If you plan on forming a corporation in Georgia, you’ll need to follow the proper steps. One of the most important steps is to file Georgia Articles of Incorporation. Once approved, these documents make the corporation official. The formation of your business can’t be considered complete until it’s filed with and accepted by the Georgia Secretary of State.
These articles will need to be approved by the state and must be filled out and filed following the guidelines of statute OCGA 14-2-202. All information in the articles is available to the public. Follow these steps to complete and file them with the state. If you need to know more about creating a corporation, be sure to reach out to ZenBusiness.
How to Create Articles of Incorporation
When you’re creating your Articles of Incorporation you’ll need to make sure they include certain information. This information must be filled out and provided to the state before the corporation can be approved. Be sure to include the following in your Articles of Incorporation. Unlike most states, Georgia does not have an Articles of Incorporation form to fill out for the mailed version, so you must draft your own on 8.5-by-11-inch white paper.
You’ll need to choose a name for your corporation. It will have to be something that another Georgia business isn’t using, and it should be relevant to your industry. Do a search for the name you have in mind on the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division website before you file your articles to see if it’s in use. You can reserve a name in advance if needed. If you need help, consider using ZenBusiness’s name reservation services.
When creating your corporation, you’ll need to decide how many shares of it to issue. This should be the maximum number of shares the corporation can issue without amending its articles. The number can’t be zero.
Registered Agent and Registered Agent Address
You must declare a registered agent in your Articles of Incorporation. A registered agent must have a physical address in the state and always be available during regular business hours. They are there to accept legal documents such as subpoenas and receive correspondence from the Secretary of State. You’ll need to include the legal name, address, and phone number of the registered agent as well as their business address. You can choose to be your own registered agent or appoint someone else, but this can be a burden considering that the agent has to remain available during all regular business hours. You can instead use a commercial registered agent through ZenBusiness’s Registered Agent Services.
This is the person who is responsible for executing the Articles of Incorporation. The incorporator will sign and file the articles with the Secretary of State. You may choose one or more incorporators. Each incorporator will need to sign, date, state their title or position, and provide their address on the Articles of Incorporation.
You need to list the business address of the corporation.
Include Supplemental Forms
There are supplemental forms you may need to file with the Articles of Incorporation. These forms include Transmittal Form 227, which is a cover letter for your articles. It will need to include an email address for contact purposes and should be included with any submissions you mail or hand-deliver. The supplemental form package should include the original signed Articles of Incorporation, a copy of the articles, and filing fees. Payment should be made out to the George Secretary of State. These forms can be filed online, faxed, taken in person, or sent via mail.
How to Submit the Form
Once the forms are complete, you’ll need to submit the Articles of Incorporation to the Georgia Secretary of State. There are a few different ways you can do this. You can choose to send the Articles by mail or hand-deliver them. This can have a longer turnaround time with an average of five to seven days. In some cases, it can take up to 12 days. There’s a fee associated with mailed or hand-delivered articles. Any articles not submitted online should include a Transmittal Information Form mailed or delivered to the correct address.
You can also choose to fax in your articles or submit them online, which can speed up the process by a few days. If you’re submitting the forms online, you’ll also need to pay a filing fee. If you choose to expedite the process, you will need to submit online or in-person and pay an additional fee.
By mail or in-person:
Office of the Secretary of State Corporations Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
The Georgia Secretary of State will mail out the completed official documents once the Articles of Incorporation have been approved. The corporation will then be allowed to conduct business in the state.
After you file, you’ll want to make sure you stay in good standing with the state. Use our Worry Free Compliance service to put your mind at ease and focus on what’s important. We’ll make sure you’re up to date with all your licenses and permits, send you reminders about important dates, and file your annual report.
Within 90 days of incorporation, if you’re doing it between January and October, your corporation must file an initial annual registration form with the Georgia Secretary of State that lists three principal officers: CEO, CFO, and Secretary. Corporations with a start date between Oct. 2 to Dec. 31 are required to file an initial annual registration form during the first quarter of the year after.
The annual registration provides a current record of your corporation’s management structure, correct mailing address, and registered agent’s name and address.
You must also publish a notice of intent to incorporate in a local newspaper once a week for two consecutive weeks, including the corporation’s name, name of the registered agent, and address of the registered office in Georgia. For further instructions, see the “Publication of Notice of Intent to Incorporate” section of the Filing Procedures for Forming a Georgia Corporation.
Filing the Articles of Incorporation can be a complex process requiring the submission of multiple pieces of information. If you’re in a hurry or want someone to complete the process for you, look at our business formation plans. Our business formation plans can handle most of the process for you, making it one less thing on your mind.
Georgia Articles of Incorporation FAQs
- What does it cost to incorporate in Georgia?
For the most current fees and methods of payment available, check with the Georgia Secretary of State website. Expedition services are available and require an additional fee. The faster the expedition, the higher the fee. Payments should be made out to the Secretary of State.
- How long does the incorporation process take in Georgia?
The processing times for the incorporation process can vary. If you choose to pay the additional cost to expedite the service, you could have everything finalized within a few hours. Other expedition options allow the process to be completed the same day or within three business days.
- Who processes Georgia Articles of Incorporation?
The Articles of Incorporation are processed by the Georgia Secretary of State.
- Which business entities need to incorporate in Georgia?
Both domestic and foreign corporations need to incorporate in Georgia if they plan to do business there. This includes for-profit, nonprofit, professional, and benefit corporations.
- What Georgia statute governs the Georgia Articles of Incorporation?
The Articles of Incorporation are governed by statute 14-2-202 of the Georgia Code.
- Do I need an attorney to file the Georgia Articles of Incorporation?
No, the state of Georgia doesn’t require a business to have an attorney to file for incorporation. You may, however, use one if you choose.