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, before the LLC is ready to do business in Georgia, you must complete several additional steps...
Everything You Need to Know About Georgia LLCs:
Georgia LLC Formation Options
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How to Start an LLC in Georgia
To create an LLC in Georgia, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The articles cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Georgia LLC.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit Georgia Corporations Division Business Search and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Georgia Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Georgia LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Georgia LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. Prefer to start a business on a budget? Pay just $45 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
NOTE: Georgia requires a LLC Transmittal Form to accompany paper Articles of Organization. On this form, you’re basically asked to include everything you’d find on the online form (but which the very limited paper articles skip over). This includes email, LLC name, name and address of person filing articles, principal office mailing address, registered agent name and street address, name and address of organizer, printed name and signature of authorizer.
1. Company Name
You have to include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” The name cannot be currently in use in the state of Georgia, and cannot 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.
2. Effective Date
Do you want your business to start right away? Check the box that says so. Otherwise, you can have your business start up to 90 days in the future—useful if you’re nearing the end of a tax year. (This section appears much later on the online form.)
3. Georgia LLC Authorizer
Someone has to include their name and then 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. (This section also appears much later on the online form.)
4. Business Purpose
Online only. The business purpose is identified by a NAICS Code, which is a numerical identifier for specific business types. Choose whichever selection best fits your business, or select “Unknown” or “Any legal purpose” if you don’t want to get specific.
5. Principal Office Address
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.
6. Business Email
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. When you hire us, you can use our email here.
7. Registered Agent
Your Georgia LLC registered agent can be an individual Georgia resident such as yourself, or it can be a business like Northwest. An email address and Georgia street address are required in addition to the name. Hire Northwest and our information goes here (and on your public annual reports) while yours stays off the public record.
8. Optional Provisions
Online, there’s a section for optional provisions, which can include anything permitted by Georgia law. For instance, if you wanted to go into more detail about your company’s purpose, that would go here.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Georgia LLC?
Professionals in Georgia hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. We have an office Roswell, GA. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Corporations Division. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Roswell registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Atlanta, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Georgia.
What Do I Do After My Georgia LLC Is Formed?
After your Georgia Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does a Georgia LLC need an EIN?
Most likely. You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account, and an EIN is often needed with you register with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
For more on Georgia operating agreements (including free Georgia operating agreement templates), see our Georgia LLC Operating Agreement resource.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Georgia LLC?
An LLC operating agreement is not a requirement under Georgia law. Various state statutes discuss an operating agreement’s potential scope, though they do not dictate the legal necessity of such an agreement.
That said, an operating agreement isn’t just annoying paperwork. It’s one of your LLC’s most important internal documents. GA Code § 14-11-1107 says that “maximum effect” will be given to the enforceability of operating agreements—so, while they’re not legally required, they have the ability to yield a lot of power. Creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events from mergers to dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
Profits, losses, and distributions
Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
Transfer of membership interest
Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Georgia law. For example, if you want to change how managers are appointed—O.C.G.A. § 14-11-304 states that 50% member approval is required—this should be addressed in your operating agreement.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my 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 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. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Georgia laws.
File Georgia Reports & Taxes
Georgia LLCs are required to file a state report each year. This report is basically an information update you file so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Georgia LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Georgia Annual Report fee?
The fee for the Georgia Annual Report (also known as the “annual registration”) is $50 online or $60 on paper. You’re charged an extra $25 if you file late. If your annual report is more than 60 days late, your LLC will be administratively dissolved.
When is the Georgia Annual Report due?
Your Georgia Annual Report is due between January 1 and April 1 each year.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Georgia LLC taxes?
Georgia has a marginal personal income tax with six brackets. However, the majority of income meets a tax rate of 5.75%, as this applies to all income over $7,000. The state also has a 4% sales tax—although cities and counties can add their own local sales taxes. Atlanta is home to the highest sales tax in the state at 8.9%, though the state average is 7.091%.
If your LLC is taxed as an S or C-corp, you’ll be subject to the state’s corporate net income tax (5.75%) and net worth tax (for businesses with net worth over $100,000; those with a slimmer net worth will still need to file an initial net worth return). But, most LLCs don’t need to worry about any of these taxes, as LLCs are taxed as partnerships by default. Partnerships aren’t subject to either the corporate tax or the net worth tax. Yay!
While you revel in the glory of (probably) not needing to pay Georgia’s corporate tax, let us make your LLC official. At Northwest, we can form your Georgia LLC for as low as $325. Or, pay just $37 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Georgia Department Of Revenue?
Most likely. Some common reasons you’ll need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue include paying business-related taxes, needing alcohol/tobacco permitting/licensing, or having employees. You can register online with the Georgia Tax Center.
Georgia LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Georgia LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Georgia articles online or by mail. (In-person filings are suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Mailed Articles of Organization must be submitted along with a completed Transmittal Form to the following address:
2 MLK, Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
What is the Transmittal Form?
The paper form of Georgia’s LLC Articles of Organization is pretty sparse, but that’s just because it needs to be accompanied by the Transmittal Form (Form CD 231). The Transmittal Form essentially asks for the same information as the online Articles of Organization: email, LLC name, name and address of person filing articles, principal office mailing address, registered agent name and street address, name and address of organizer, printed name and signature of authorizer.
How much does it cost to start a Georgia LLC?
The filing fee for your Georgia LLC Articles of Organization is $100. Add $10 if you submit a paper filing. If you want to expedite your filing, it costs an extra $100 for 2-day processing and $250 for same-day processing. Mailed and in-person filings (when available) can be expedited in one hour for a whopping $1,000.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $325 ($425 for 3-day expediting). This includes state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Georgia LLC up and running. Or, pay just $45 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Georgia LLC?
Online filings average 7 business days for processing but can take longer. Mailed filings take much longer—generally 15 business days.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Georgia LLC formed within 12 business days.
Does a Georgia LLC need a business license?
There is no general statewide business license requirement in Georgia. However, some industries and professions require state-level licensing, and cities and counties may require their own licenses, as well. For example, all businesses operating within the city limits of Atlanta are required to obtain a general business license (and pay $125 in fees). Savannah calls its business license a Business Tax Certificate, and requires all businesses in the city to obtain one (and pay a corresponding fee based on gross receipts).
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can a Georgia LLC help me live more privately?
Yes, a Georgia LLC can help you reduce your public footprint. For instance, you can maintain a significant degree of address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Georgia LLC?
A foreign Georgia LLC is any LLC formed outside of Georgia but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Alabama but wanted to conduct business in Georgia as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Georgia by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Georgia annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Georgia LLC for you today!
How can I get a Georgia phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Georgia LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $45 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Georgia Articles of Organization and send them to the Secretary of State Corporations Division for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division has approved your filing, we notify you that your Georgia LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.