingering concerns when it comes to establishing your own business.
Setting up an LLC in Georgia will cost you $100 to file the Articles of Organization online, or $110 to file by mail. You may also pay an additional $25 for reserving an LLC name for up to 30 days before filing, and there may be additional fees for expedited document processing.
The cheapest way to start your Georgia LLC is to file the Articles of Organization online without reserving a name ahead of time or paying for expedited processing. Doing this will only cost you $100 to get the LLC up and running.
How much your Georgia LLC pays in taxes depends on the individual tax structure. Other factors that can affect how much your LLC will pay include if your LLC has employees, if you are required to pay sales and use taxes, or if your LLC will need to pay the state’s corporate franchise tax.
In Georgia, you will be required to file state reports annually. These are to help keep the state up to date on your LLC and its functioning. It costs $50 to file the annual report, and you can file it either by mail or online.
How long it may take to establish your Georgia LLC depends on if you file by mail or online. IF filling online, it can take up to a week to process everything. If you choose to file by mail, you could be waiting up to 15 days for your LLC to be established.
If you pay for expedited processing of your documents, you could have your LLC established in as little as 2 to 3 days
Once you are finished conducting business under your Georgia LLC, you will need to file a Statement of Commencing of Winding Up with the Georgia Secretary of State. There is a $10 filing fee for mailing this form in, or you can file for free online.
You will also need to check your operating agreement for the agreed-upon terms that become active once you decide to dissolve your LLC.