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Georgia Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Georgia

To start a Georgia corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Georgia Corporations Division and pay a $100 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Georgia corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in Georgia are as follows:

  1. File Georgia Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay the Georgia Corporations Division $100
  3. Send a Notice of Intent to Incorporate to a local paper ($40)
  4. Wait to receive your Certificate of Incorporation
  5. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  6. Create Georgia corporate bylaws
  7. Take these documents to the bank and get a Georgia corporate bank account
  8. File a Georgia Initial Report with the Corporations Division ($50)
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Georgia Articles of Incorporation guidelines free download. When you're done creating your Articles, submit them to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Georgia Articles of Incorporation

Instead of providing a form, the Georgia Corporations Division provides guidelines for writing your own Articles. To form a Georgia corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide how many shares of stock to authorize
Step 3 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 4 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 5 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 6 File online and pay $100 with a credit card (fastest) or mail in duplicate to the Corporations Division at 2 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SE, Suite 313 West Tower, Atlanta GA 30334 with a check or money order for $100

How Long Does it Take to Start a Georgia Corporation?

1

Fastest (and Crazy Expensive) 1 day

If you absolutely need your Articles processed ASAP and have deep, deep pockets, you can get 1-hour service for an extra THOUSAND dollars. Same-day service is an extra $250, which seems almost like a bargain in comparison.

2

Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 2 days

2-day expediting is a much more reasonable $100.

5-12

Not Too Shabby 5-12 days

Submit your Georgia Articles of Incorporation without any expediting and get your approval in a week or so.

What is the Cost of a Georgia Corporation?

Georgia’s Corporations Division charges $100 to file your Articles of Incorporation. Hire Northwest and your total out-the-door cost is $325 ($425 with 2-day expediting), including state filing fees.

Note: Your Georgia corporation will quickly encounter two additional start-up costs: $40 to publish a notice of intent in a local paper and $50 to file an Initial Report.

What are a Georgia Corporation’s Publishing Requirements?

At the time of filing (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.

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How Much Does a Corporation in Georgia Cost Each Year?

$50. This is the filing fee to submit your Georgia Annual Report.

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 as your registered agent, we send you reminder notifications for your Annual Reports. Or, save yourself some headache and paperwork and hire us to file your reports for you each year.

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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%.

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a Georgia Corporation?

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.

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Georgia Corporation Versus Georgia LLC:

While filing fees and Annual Report costs are the same for both Georgia corporations and LLCs, corporations have $90 in extra start-up fees ($50 Initial Report and $40 newspaper notice). While tax obligations usually depend more on tax elections than entity types, Georgia’s net worth tax makes things a little tougher for corporations—pretty much all corporations, even those with S corp elections, have to pay this tax. LLCs taxed as partnerships or disregarded entities, however, are free from the state’s net worth tax.

With taxes and fees hitting Georgia corporations a little harder, why choose a Georgia corporation? Corporations have a few distinct advantages. Unlike LLCs, corporations have been around for hundreds of years, so they’re generally better understood (and better trusted). Their long history also means many more court precedents, so it’s easier to anticipate how any legal cases would play out in the courtroom. Stocks also give corporations options LLCs don’t have. Corporations can offer investors perks like preferred stock, and corporations can even become publicly traded. All this together makes corporations popular choices for large businesses or those that hope to scale quickly. LLCs are a little cheaper and a little simpler—easier for small businesses. Considering a Georgia LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Georgia.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Georgia Corporation?

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.

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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).

Does a Georgia Corporation 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. 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.

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.

What is the Georgia Corporation Statute?

Georgia Code – Title 14, Chapter 2 Business Corporations

Georgia Corporation Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

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.”

Authorized Shares

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.

Registered Agent

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.

Registered Office

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.

Georgia Incorporator

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.

Principal Office

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.

Transmittal Form

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).

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