How to Start an LLC in Georgia? (7 Easy Steps to Success)
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) can be intimidating, but it is not as difficult as many people make it out to be.
An LLC is flexible and provides liability protection for its owners, tax benefits, and fewer formalities than a corporation. However, you must follow specific steps and comply with the Georgia state regulations.
With years of experience, research, and consultation from our professional attorney, I’ve prepared and detailed guide to help you start your own Georgia State LLC.
This article will cover everything from choosing a name and registered agent to filing your articles of organization and obtaining necessary licenses and permits. We'll also discuss the benefits of an LLC and the legal requirements you need to meet.
- To start an LLC, choose a unique name for your Georgia LLC and check its availability, file Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State and obtain necessary business licenses and permits
- Starting an LLC involves completing a series of steps, including registering your business, selecting a name, and obtaining licenses and permits
- Following these steps can help you establish a legal and operational LLC, allowing you to conduct business and protect your personal assets
1. Choose a Name for Your Georgia LLC
Choosing a business name for your Geogria LLC is an important step. However, you must remember that some terms are restricted unless you provide additional documentation.
Terms like indemnity, insurance, reinsurance, surety, assurance, and reassurance require the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's written approval .
If you want to use the terms associated with banking (bank, shares, loans, savings, etc.), you must obtain the Department of Banking and Finance's written approval.
Education-related terms (university, college, school) require the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission's written approval.
2. Find a Registered Agent in Georgia
A registered agent in Georgia is a person appointed by an organization to act on its behalf.
Registered agent service is the company that registers with the state of Georgia to provide this important legal function for companies, nonprofits, and other business entities.
A limited liability company registered agent provides many services, including but not limited to:
- Providing correspondence addresses to allow mailings from both within and outside the state of Georgia to reach you
- Serving as a designated agent for professional service of process in criminal and civil actions against your company
- Safeguarding assets by establishing an address where all legal papers will be sent
A registered agent is very important if you are doing business within or outside of the state of Georgia because they provide peace of mind for you and your company.
3. File Articles of Organization for Your Georgia LLC
Articles of organization for your Georgia LLC are important, especially if you want to be able to operate in other states through a foreign LLC.
Articles of Organization contain information about the company and its operating sectors.
The procedure to file articles is very simple, and you can file them online or by mailing them to the Secretary of State. Your articles will not go into effect until you file your articles.
You can also check our article about how long it takes for an LLC to be approved in Georgia.
4. Create a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
LLC operating agreement is a document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of managers and members of your Georgia LLC.
An operating agreement is not required by law, but having one is highly advisable because it will set out the rights and responsibilities within your business structure.
Georgia LLC's operating agreements are written legally to protect the company, its interests, and its members.
Among other things, operating agreements should contain information such as:
- The business name and address of the company.
- A provision that requires members to pay any debts of the LLC even if they don't have enough assets or funds.
- Information about what happens when one owner wants to leave an LLC operating agreement.
- It should state whether you can buy out their shares, how much it will cost, and when the agreement ends.
- A provision that requires all LLC members to vote on major decisions such as selling company assets or merging with another company.
The LLC operating agreement should also have provisions for:
- LLC members who want to sue LLC operating agreement
- LLCs that need more than one manager
- LLCs with no managers
- How often the agreement is updated, and by whom
5. Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An LLC business owner needs Federal employer identification numbers to open a business bank account or hire employees.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other government agencies use the Federal employer identification number to identify taxpayer information needed for tax purposes, especially in cases where individuals are not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSN).
It comprises nine digits, also known as a Federal Tax ID Number.
The Federal employer identification number (EIN) can be obtained by completing an EIN application, which the IRS provides online.
There are different requirements for obtaining this identifier depending on whether or not you have already filed an SSN with the Social Security Administration or are a nonresident of the United States and do not have an SSN.
6. Acquire Georgia Business Licenses and Permits
Once your business entity has been approved and recognized as a Georgia LLC with an LLC business bank account and a registered agent, you will need to obtain business licenses depending on the industry and location of your business.
Permits and licenses may vary from city to city or county, so staying informed is best.
For example, if your business operates in alcoholic beverages, health, zoning, or sales, you must contact that specific city/county and check for additional requirements.
LLC owners who want to set up a professional LLC need additional documentation.
The safest way to ensure you have all the permits to create your LLC is to visit the Secretary of State's website and browse their list of boards and licensed professions.
7. File Annual Report
An LLC annual report in Georgia, also known as an LLC annual registration in some states, is required to pay taxes to the Secretary of State. The annual registration process takes 15 minutes to complete online.
The annual registration fee is $50.
Annual registration may be required if:
- You've changed the LLC name, address, or your registered agent service
- There has been a merger between two entities owned by an LLC, and it needs to file as a domestic entity
- How to Amend LLC Articles of Organization in Georgia
- How to Close an LLC in Georgia
- LLC Formation Services in Georgia
Is Georgia a Good State for LLC?
Georgia is a good state to set up an LLC for several reasons, most notably for offering flexibility in how business owners can manage their businesses. You can choose how you want to be taxed - as a single-member LLC, a multi-member LLC, and a C corporation or S corporation.
How Much Taxes Does an LLC Pay in Georgia?
The taxes an LLC pays in Georgia will depend on the type of your Georgia limited liability company. However, unlike single-member LLCs, C corps and S corps must pay federal income taxes (corporate income tax) and net worth tax. The corporate tax rate in Georgia is 6 percent.
Does Georgia Recognize Single-Member LLC?
Georgia recognizes single-member LLCs. Depending on how you prefer to be taxed, you can opt for any type of LLC. If you are unsure what option is best for your business, seek legal advice and find a suitable registered agent service.
Can a CPA Firm Be an LLC in Georgia?
A CPA firm can be an LLC in Georgia, but you must remember several things. Georgia law doesn't have a specific statute explaining professional LLCs' regulations. You’ll browse the relevant state licensing board to see if CPA LLC approval is required to file for the state license and other legal documents.
What Is a Domestic LLC in Georgia?
A domestic LLC in Georgia is an LLC that is set up and registered for the first time in Georgia. Domestic LLCs and foreign LLCs (registered in a different US state or country) must follow different procedures to conduct business in Georgia.
Can a Minor Have an LLC in Georgia?
A minor can have an LLC in Georgia. However, it's best to check with the Georgia Secretary of State if a minor can be the organizer of the LLC or just a member. It's best to do it before going to the Georgia Corporations Division for an LLC filing, and it applies to a foreign LLC.
Starting a Georgia LLC and Requirements
Starting a limited liability company in Georgia is easy, but you must follow certain procedures and comply with Georgia law.
Georgia is a good state to form an LLC because it offers a low-cost filing process, no franchise tax, and minimal annual report requirements.
Additionally, there are no restrictions on the number of members, and you can have any type of LLC: a single-member LLC, a multi-member LLC, or even an S corp.
All things considered, LLCs in Georgia are a great option for businesses.
We recommend using ZenBusiness LLC formation services in Georgia to take care of all your startups.