How to Start an LLC in Georgia
To start an LLC in Georgia, you must file Articles of Organization with the Georgia Corporations Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Georgia LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Georgia LLC Guide:
Georgia LLC Filing Options
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Georgia LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Georgia LLC Articles of Organization Requirements
To form a Georgia LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization 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 LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company,” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” You can’t pick a name already in use in Georgia, and your name can’t exceed 80 characters including spaces. So “Jim’s Fresh Gulf Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Snack House Limited Liability Company” may be an awesome name, but you’ll have to reign it in a bit. Maybe use “LLC” instead of spelling out the words.
If filing online, you’ll see this optional section. If you choose to add this information, you can select the code that best matches your business activities.
This is where the state will send you mail (other than the legal notices that will go to your registered agent). Want to simplify things and have all your mail sent to the same place? When you hire us, you can use our address here.
This is the email address where you’ll receive your Certificate of Approval. You can put a personal email, but remember that the information in your Articles becomes a part of the public record (i.e. you may end up with an email full of spam). Again, when you hire us, you can use our contact info.
You can list the name and address of an individual Georgia resident such as yourself. Or, keep your address off public records and list a business that provides registered agent service in Georgia—like Northwest.
An organizer forms and files your Articles of Organization. The organizer doesn’t have to be a member, manager, or anyone connected to the LLC. We’ll be your organizer when you hire Northwest.
Online, you’ll be asked to pick an effective date. Do you want your business to start right away? Choose today’s date. Otherwise, you can have your business start at a future date within 90 days (useful if you’re nearing the end of a tax year).
Someone has to include their name and then authorize or sign and date your Articles of Organization. That person can be a member, manager, attorney or an organizer outside of the LLC. When you hire Northwest, we’ll execute your Articles as your organizer.
How much does it cost to start a Georgia LLC?
The state filing fee to form a Georgia LLC is $100. With Northwest, your total cost is $325 (or $425 with 2-day expediting). This includes state filing fees, registered agent service, and loads of useful forms to help you get up and running.
How long does it take to start a Georgia LLC?
Standard processing takes the Georgia Corporations Division about 12 days. 2-day expediting is an extra $100, and even faster service is possible if you’re willing to shell out some serious money—an extra $1000 (that’s not a typo) at the Georgia Corporations Division will get you one-hour expedited service.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your expedited Georgia LLC formed within 2 business days.
Does a Georgia LLC need a registered agent?
Yes, Georgia requires LLCs to appoint and maintain a registered agent. You can be your own registered agent, but there are a few downsides. You’ll have to provide a Georgia street address, which becomes a part of the permanent public record. You’ll also need to be consistently available at this address to accept legal notices.
Hiring a registered agent service like Northwest can help you maintain your privacy and the freedom to keep your own schedule. We can list our contact information in your Articles of Organization instead of yours (and take on all the spam and solicitations that come with a public address). We also make sure you never miss a legal notification. We know business doesn’t always take place in the office—you have places to be. Whether you’re sourcing fresh produce or picking up clients at Hartsfield-Jackson, the last thing you need is to be chained to your desk. We’ll scan and send any service of process the same day, so you can always stay on top of things, no matter where you are.
Create the Georgia LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
You don’t have to submit an operating agreement to any Georgia state agency, but yes, you should definitely have one.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Operating agreements are commonly requested by those you do business with. Business partners, investors, and lenders will all want to see your operating agreement. And it’s even more important to the members and managers inside your business. Your operating agreement puts into writing important information about how your LLC functions—how much members invested and what their rights are, what happens if the business closes, and how profits and losses are allocated. While everyone tends to be friendly and agreeable when starting a business, tides quickly turn in the event of a dispute. Having procedures clearly outlined in your operating agreement helps protect your business. Basically, you need an operating agreement like you need mosquito spray in the dripping humidity of summer—it’s not a requirement, but it’ll help keep you from getting eaten alive.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
You don’t have to start your operating agreement from scratch—why reinvent the wheel? At Northwest, we’ve spent years refining our LLC operating agreements, which we include for free in all orders. We take pride in our forms here at Northwest—so much so that we were the first website to hand out free LLC forms. Our free LLC forms have been used by over a million LLCs to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get a Georgia LLC FEIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (FEIN)?
While a FEIN isn’t absolutely required unless you hire employees or have to file specific federal tax forms (like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns), a FEIN can definitely be useful. You’ll be asked for your FEIN in many situations involving either taxes or finances—when you register for the Georgia Department of Revenue, when you file local tax forms, when you go to open a business bank account, or when you establish credit with a vendor. In these cases, you can often offer up your personal social security number instead, but that’s not without risks to your personal security. You can get a FEIN for free directly from the IRS. You can even hire Northwest to complete your FEIN application for you if you’d prefer.
Open a Bank Account for Your Georgia LLC
To open a bank account for your Georgia LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Georgia LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Georgia LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business 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 LLC need a business license?
The state of Georgia doesn’t issue a general business license, but many cities and counties have business license or tax certificate requirements. For instance, Atlanta requires all businesses to get a business license, which will set you back $125 in fees. In Decatur, however, businesses need an “Occupation Tax Certificate” which ranges from $170-$460 plus a $25 administrative fee.
File Georgia LLC Reports
What is a Georgia LLC Annual Registration/Report?
The Annual Registration is a report LLCs are required to submit to the Georgia Secretary of State by April 1st each year. The report is $50, and there’s a late fee of $25 if it slips your mind. If left unpaid, the state can dissolve your LLC. Worried you’ll forget? When you hire Northwest, we send you reminders for your reports. You can even hire Northwest to file your Annual Registration each year, so you can focus on your business, not the state filing requirements.
How much does an LLC in Georgia cost each year?
There’s a $50 fee for filing Georgia’s required Annual Registration.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Georgia LLC taxes?
The Georgia personal net income tax rates are:
The state has a 4% sales tax, but cities and counties pile on their own sales taxes as well. For example, in Atlanta, the total sales tax reaches 8.5% while cities like Savannah and Macon have a total sales tax of 7%.
Most LLCs are taxed as partnerships and don’t have to pay a corporate net income tax or Georgia’s net worth tax. However, your LLC isn’t off the hook for tax paperwork in Georgia. LLCs taxed as partnerships are required to file an informational Partnership Return (Form 700) with the Georgia Department of Revenue each year.