How to Form an LLC in Georgia

This guide for starting an LLC Georgia offers step-by-step instructions on how to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

Overview

The most widely used business structure is the LLC. They are cheap to create, allow for flexibility, and are easy-to-run. Legally forming an LLC establishes your company, reduces personal liability, and allows for tax flexibility. This guide will walk you through the process step by step.

Step-by-Step Georgia LLC Instructions

  1. Verify Name Availability

    Your LLC’s legal name must not conflict with any other registered names. Do a name search to find the availability of your preferred name.

    Name Search Georgia Secretary of States

    Name search

    Name Reservation Optional
    Suffix: 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.”

    O.C.G.A. SS14-11-207

  2. Designate a registered agent

    Before you file to register your Georgia LLC, you must decide who your Georgia registered agents will be. A registered agent is the business’s legal representative to receive legal notices, such as government or lawsuit notices.

    Each LLC must be registered by an agent according to state law. You must designate the registered agent when you file Georgia articles with the Georgia Secretary.

  3. Georgia Certificate of Formation

    For limited liability companies, you will need to file the articles.

    Agency: Georgia Secretary of States
    Form:
    TRANSMITTAL FORM GEORGIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
    Filing Method online or mail.
    Agency Fee $100
    Turnaround: ~5-12 business days
    Law:
    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.
    • Minutes from meetings
    • Operating agreement
    • EIN verification letter
    • Amendments to and other filings to the LLC during its lifetime

      Establish Company Records

      Your LLC must keep accurate and complete books. Your LLC’s initial documents are your filed articles. The LLC will also produce many other official records, such as:

  4. The Operating Agreement should be created

    The Operating Agreement, which is the governing document for your LLC, can be drawn (or used as a template). It outlines the procedures of how the LLC will be run, including holding an annual meeting. At your organization meeting, you will review the agreement and vote on it.

  5. The Organizational Meeting will be held

    The organizational meeting is the first meeting for members of the LLC. This meeting will require your operating agreement as well as your filed articles. Keep the minutes of the meeting in writing and place them in your company’s record book.

  6. Receive a Federal Employer Identification Number, (EIN).

    EINs are required for LLCs that have more than one member and those who hire employees. EINs are often required in order to open a bank account.

    Agency: Internal Revenue Service
    Form:
    IRS Form HTML4
    Filing Method Mail, phone or fax
    IRS fee $0
    Turnaround: You can order online immediately or by telephone. 4 business days by fax. 4-5 weeks by post
    Notes: The IRS website is not available after hours. Print your EIN before you close your session. For more guidance, refer to IRS Public 1635: Understanding your EIN.
  7. Georgia Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

    Georgia offers a single state tax registration application.

    Submit to:
    Georgia Department of Revenue

    http://dor.georgia.gov//

    Filing Method

    Online
    Fee:
    $0
  8. Consider Electing C-Corp Taxation / S-Corp Governance

    Your LLC is subject to pass-through taxes by default. Most LLCs retain this tax classification. Some LLCs may be eligible for C-Corp or S-Corp tax treatment.

    • S-Corp helps owner-employees with more than $75,000 per annum save on self-employment tax.
    • C-Corps are subject to double taxation. The corporation pays taxes on profits, and members pay taxes for distributions. C-Corps may offer low tax rates for retained earnings if profits exceed $250,000 per owner.
  9. Apply for Business Licenses & Permits

    Licenses and permits are required to legally run your business. You can search for your type of business and the location you live in using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit Look-up Tool. This will allow you to quickly navigate through the many federal, state, local, and international requirements.

    Georgia Business License

    NOT REQUIRED

    Georgia doesn’t require general business licensure at the State level.

    Georgia has a city level licensing process for businesses.

  10. For your LLC, you will need to continue filings

    You must file tax returns for both the federal and state levels.

    In many states, business entities must file an annual reporting to keep good standing with their secretary of state. For LLCs that were formed in Georgia, see the table below to find out if an annual report is required.

    Georgia Corporation Annual Report Requirements

    Agency: Georgia Secretary of States
    Form: The Annual Registration Form can be filed online, printed and mailed in. To print an AR form, log in and then find the Business Filing tab under the column titled Reports.
    Filing Method Mail or Online.
    Agency Fee $50 Online Filing Fee or $60 Paper Filing Fee
    Due: Annually, by April 1. You can file as early as January 1.
    Law: Georgia Code SS14-2-1622
    Penalties: $25 late fee, administrative dissolution.
    Notes:
    • Anyone who has authority may file.
    • Annual registration filings that were made before January 1st will not be accepted for the next annual period.
Note: To form an LLC in your state, you can do the filing paperwork yourself or hire an LLC formation service. The average state filing fee to form an LLC in the U.S. is around $100, but this varies by state.
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