Georgia Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Georgia, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Georgia Corporations Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost $100 to file (plus $50 to file your initial report). Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Georgia corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Georgia Corporation Guide:
- Choose your Georgia corporation filing option
- Submit the Georgia Articles of Incorporation
- Publish a Notice of Intent in a newspaper
- Create Georgia corporate bylaws
- Get a Federal EIN from the IRS
- Open a corporate bank account
- Obtain any required business licenses
- File the Georgia Initial and Annual Reports
- Pay taxes on the corporation’s income
Georgia Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Georgia corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Georgia corporation today. Includes Georgia incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Georgia corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Georgia Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Georgia corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Georgia Corporations Division. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most businesses keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
List the number of shares you’re creating. You must authorize at least one share. Tip: You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting.
You can either appoint an individual Georgia resident (such as yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service and that is authorized to transact business in the state (like Northwest). Tip: Clearly, we’re fans of Northwest.
This is the Georgia street address where your registered agent will be available to accept service of process. Note that all information in your Articles of Incorporation will become part of the permanent record of your Georgia corporation. Tip: Hire Northwest and our address will go here.
Your incorporator is the person authorized to submit your Articles. Incorporators must include their name and address, and they must sign the Articles and state the capacity in which they’re signing (i.e. write “Incorporator” beneath the signature). Your incorporator doesn’t have to be anyone special like a director or officer—it doesn’t have to be anyone in your corporation at all. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest.
This is where the state will send any mail (besides legal notifications). Tip: Want to keep it simple with one address for all your mail? When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our address as your principal office.
In addition to the Articles and the filing fee, you’re also required to submit a Transmittal Form, which repeats some of the information on the Articles. It also makes you verify that you have sent (or are sending) a Notice of Intent to Incorporate to a local newspaper and requests a primary email address for your business. Tip: Afraid your email will be overrun with spam? At Northwest, we allow our clients to use our email address so that yours can remain private (and unclogged).
How much does it cost to start a Georgia corporation?
Georgia’s Corporations Division charges $100 to file your Articles of Incorporation, plus $50 for your initial report. Hire Northwest and your total out-the-door cost is $375 ($475 with 3-day expediting). This total includes the state fees and the initial report fee.
Note: Your Georgia corporation will quickly encounter an additional start-up cost: $40 to publish a notice of intent in a local paper.
How long does it take to start a Georgia corporation?
Standard processing takes around 12 days. For an extra hundred bucks, you can get 3-day expediting. If you absolutely need your Articles of Incorporation processed ASAP and have deep, deep pockets, you can get same-day service for an extra $250 or 1-hour service for an extra THOUSAND dollars.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your expedited Georgia corporation formed within 12 business days (or 3 business days if you pay the additional $100 expedite fee).
Does a Georgia corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, appointing and maintaining a Georgia registered agent is a state requirement. So who can be an agent? While you can’t have your corporation be its own agent, you could appoint a person in your corporation, like a director or officer. This strategy has a tendency to backfire though. No one particularly likes to give up their privacy and put their name and address on public documents like Articles of Incorporation. Also, the agent is supposed to be available at the address listed during regular business hours. Most people balk at the idea of being chained to their desk.
Instead, many Georgia corporations hire a registered agent service like Northwest. Our name and address are listed in the Articles, and we are ready and waiting to scan and send our clients any legal notifications the same day. Our clients can stay on top of their businesses wherever they choose to be—even if that’s out hiking on top of Stone Mountain.
Publish a Notice of Intent to Incorporate
What are a Georgia corporation’s publishing requirements?
At the same time that you file your Georgia Articles of Incorporation (or at the latest, the day after filing), you must submit a Notice of Intent to Incorporate and a $40 publication fee to a local newspaper. The notice will list your corporation’s name, registered agent and registered office.
Note that you can’t choose any Georgia paper you please—the newspaper must be in the county where your registered office is located. The clerks of each county keep lists of acceptable newspapers. Check out our Georgia Notice of Incorporation Guide for details on how to file.
Create Bylaws for Your Georgia Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
While you don’t submit bylaws to any Georgia agency, you’ll absolutely need bylaws to organize your Georgia corporation. Bylaws are where you put into writing the internal rules of your business.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
You’ll need to make decisions about your board of directors (who they are, how they’re replaced, how many are needed to pass a resolution). You’ll have to plan out details for your officers (how they’re elected, who they are, what their duties are). And you’ll need to spell out any important information about your authorized stock (what classes of shares there are and what voting rights they have). Bylaws also do more than dictate how your corporation actually runs. Because they show who actually owns and operates the business, you’ll need your bylaws for everything from opening a corporate bank account to taking on a new business partner.
Do I have to write bylaws?
The decisions you make in your bylaws will ultimately have a huge effect on your Georgia corporation. Starting your corporation off on the right foot is critical. That’s why we give our clients free corporate bylaws when they hire Northwest to form their Georgia corporations. We also give our clients other free business forms and templates for everything from resolutions to meeting minutes. We’ve spent years refining and improving our docs to ensure our clients have exactly what they need. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Georgia Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, the IRS requires Georgia corporations to have an EIN for federal tax filings. You’ll almost certainly need your EIN for other things as well—for example, the City of Savannah requires all businesses operating in the city to provide an EIN on their mandatory business tax application. Just to open a corporate bank account in Georgia, you’ll likely need your EIN. You can get an EIN directly from the IRS for no fee.
Want to skip the extra paperwork? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. When you sign up for our services, just add on “EIN Service” during checkout.
Open a Bank Account for Your Georgia Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Georgia corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Georgia corporation’s bylaws
- The Georgia corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Georgia corporation need a business license?
Most likely. There’s no state-level general business license, but many cities and counties have business licensing requirements. In Atlanta, for example, you’ll shell out $125 for a general license. If you engage in business in Savannah, however, you’ll have to register for and pay a yearly gross receipts “Business Tax” (starting at $85).
File Georgia Corporation Reports
What are the Georgia Initial and Annual Reports?
Within 90 days of filing your Articles, you have to submit an Initial Report and $50 filing fee. In the report, you must provide information for at least three principal officers in your corporation. Every year thereafter, you’ll also have to submit a Georgia Annual Report—essentially shelling out $50 a year to confirm or update your contact and ownership information. File late and pay an additional $25 late fee.
We can help you avoid annoying late fees—when you hire Northwest to form your Georgia corporation, we’ll file both reports on your behalf.
How much does a corporation in Georgia cost each year?
$50. This is the filing fee to submit your Georgia Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Georgia corporation?
The Georgia corporate net income tax rate is a flat 6%. In addition, Georgia also has a special tax that affects businesses taxed as C or S corporations: a net worth tax. If you have more than $100K in capital stock, paid-in surplus and earned surplus, you’ll have to pay this tax, which starts at $125 and tops out at $5K.
State sales tax is 4%, but counties and municipalities can tack on their own sales taxes, making the average total sales tax 6.944%.
Do I need to file an Initial Net Worth tax return?
Yes, corporations must file an initial return for the state’s net worth tax by the 15th day of the fourth month following incorporation. Even if no tax is owed, an initial filing is still required.