Steps to Pay Your Georgia Filing Fees
- Pay your Georgia business’s initial filing fees
- Reserve your Georgia business’s name
- Reserve a “doing business as” name in Georgia
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or a partnership agreement for your Georgia business
- Apply for your Georgia business’s necessary licenses and permits
- Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses
- Check Georgia’s annual report requirements and fees
- Keep your Georgia business legally compliant
Starting a business is an exciting process. However, there are a few things you will want to know before getting started. One big topic to be aware of involves filing fees. Forming and maintaining your business will require a variety of Georgia filing fees. Starting at the inception of your business, you’ll have to pay Georgia formation fees to formally create your “statutory entity.” Examples of statutory entities include limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations.
But formation is just the beginning. Next, you’ll want to take on the types of fees your Georgia business needs to pay to stay state compliant. While keeping up with all these Georgia filing fees can feel overwhelming, we are here to help. We’ve compiled the most common Georgia filing fees so you know what you can expect.
Step 1: Pay your Georgia business’s initial filing fees
There are certain fees that registered business entities must pay to become official. In Georgia, these include the following entities:
- Corporation (for-profit or nonprofit)
- Limited partnership
- Limited liability company
- Limited liability partnership
- Limited liability limited partnership
All fees must be paid to the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Processing times will vary depending on the time of year, the capacity of the Secretary of State, the filing method you use, and other factors. However, Georgia does offer two business days, same day, and one-hour expedited services for additional fees.
In need of a rush filing? Use our expedited filing service for quicker turnaround times on your LLC or corporation formation filings.
Step 2: Reserve your Georgia business’s name
Most states will allow you to reserve a name for your statutory business for a set period of time for a fee. Georgia is one of those states.
While not required, you may choose to reserve a business name for a period of 30 days for a small fee. By doing so, you can lock in your desired name and prevent another business from potentially claiming it before you’re ready to proceed with filing your other business paperwork with the state.
Need help reserving your ideal business name? Use our name reservation service to help you do just that.
Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Georgia
Sometimes, a business may want to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name. A DBA name is one that a business uses that’s different from its officially registered entity name. In Georgia, this is referred to as a trade name. DBA names are also referred to as assumed names or fictitious names in other states. Use our DBA service for help creating yours.
Georgia doesn’t require any specific statewide registration of trade names. However, if your entity does intend to use a trade name, you will need to file your trade name registration with the Clerk of Superior Court’s office in the county or counties in which your business is located.
Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Most businesses, both statutory and common law entities, will require what’s called an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
An EIN is a federal tax identification number, similar to a social security number but for business entities. Without an EIN, your business may be unable to open business bank accounts, hire employees, excise tax returns, and take many other important business actions.
Although an EIN is free to obtain from the IRS, we offer an EIN number service that can do it for you.
Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or a partnership agreement for your Georgia business
Operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and partnership agreements are important legal documents that you may need in the course of your business. Generally, these documents set forth the structure, management requirements and obligations, and other important information for a Georgia LLC, corporation, and partnership, respectively.
While you’re not required to file any of these documents with the state, drafting them is generally recommended. Having these documents in place for your business can help ensure that the rules and requirements are clearly set forth, which in turn can better prevent disputes moving forward.
If you have a Georgia LLC but aren’t sure where to begin on drafting an operating agreement, use our operating agreement template to help you get started.
Step 6: Apply for your Georgia business’s necessary licenses and permits
Most businesses will require licenses and/or permits of some sort to operate. Some states, counties, and municipalities may even require a general business license before you can do any kind of business whatsoever in that location. If your business does require licensing or permitting, this will most likely require an initial fee and a fee to renew your license/permit periodically.
Business licensing can happen at the federal, state, and local levels, and requirements further vary by industry, location, and other factors. It can require significant legwork to confirm your license/permit requirements.
If you’d rather spend your time and efforts running your business, we can do the research for you. Just sign up for our Business License Report and see how we can help you find what licensing you may need for your business.
Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses
Foreign businesses may also be subject to filing fees. A “foreign” business, for purposes of business filings in Georgia, means a business that was formed outside the State of Georgia.
When you want to do business in a different state than the one in which you organized your business, you will usually need to file a Foreign Qualification or Certificate of Authority, depending on the state, and pay a corresponding fee. In Georgia, this is referred to as a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Georgia.
Additionally, if you’re a business organized in Georgia but intend to conduct business in another state, you will first need to obtain a Certificate of Existence. This is also called a Certificate of Good Standing in other jurisdictions.
Step 8: Check Georgia’s annual report requirements and fees
Georgia also requires certain business entities to file an annual report, referred to in Georgia as an annual business registration, each year your business is in operation. Entities that must file an annual registration include:
- Limited partnerships (LPs, LLPs, and LLLPs)
Filing your annual report each year can be tedious and time-consuming. But we can help you get your annual report filed quickly and efficiently to help you avoid costly mistakes.
Step 9: Keep your Georgia business legally compliant
Lastly, to make certain changes to your business, you may need to file paperwork and associated fees with the State of Georgia.
For example, you’ll need to file paperwork to make changes to your business’s:
- Registered agent
- Registered office address
- Primary email address
- Articles of incorporation
Need assistance staying compliant and making necessary changes to your business? Use our amendment service or Worry-Free Compliance service, which includes two amendments each year, to help keep your business on track.
Stay up to date with your Georgia business filing fees today
Nearly all Georgia businesses will have to make business filings and pay associated fees at some point or another. Failure to pay the right fees for the right filings can result in consequences for your business. We can help you avoid costly mistakes and fines with services like our Worry-Free Compliance service. See how else we can help today.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
- Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Georgia?
Yes. If you file late, your filing will be subject to late fees.
- What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Georgia government?
Failure to file and pay requisite fees on time can result in penalty fees and in some cases administrative dissolution of your business entity.
- Who receives the fees for forming my Georgia business?
Fees for forming your Georgia business will be paid to the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
- What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Georgia business?
The largest business filing fee you will have to pay is typically for filing the articles of incorporation, certificate of limited partnership, or articles of organization for your business. However, not all Georgia businesses will need to file one of these documents.
- What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Georgia government?
The Georgia Secretary of State doesn’t accept cash for filing fee payments. However, it does accept payment by check, certified bank check, money order, or credit card.