How to Start an LLC in Georgia: If you’re looking to start an LLC in Georgia for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in Georgia. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Georgia LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Georgia
- After Starting Your Georgia LLC
- Georgia Foreign LLC
- Georgia LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Georgia
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $110. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Georgia. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a Georgia LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in Georgia to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Georgia LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in Georgia is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
LLC Naming Guidelines in Georgia
There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Georgia have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available, and no other existing business in Georgia can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Georgia State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|Georgia Business Entity Search – Online Name Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Georgia LLC Name Search – Instructions
|Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division,|
Name Reservation Request,
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,
Suite 313 West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now, but want to hold the name you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 30 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $25 to reserve your name with the Georgia Secretary of State.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Georgia Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register a Business to Conduct Under a Trade Name in Georgia along with the filing fee of $172.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Georgia
The second step to forming an LLC in Georgia is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Georgia. Hence, hiring a competent Georgia Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Georgia or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Georgia. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Georgia registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Georgia can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent for service can be an independent person or a business entity. One who is responsible for handling all the legal documents.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Georgia and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business service of process in Gerogia. Also, you must be available at the given address during business hours. If you fail to be present at the address during business hours, you might miss receiving important documents.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in Georgia, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Georgia
The third and most important step in forming an LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Georgia Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Georgia Secretary of State. It costs $110 (by mail and $100 online) to file your formation certificate in Georgia.
The articles of organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Georgia LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Georgia, you must register as a Georgia Foreign LLC.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. You must select “Online Services” and go to the login page. If you are a user, then log in with your credentials. But if you’re not, then create your account. Or you can click on the below button to log in or create your account. Read more about the Georgia Articles of Organization for online registration.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your LLC registration in Georgia, you can download CD 030 Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address.
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE,
Suite 313 West Tower,
Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
Additional Form: For paper filings, A Transmittal Information Form is required along with Form CD 030.
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 7 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Georgia. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Georgia. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Georgia.
Step 4: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement in Georgia
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is an internal document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it includes the list of business owners and ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts. It says the form of business ownership each member has.
When it comes to filing a Georgia LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve Georgia LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing a Georgia LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business, for that matter.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Georgia LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Georgia foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Georgia. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your Georgia LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get company business bank accounts, business credit cards, and other business accounting tools. For a simple business structure, you might not need a business accountant. However, for a large company, you might get one to handle your business accounts.
- File Georgia business permits & licenses. Get all the details of business licenses to decide what type of license you require. For example, federal business licenses, blanket business licenses, and others. For all legitimate businesses, it is mandatory to have permits and licenses to conduct business with ease in Georgia.
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees. There are many types of business insurance. LLCs with employees need insurance coverage for employees. There are different business insurance companies. Explore them to get your business insurance provider.
- File a Georgia LLC annual report or biennial report.
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings, to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Cost of Starting an LLC in the State of Georgia
LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Georgia must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Georgia,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee (optional)||$25|
|Articles of Organization Fee||$110 (by mail and $100 online)|
|LLC Annual Fee||$50|
In Georgia, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 30 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $25.
In Georgia, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50. Also, 4% of Sales Tax and 9% of Use Tax should be paid. Read our guide on LLC costs in Georgia for more information.
Georgia Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in the state of Georgia, then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Georgia Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents, like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc., to the Georgia SOS to form your foreign LLC in the state of Georgia. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Georgia Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in Georgia
Georgia is one of the most popular states in the United States when it comes to setting up a business. Along with certain tax benefits and a low tax burden, Georgia offers several business funding options to businesses, especially start-ups. Setting up an LLC in the state of Georgia gets you long-lasting benefits that include higher profit, unemployment insurance benefits, and so on.
With an LLC, not only do business owners get liability for business debts but also, if you have a woman-owned business, then there might be more benefits. Certain types of businesses that can open job opportunities in the state can gain long-term business support from the state. Georgia is a state where entrepreneurs can find potential customers for any type of legitimate business. LLCs do not have any tax on the business income. The income tax must be paid on the personal income of the LLC owner.
The formation process is easy and can be done in a few days. Also, read more on Georgia’s classification of LLC tax. It takes lesser time if an online application has been filed. Some of the key benefits are,
Business Tax Credit
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit – LLCs in Georgia can get a tax credit from $1200 up to $9600 under the WOTC program for each qualified employee. LLCs, by contributing to employment opportunities, can receive this amount of tax credit in Georgia.
- Mega Project Tax Credit – Setting up a mega project earn you a heavily loaded tax credit in Georgia. LLCs that invest a minimum of $450 Million and open net new job opportunities for a minimum of 1800 people can avail of this program. LLCs can get up to $5,250 per job annually.
- Job Tax Credit – LLCs in the state of Georgia can earn tax credits from $1,250 to $4,000 annually for the next 5 years straight for creating new job opportunities.
Enterprise Zone Act
Like Alabama and some other states, Georgia has Enterprise Zone Act too. Here, Dublin, Columbus, Riverdale, College Park, Barnesville, and several more are considered Enterprise Zones in Georgia. According to the Enterprise Zones Act 1997, having a business or operating in these areas will bring business incentives.
Georgia Incentive Programs
Apart from the above-mentioned credits, programs like Small Business Development Loan Guarantee, Optional Investment Tax Credit, Tax Exemption Program, and others are available. Under these programs, LLCs can receive a lot of incentives.
Top Business Niches in Georgia
When we talk about starting a business, we look for the most profitable business. For any entrepreneur, it is necessary to know about the top business niches in the state he/she is going to form their LLC. For the state of Georgia, the following are the top businesses one can look for while starting an LLC.
Old People Nursing Home
Old age is hectic with a lot of health issues. As we grow old, we tend to settle in a place where we will get every possible facility at our doorstep. Georgia is kind of a state that has old people nursing homes as one of the most flourishing businesses. Entrepreneurs who are looking for profitable businesses can start nursing homes for elderly people in the state. On the other side, for people who are looking for a place to retire and settle, Georgia is the state for you with all old-age facilities.
Coffee shops and restaurants
Many places in the state of Georgia attract people from around the world. That is why there is great potential to enter the business of coffee shops and restaurants. There are many rare and amazing viewing points in the state near which you can start catering for some best coffee shops and restaurant businesses. There can be no comparison of a combination of good food and a beautiful view.
Tourism Consulting Businesses
Due to the increasing places of tourist attraction in the state, more people are now visiting Georgia. But not every person who is visiting the state has time to visit the whole state, due to which they look for suggestions. Here the role of tourism consultancy enters the game. A person in business who has complete knowledge of the state can provide consultancy services to the visitors and provide them with the option to let you be their travel guide.
Some entrepreneurs want to invest less money in their businesses. Some of the best low-cost businesses are:-
- Pharmacy and wellness businesses
- Dry Cleaning businesses
- Digital marketing businesses
Georgia LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Georgia. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Georgia LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In Georgia, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming a Limited Liability Company in Georgia. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Georgia, but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity, like a social security number, but for a company.
Things to Consider While Starting an LLC in The State of Georgia
In this article, I have already shared basic steps for business formation. However, an LLC or a business formation has many other things to consider other than these basic steps. For example, business plan, you need a proper business plan before you proceed with the LLC formation in Georgia. The next thing is business expenses and business funding. Analyze the business challenges coming your way, prepare the list of business expenses and then go for the business funding.
Next is business insurance. When you’re insuring your business, you need a business insurance provider. There are some business insurance companies that can provide the best insurance plans for your LLC.
On the tax front, a limited liability company can be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, C-corp, or S-corp. A single-member LLC is, by default, taxed as a sole proprietorship. A multi-member LLC is, by default, taxed as a partnership. LLCs have the right to choose the tax structure while forming the LLC. An LLC can be taxed as a corporation as well.
As you will set up your business, get business compliance, business tax accounts, business license reports, business finance software, and other business accounting tools. Besides, check the upcoming filing deadlines so that no penalty fee to be paid later. Check all the licensing requirements, business tools, federal taxes and returns, business credit scores, and such. Also, make sure to have a clear document for future business dissolution.
LLC formation does not take much time, a maximum of a couple of weeks by mail, and it might take 24 hours for online filing. After paying the initial filing fee, you can pay additional charges for the expedition. These broad steps are already explained above in the article. If you hire employees, then employee taxes must be filed.
Overall, though, having an LLC in the state of Georgia is easy. However, there are critical documents, government filings, tax filing, and a lot more things involved. It is mandatory to check everything as you start your LLC.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Georgia
Online filings usually take 7-10 business days for processing. Paper filings are completed within a span of 10-15 business days. Taking professional help may expedite the process.
If you are considering forming an LLC in Georgia, you should know that you can do so quickly and easily. Typically, the process takes between 7 and 14 business days. However, there are some factors that can affect the time it takes to form your LLC. These include the type of entity you are forming, and whether you want to file your documents online or by mail. The state also has an expedited filing service. For this, you can pay an additional fee.
You can form your LLC in Georgia through the Georgia Secretary of State. The secretary of state maintains a list of available names, and the name you choose should be distinguishable from other entities. When you find a name you like, you can reserve it for up to 30 days. This costs $25. After that, you can renew your reservation for an additional 30 days.
While registering an LLC in Georgia, you will be required to file an annual report. You can do this online, by mail, or in person. Your business will be required to pay taxes on income, assets, and net worth. In addition to this, you may be required to charge customers sales tax. Also, you may be liable for employment taxes and corporate taxes.
Depending on your business type, you may also need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue. To do so, you will need to provide an address that is both a physical street address in Georgia, and a P.O. box. Additionally, you will need to appoint a registered agent to receive legal mail on your behalf. A registered agent can be an individual or a company. It must be a Georgia resident.
Once you have decided on an LLC name, you can file your documents online or by mail. Filing by mail can take five to seven business days, and the process will take longer if you use an expedited service. Another option is to form your LLC with the help of a formation service. Some companies can file your documents for you, and they can check for errors before you send them off to the state. They can also call you if you have any questions about your filing.
If you want to register your LLC online, you can do so through the Georgia Corporations Division. There, you will need to fill out a state transmittal form and include a copy of your LLC’s articles of organization. Both forms will be sent back to you by mail. Alternatively, you can file the forms by mail and receive your certificate of organization in a few days.
Lastly, you will need to open a business bank account. A bank account will cost you about $5-10 per month, and you will need to renew it annually. Several businesses have to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue for sales tax. The rate in Atlanta is 8.9%, and in Fulton County, the rate is 7.75%.
If you are a resident of Georgia, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $110 (domestic LLC) and $225 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Georgia include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 4% every year.
It takes 10 business days to get an LLC in the state of Georgia if you file it online. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness, which has an impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the Georgia Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Georgia Classification of LLC Tax.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups, can easily start an LLC in the state of Georgia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.