Start a Georgia LLC

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Start Your LLC in Georgia

How to Start an LLC in Georgia

With a booming economy and vibrant population, it’s no surprise the Peach State is open for business.

Ready to get in on the action? Starting an LLC in Georgia can open up a world of opportunities. To create an LLC in Georgia, you’ll need to follow certain steps. And, if you want to take advantage of the liability protection and tax benefits of an LLC while avoiding delays and costly fines, you’ll need to follow those steps carefully.

We can help you get started with our fast, reliable formation services. It’s a simple way to get your Georgia LLC off the ground.

If you prefer to form an LLC on your own, we can help you there, too. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to start an LLC below.

Forming a Georgia LLC

Whether you’re walking around Piedmont Park or driving through the suburbs, new construction and growth are everywhere in Atlanta. And it’s similar across the great state of Georgia. From film production to technology companies, opportunities abound. 

All Georgia limited liability companies are formed by filing GA LLC applications with the Georgia Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. 

Follow the 5 steps below to create your own limited liability company in Georgia. From naming your LLC to properly filing the paperwork, it’s important to submit your information correctly online. This will make it a lot easier when getting an LLC in GA.

To form your LLC, you must register your business in Georgia. This process enters your new company into the public record. It provides the information necessary for the state to communicate with and regulate your new limited liability company.

Before that, though, you’ll need to choose a registered agent. Your Georgia registered agent receives legal notices and official correspondence from the state. After you file the required paperwork, you’ll still have some other boxes to check. For example, you’ll likely want to draft an operating agreement and get an EIN

Note: This is a step-by-step guide on how to get an LLC in Georgia when you’re starting a domestic LLC. A domestic LLC is one started within the state you’re residing in. A foreign LLC is one that originated in a different state. To register a foreign LLC, you follow a different process.

Step 1: Name your Georgia LLC

Step 1: Name your Georgia LLC

The first step is to name your LLCCongrats! Creating your business name is one of the most exciting steps to starting a business. Sure, there are a lot of considerations, but picking a name is where it all beings.

When it comes to naming your LLC, start by getting creative. Your name is the first impression you’ll give to potential customers. You want it to represent you and your business now and in the future. Draft a list of your favorite names. After that, you can get into the specifics and naming rules in the state of Georgia.

LLC Georgia: LLC Name Requirements

There are Georgia business naming laws you need to consider before you submit your name. The first and most important rule is that your limited liability company (LLC) name has to be distinguishable from the other LLCs, corporations, or limited partnerships (LPs) filed with the Secretary of State.

What makes a name distinguishable? The Secretary of State of Georgia will make that determination, but here’s a list of items that are NOT considered distinguishable:

  • Adding “a,” “an,” or “the” to a name: If an existing name is “Flower Store LLC,” you can’t name yours “The Flower Store LLC.”
  • Abbreviations: You can’t name your LLC “Georgia Consulting Firm” if “Ga. Consulting Firm” exists.
  • Phonetic Spellings: “Grillz LLC” is not distinguishable from “Grills LLC.”
  • Punctuation:  “A.B.C., LLC” is not distinguishable from “ABC, LLC.”
  • Plural: Plural forms of the same word are not distinguishable when it comes to naming your LLC.
  • Suffix: A suffix added to the same word in another LLC’s name doesn’t count as distinguishable, either.

Keep these name considerations in mind when writing yours.

Can my LLC filing be rejected because of the name I choose?

Yes. In fact, not following the Georgia naming standards is one of the most common reasons an LLC submission gets denied.

Our formation service can handle submitting your business name for you. We’ll help make sure your LLC gets filed with a name that works for the state of Georgia.

Restricted LLC Names in Georgia

Some words can’t be used to describe your LLC without submitting a letter of approval from the appropriate agency. These include:

  • Insurance words: You need approval from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to use the words insurance, assurance, surety, fidelity, reinsurance, reassurance, or indemnity.
  • Banking words: Written approval of the Department of Banking and Finance is required to use the words bank, banc, banque, banker, banking company, banking house, trust, credit union, bankruptcy, or trust company.
  • Education words: Using the words “college” or “university” requires written approval of the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

Keep an eye out for these words when you’re coming up with a business name.

What if I have my business name but am not quite ready to file?

Have the perfect name? If you’re not ready to form your LLC but want to reserve your name, you can reserve your business name today.

Georgia’s Secretary of State office allows you to reserve a business name. You can submit up to three name preferences (in case the first one isn’t available) for up to 30 days.

You can avoid going through the state by using our business name reservation service. We’ll handle the filing for you and prevent others from registering your name.

Georgia LLC Registration: More Information on Naming Your Business

Have questions about Georgia’s naming rules? Contact them at (404) 656-2817. They can make sure your name is compliant with the state.

Additional Naming Considerations

  • Getting a Domain Name: We assume you’ll want to have a website for your business. An online presence is essential for most Georgia limited liability companies. Keep your website’s domain name (URL) in mind when you come up with a name. For example, if your first name choice is already an existing website, you may lean toward your second choice. It’s up to you! Use our Domain Name Registration Service to get the website domain for your LLC.
  • Trademarking Your Georgia LLC’s Name: You also need to check trademarks at the federal and state levels. For federal trademarks, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website to see if someone’s already trademarked your business name. For Georgia trademarks, you can search the Georgia Secretary of State website page for trademarks.
  • Filing for a DBA Name: DBA, or “doing business as” names, are other names your business may use instead of your legal business name. In Georgia, DBAs are referred to as “trade names.” You can learn more about getting a trade name on our Georgia DBA page.
Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Georgia

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Georgia

Appoint a registered agent in Georgia. LLCs are required by Georgia law to have a registered agent. So what is a registered agent? Your registered agent is the person or business designated by your LLC to receive any official documents, communication, or service of process.

The registered agent is viewed by the state as the official mailbox for your LLC. They need to be available at their given address during business hours without exception so they can accept legal notices in person.

What if the state can’t find my Georgia registered agent?

You run the risk of consequences from the state if it can’t reach your registered agent. For example, if you serve as your own registered agent and are on vacation or not at the specified address during business hours, you may miss an important piece of information.

This can also happen if your registered agent moves or quits and you forget to update your paperwork with the state.

Failing to maintain a registered agent could mean you miss notice of litigation and a court case moves forward without you knowing. You may also not respond to direct mail from the state, resulting in fines. You can avoid the risk of issues by having a reliable registered agent service.

Who can be a registered agent in Georgia?  

Your registered agent needs to be a person or company that acts as the point of contact for your LLC.

Georgia registered agents can also be:

  • An individual: Keep in mind this person has to be over the age of 18 and have a street address in Georgia. The person must also be located at that address.
  • Another company: There are registered agent service companies that can serve as your registered agent. They can serve as yours as long as the company is a domestic corporation, another domestic LLC, or a foreign corporation or LLC that has a certificate of authority to transact business in the state of Georgia.

In Georgia, a post office box or mail drop can’t be used as your registered agent’s address.

Due to the nature of a registered agent’s role, many LLC owners rely on a registered agent service. For example, your registered agent is the person who will receive serving papers if your company is sued. An owner, shareholder, employee, or member in the LLC can serve as a registered agent.

Use the ZenBusiness registered agent service

One of the many services we offer is our registered agent service. When you sign up, we’ll provide you with a registered agent, meaning that there will always be someone available to receive important legal, tax, and other notices from the state.

Not only will this keep you in compliance, but it avoids scenarios where you could be served papers for a lawsuit in front of clients.

Our service also keeps you organized. When you get important documents, we’ll quickly inform you and keep them together in your online “dashboard” so that you can view, download and/or print them whenever you want. No more digging through piles of papers to try to find misplaced critical documents.

Use our Georgia registered agent service.

If you’ve already submitted a registered agent and want to change it, you simply need to file an amendment to your annual registration.

Step 3: File Your Georgia Articles of Organization

Step 3: File Your Georgia Articles of Organization

File your Articles of Organization with the state of Georgia. You’ve made it to the most pivotal step! It’s time to file your Articles of Organization with the state. Once your Articles are submitted and approved, you officially have a legal LLC in Georgia.

How do you file them? You submit your LLC’s information online on the Secretary of State’s online services page. You’ll also need to create a user account, and then select “create or register a business.”

Want help filing your Articles of Organization? We can do it for you with our guaranteed formation filing service. We’ll handle filing and keep all your documents in your personalized dashboard.

Register LLC in Georgia: What to File with Your Articles of Organization

Before you file your Articles of Organization, be sure to gather the following information:

  • Name of your LLC (or valid name reservation number if you’ve already reserved it).
  • Your name and address
  • A valid email address
  • Mailing address of the principal office location
  • Name and address of your registered agent
  • Name and address of each organizer.
  • Any provisions you may need to add to your Articles of Organization (optional)
  • Credit card you’ll pay to register your Georgia LLC with

The initial filing fee is $100 and can be paid online with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card.

We offer step-by-step directions on how to file your Articles of Organization in Georgia. Review them for more detailed information on this step. Filling out your Georgia LLC application is a crucial step in the process.

Changes to Your Georgia LLC

What if things change over time? Don’t worry. You don’t need to file your Articles of Organization again. To make most other changes to your Articles of Organization, you need to file Georgia Articles of Amendment along with a fee. If you need to file an amendment, we have an Amendment Filing service that can handle it for you as well.

Keeping up with your business compliance can be as stressful as running on the Beltline in August. That’s why many customers rely on us to help them stay compliant. Use our Worry-Free Compliance service and reduce your stress to a calm stroll down the Beltline on a nice fall day.

How long will it take for my Articles of Organization to be processed? 

All online filings are processed in the order in which they are received, although expedited filings are available. Standard processing times are seven business days. For an additional fee, you can request two business days or same-day processing for expedited filings.

Once your Articles of Organization are filed and approved, it’s time to celebrate! Congratulations — you have officially formed an LLC in Georgia. Georgia recognizes your LLC as a business entity. Yes, there are a few other steps ahead, but this is a big moment. Perhaps you can celebrate with a nice dinner at the Sun Dial — or at least enjoy a greasy meal at the Varsity.

Do I need to submit annual reports?

Once your Articles of Organization are approved, and you’ve enjoyed a celebratory dinner, don’t forget to mark your calendar to submit your annual registration. This is also known as an annual report in other states.

Georgia annual registrations need to be filed with the Secretary of State between January 1 and April 1 of each calendar year once your LLC is formed. Changes like the principal office address or registered agent change can be addressed in these reports (or amended annual registrations). Note if you don’t submit one each year, your LLC is subject to being dissolved.

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

Create an operating agreement for your Georgia LLC. Operating agreements for limited liability companies are not required in Georgia, but having one is a good idea.

An operating agreement will cover important things like the rules that your company will follow, how finances will be handled, the business structure, and how decisions will be made.

What should you include in your Georgia operating agreement? 

Here are some items you may want to include in your operating agreement:

  • LLC details: This includes your business name, members, registered agent, and other important information.
  • Profit distribution: Clearly explain what happens to profits, especially if you have multiple members in your LLC. For example, how are they allocated? Are they evenly distributed, based on ownership percentages, or something else entirely?
  • Dissolution: This one is often overlooked, but it’s an important detail to consider. In the event that the business dissolves, how will assets and debts be split up? What will the process be?
  • Member responsibilities: You should clearly spell out who is responsible for the day-to-day business operations.

These are the main components, but you can add any details you find important.

Do I need an operating agreement if I’m the only owner?

You might think you don’t need an operating agreement for a single-member LLC. But potential investors, future business partners, and others may want to see your operating agreement.

Some banks won’t let you open a business bank account without one. It can also spell out what you want to happen to the business if you become incapacitated.

Further, occasionally someone will take an LLC owner to court to try to prove that the owner and the LLC are the same entity so that they can go after the owner’s personal assets. If that happens, having an operating agreement in place is one more thing to further demonstrate to the court that the owner and the LLC truly are separate.

Do all members need to sign the agreement? 

If you’re creating an LLC with other members (owners), all parties involved should sign it. This formalizes their agreement to the terms. Some LLCs in Georgia even have their operating agreements notarized.

Operating Agreement Template: LLC Georgia

Since Georgia doesn’t require an LLC operating agreement, there’s no form to fill out and file with the Georgia Secretary of State. If you’re unsure as to where to start, you may want to consider using one of our Georgia customizable operating agreement templates.

What are the benefits of having an operating agreement?

Still not convinced you need one for your LLC? Here are a few benefits of having an operating agreement:

  • It houses the rules of your LLC. Not only is this important for LLC members, but it can also help avoid state-imposed default rules.
  • You will have written agreements on how disputes will be handled. Hopefully, you won’t need to refer to them, but it’s better to have them laid out clearly.
  • It outlines the structure of your company. If you ever need to provide information to investors or others, this is a helpful document to have available. Some banks and lenders also like to see the agreement before granting credit or loans
  • Provide additional asset protection. By clarifying which assets are part of the business and personal, you add another layer of protection between legal issues associated with your business and yourself.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

Register your Georgia LLC with the federal government by getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). EINs are important for a variety of reasons, but in Georgia, they’re required to register your business with the Georgia Department of Revenue.

EINs are also known as Federal Tax Identification Numbers. They’re nine-digit numbers assigned to LLCs from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It essentially acts as a Social Security Number for your business. You can obtain your EIN through the IRS website, but we can handle it for you with our EIN service.

EINs are also typically required for opening business bank accounts and hiring employees. But in Georgia, they’re most important for tax purposes.

LLC Georgia: Registering for State Taxes

Newly formed LLCs need to register with the Department of Revenue if they haven’t filed a tax return or haven’t created a tax account with the state. To register, create a profile on Georgia.gov’s Georgia Tax Center website.

Completing the registration will register your LLC for various state-specific taxes, including:

  • Corporate income tax
  • Sales and use tax
  • Transportation services tax
  • And many more

Note that unemployment insurance taxes are not paid through the Department of Revenue in Georgia. If you’ll need to register for this tax, do so with the Department of Labor.

What You’ll Need to Register with the Department of Revenue

Your EIN will be required to register your LLC with the state. Other items you’ll need to have prepared:

  • Legal name for your business
  • Date of first Georgia sale
  • Name and information for your LLC’s officers/members
  • Business mailing address

Once you’re all set online, you’ll need to file your taxes monthly or quarterly depending on your specific situation.

Forming an LLC in Georgia: Federal Tax Considerations 

LLCs provide the benefit of avoiding “double taxation.” The business pays no federal income tax, instead passing the income straight through to the LLC’s owners.

Then, each business owner pays taxes on the earnings as regular income. This is unlike most corporations, in which profits are taxed twice, first at the business level and again at the individual shareholder level.

The IRS administers federal taxes based on each member’s share in the LLC. So, if you own 50% of an LLC and are entitled to 50% of the profits, the IRS will tax you on 50% of your LLC’s earnings.

Importantly, members might be required to pay self-employment tax to the IRS to make up for the fact that they don’t pay have an employer withholding taxes like those related to Medicare or Social Security from their paychecks.

The LLC tax structure can save business owners a significant amount of money compared to a traditional C corporation.

However, LLCs can elect to be taxed as a C corporation if they wish, subjecting owners to double taxation, though this can still be beneficial to certain LLCs.

Some LLCs elect to be taxed as an S corporation (S corp). The S corp classification has more restrictions and greater scrutiny from the IRS, but it can save members a lot in self-employment taxes. It also avoids the double taxation you would have from being taxed as a C corporation.

We have an S corp service to help you set up an LLC with S corporation status. But before you decide how to have your LLC taxed, we highly recommend consulting a tax professional.

Ultimately the IRS handles federal business taxes. They collect corporate taxes like self-employment tax and federal corporate income tax. For specific federal tax questions, you can reach out to the IRS.

Forming an LLC in Georgia: Next Steps

You’re nearing the finish line of your LLC registration. Keep these final things in mind:

Open a business bank account

Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a company bank account. Separating your company bank account and your personal banking is crucial for separating your business and personal finances at tax time.

Banking Payments and Invoicing

We have a partnership with LendingClub that offers a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for online banking, unlimited transactions, a debit card, and more. And, when and if you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we also offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.

Managing Your Money 

Looking for additional help with your business finances? We offer an on-the-go business finance software called  ZenBusiness Money. It gives you a central place for creating invoices, receiving payments, transferring money, and managing clients. Keep your LLC’s finances in one location and easily manage your money in one convenient location.

We can help

We offer fast, accurate Georgia LLC formation online. Our services provide long-term business support to help you start, run, and expand your business. While it’s not as simple as pressing a “Create LLC: Georgia” button, we guarantee we’ll help get your Georgia limited liability company up and running.

If starting an LLC in Georgia seems as stressful as sitting in Atlanta’s rush hour traffic, we can reduce your stress. Let us take care of formation, compliance, and more. That way, you can get back to building your dream business, whether it’s a small business in Sandy Springs or a consulting business based out of Midtown. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational 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.

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Georgia LLC FAQs

  • The state fees for forming a Georgia LLC range from $100 to $145, depending on factors such as your method of filing and whether you choose to reserve your business name. Note that fees change over time, so you should check the Georgia Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.

  • Many people start LLCs for a good reason. The legal structure it provides gives individual members protection from liability and taxes and is relatively inexpensive and straightforward.

    Create LLC Georgia Benefits:

    • Like a corporation, the business operations can continue even in the event of a member’s death. Ownership interests can be transferred from one member to another.
    • An LLC member (LLC owner) risks only what they invested in the business and their remaining personal assets are not usually at risk.
    • Earnings will be distributed among the members and taxed at their personal tax rates without first being taxed at the business level.
  • Georgia does not require an LLC to file an operating agreement. However, as discussed above, an operating agreement is still an important document to have, as it provides additional protection for you and your business.

  • The state of Georgia does not, at this time, allow the formation of a Series LLC. Series LLCs are a relatively new concept where an umbrella LLC is formed with separate LLC “cells” under it. The law may change, so check back with Georgia from time to time if this is a concept that interests you.

  • While Georgia does not require a blanket business license, it does require licensing for many individual professions and businesses. You can visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s licensing page to search for Georgia licensing requirements, fill out a license application if needed, track your status, and more.

    Additionally, some local municipalities may require licensing. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the requirements in the location your business calls home. Other business licenses can be federal or industry-specific. You’ll have to research which business licenses and permits your business needs or hire a service to do this for you, such as our business license report.

  • If the time comes to dissolve your business, you must file a Certificate of Termination with the Georgia Secretary of State. The first step is to check and make sure your business is currently up to date in its registration. Once it is, the certificate can be submitted with no filing fee. Once the application is submitted, it typically takes two to eight business days to be processed. The termination date will be the date the application is received.

    Your Certificate of Termination must:

    • Include the name of the LLC.
    • State that known debts, liabilities, and obligations have been taken care of or provisions have been made.
    • State that no legal actions are pending against the LLC or that provisions have been made if there are.

    For more information, visit our Georgia business dissolution guide.

  • While an LLC in Georgia does need to keep a current list of its officers with the state, which it does by filing an annual registration, it does not maintain a list of business owners. The business itself maintains that list.

  • An LLC is a business entity, while S Corp is a tax filing. Learn more about the differences and compare Georgia LLCs vs. S Corps.

Georgia Business Resources