Each state has its own rule for forming a Limited Liability Company. Let’s see what Georgia requires for starting an LLC.
As one of the ways to form a business, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) combines the few legal constraints of a sole proprietorship with the reduced liability of a corporation. The members that form an LLC receive personal asset protection, as any debts generated by the LLC are the sole legal responsibility of the LLC. Income taxes “pass through” an LLC to each member’s individual income tax return. This means forming an LLC eliminates the double taxation feature that affects other types of business structures.
Pick a Name
Georgia business law requires an LLC to include one of the following in its name:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
You can abbreviate Limited as “Ltd” and Company as “Co.” The entire name can be no longer than 80 characters, which includes spaces and punctuation.
The name that you choose for your LLC must be easy to differentiate from other business names filed with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Use the Corporations Division business name database to confirm your LLC name is unique. Georgia law grants businesses 30 days to reserve a name by filing a Name Reservation Request form.
Name a Registered Agent
Every LLC operating in Georgia must name an agent for the service of process. An agent for the service of process represents a person or a business that handles the legal documents filed on behalf of an LLC if the business is served with a lawsuit. The person or business named as a registered agent must have the authorization to conduct business in Georgia, as well as provide proof of having a physical address. A P.O. box number is not sufficient to qualify a registered agent to handle service of process requests.
Submit Transmittal Form and the Articles of Organization
An LLC officially forms in Georgia when it submits a Transmittal Information Form Georgia Limited Liability Company. The form must include the following information:
- LLC name
- LLC main physical address
- LLC email address
- Name and address filing the document
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Every name and address of the organizers
The articles of organization must include the name of the LLC, as well as the signature of each member and attorney representing the LLC.
Create an Operating Agreement
Like many other states, Georgia does not require the members of an LLC to create an operating agreement. However, creating one establishes the legal guidelines for how you want your LLC to operate. The operating agreement for your LLC should include information that clearly describes the rights of each member and manager, with an emphasis on how your LLC should be run. This document also ensures your LLC gains the legal protections granted to LLCs by demonstrating that it is a separate business entity.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number
Georgia law requires an LLC to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if the LLC has more than one member and no employees. LLCs managed by just one member need to apply for an EIN if the LLC has at least one employee or decides to have the business taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship. You can obtain an EIN for your LLC by applying on the IRS website.
Pay the Annual Registration Fee
The initial registration and the payment of a fee for an LLC in Georgia happens between January 1 and April 1. Every year after that, LLCs must pay an annual registration fee to keep their businesses legally viable in the State of Georgia. The state encourages LLCs to file registrations online.
Contact an attorney from the Cloud Peak Law Group to learn more about starting an LLC in Georgia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Georgia charges $110 to file Articles of Organization. There will also be a fee for the registered agent and handling if you choose a professional formation service.
An LLC in Georgia takes 5-7 days to be approved when filed online, and up to two weeks or 14 days (including weekends) if filed by mail. We always file online for convenience.
An LLC is taxed in Georgia the same as any other state: it's a pass-through entity by default, with the ability to select S-Corp or Corporation taxation if wanted.
The state of Georgia does not require a general business license. Once you have obtained a valid business tax certificate, your business may legally operate throughout all of Georgia.