The process of forming an LLC in Georgia can seem daunting at first. But with proper knowledge and guidance, it’s a pretty straightforward process.
This step-by-step article will teach you how to form an LLC in Georgia, from choosing a name for your business to opening a bank and credit account. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin.
Choose a Name for Your Georgia LLC
Choosing a name for your business is the first and most crucial step in forming your LLC in Georgia. We recommend choosing a name that is easy to pronounce and remember. Even more importantly, the name must comply with Georgia naming rules and requirements:
- Your company name must include L.L.C., LLC, or Limited Liability Company
- The chosen name must not include phrases and words that may not confuse your Georgia LLC with government agencies like the FBI, State Department, treasury, etc
- Restricted words like bank, university, attorney, etc. may need additional paperwork
- Your Georgia LLC should be unique and distinguishable from any limited partnership, corporation, limited liability partnership, or other LLC
You can learn more about the Georgia naming rules and guidelines and file a name reservation on the Georgia Secretary of State website for $25.
Check name availability in Georgia.
You should also do an LLC name search via the Georgia Secretary of State’s website to ensure that the chosen name is not already taken by another individual or LLC.
Check the URL availability in Georgia.
It is also vital to check if the name of your Georgia LLC is available as a web domain name. A website is a core piece of marketing collateral for any modern business, so it’s important to be able to secure one for your business in a format like:
Hire a Registered Agent
Hiring a reliable registered agent is vital to the long-term success of your LLC in Georgia.
A registered agent is a business utility or person officially designated to receive and review legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
It is a legal requirement in Georgia to have a registered agent. It ensures that all legal documents, such as official government notices, summons, or lawsuits, are promptly delivered to the appropriate recipient. This is critical as it helps your business to avoid a lawsuit and meet significant deadlines.
When hiring a registered agent in Georgia, make sure they meet the following requirements:
- Must be available at all regular business hours to receive, review, and accept legal documents
- Must have a physical address in Georgia. A post office box address may not be sufficient.
We have reviewed below the top three registered agents that you can hire:
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent provides some of the most affordable and reliable registered agent services and many other LLC formation services. They provide everything you would require in a registered agent service, including the following benefits:
- Same-day local scans
- Free mail forwarding
- Document storage and scanning
- Annual report reminder
- Pre-filled state forms.
Northwest registered agent has corporate guides that give users ongoing support. Their expert assistance to start and maintain an LLC goes beyond the traditional scope of a registered agent.
Northwest Registered Agent charges an annual fee of $125 for its registered agent services.
ZenBusiness is one of the most reputable and widely-known names in the LLC formation industry. While ZenBusiness is popular for its top business formation services, it also offers quality registered agent services at an annual cost of $199.
If you use ZenBusiness to form your LLC in Georgia, it would also make sense to use their registered agent services. ZenBusiness’ registered agent services add a protection and privacy layer to your LLC and ensure you comply with state laws.
The company will receive, review, and accept all essential legal documents on behalf of your LLC. Then, everything will be uploaded on their intuitive dashboard for you to view, download, and print.
Incfile is an award-winning company formation service with a wide range of offerings — and that includes a registered agent service. Better still, if you use Incfile to set up your LLC in Georgia, you will receive a one-year free registered agent service.
The features you get with Incfile as a registered agent include the following:
- Automatic mail forwarding
- Intuitive and user-friendly online dashboard
- 24/7 online access
- SMS and email alert when documents are received
The standard cost of registered agent services with Incfile is $119.
Register Your Business
To register a business in Georgia, you must file an Article of Organization. You can file the document via mail, online, or in-person delivery.
If you file your Article of Organization online, you must visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. You will be charged an online filing fee of $100. If you file your LLC’s article of organization via mail, include the transmittal information form (PDF)(491 KB) and provide the following details:
- Business name and address of your LLC
- Names and addresses of all members and managers
- Name and address of the appointed or hired registered agent.
- Length of duration for your LLC
- Your signature
You can also register your business in person by visiting the office of the Georgia Corporations Division. Remember that the office is only open on working days from Monday to Friday, and the working hours are from 8 am to 5 pm.
Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement outlines the operating procedures and ownership of your LLC. While having a comprehensive operating agreement in Georgia is not required, we recommend creating one. This is because it provides a detailed and clear plan for how you will make decisions and run your business.
It can also assist in preventing disputes and misunderstandings among business owners. For example, if one of the business owners decides to leave, a well-drafted operating agreement will outline how their ownership interest will be handled.
When creating an operating agreement for your Georgia LLC, you must include the following information:
- The profit distribution plan
- Ownership percentage for each member of the LLC
- Responsibilities and roles of each member
- Addresses and names of the managers and members of the LLC
Obtain all Licenses and Permits
Depending on the business activities and location of your Georgia business, you will be required to obtain state and local business permits and/or licenses for your Georgia LLC.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s licensing page allows small business enthusiasts and owners to search for a facility or individual license. Next, you must submit a license application for your new business. You can also use this page for the following:
- Transfer permits and licenses
- Renew existing permits and licenses
- Any other amendments/changes to your permit and licenses
If you need help obtaining all the relevant licenses and permits for your Georgia LLC, you can use the business license compliance package by MyCorporation. Their skilled experts will do all the work for you, including identifying the required licenses and permits and offering all the information needed to obtain the license.
Acquire Federal and State Tax IDs
The IRS requires any Georgia business that files employment tax returns or has employees to have a federal and state tax ID. It is also needed to complete other essential LLC functions, such as managing state taxes, hiring employees, and opening a bank account.
A federal and state tax ID acts as a unique identifier for an official tax form, similar to what an SSN (Social Security number) does for single-member business owners.
Acquiring a federal and state ID for your Georgia LLC is straightforward and free. You only need to visit the IRS website. However, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- As an individual, you must have a valid taxpayer ID, such as a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Must have principal business operations in Georgia
Open Business Bank and Credit Accounts
It is now time to open a business bank and credit account under your Georgia LLC’s name.
Opening a separate business bank and credit account for your LLC in Georgia is essential from a legal standpoint. It prevents the LLC’s assets from mixing with your personal assets, thus protecting your personal liability.
Having a separate business bank and credit account for your LLC in Georgia also means easier record-keeping for tax and accounting purposes.
Every bank in Georgia has its own regulations and rules on opening a business bank and credit account. Therefore, you should contact them in advance to learn about the monthly maintenance fee (if any) and the minimum initial deposit amount.
The following banks are highly regarded in the state:
You will need the following documents to open a business bank and credit account in Georgia:
- A stamped and approved certificate of organization
- Federal and state tax ID letter from the IRS
- The operating agreement for your Georgia LLC
- An LLC resolution
Purchase Georgia Business Insurance
It is a requirement in Georgia to purchase relevant business insurance policies for your LLC.
The most common business insurance policies you should purchase for your Georgia LLC include the following:
- General liability insurance: You can expect to spend around $42 per month for this insurance policy. It covers your Georgia LLC from the high costs of lawsuits and covers common business risks.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: You can expect to pay around $45 per month for this insurance policy. It covers your employees against work-related illness and injuries.
- Commercial property insurance: You can expect to pay around $67 per month for this insurance policy. It covers the physical location of your business and other business assets & properties.
Buy an LLC Formation Package to Speed Up the Process
While forming an LLC in Georgia on your own is pretty straightforward, it can be incredibly time consuming. Fortunately, you can speed up the process by purchasing an LLC formation package.
Forming your LLC in Georgia does not have to be complicated or stressful. You can leverage one of the best LLC formation service providers, such as LegalZoom, Northwest Registered Agent, Incfile, and ZenBusiness.
With an LLC formation package, you will get the following services and features:
- LLC operating agreement templates
- Tax advisory and preparation services
- Registered agent services
- Assistance to apply for federal and state tax ID
- An easy-to-use dashboard to store and view all documents
- Live expert assistance.
The good thing with the LLC formation packages in Georgia is that you will get a money-back guarantee if the following happens:
- You fail to be satisfied with the LLC formation services
- The state (Georgia) refuses your filing.
FAQs About Forming an LLC in Georgia
How Long Will It Take to Form My Georgia LLC?
You can form an LLC in Georgia in 7-10 working days if you file your Article of Organization online. However, if you file by mail, you can expect it to be processed in 4 to 5 weeks. If you want your LLC in Georgia to be formed faster, you can pay for expedited processing.
How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an LLC in Georgia?
To set up your Georgia LLC, you must file an Article of Organization with the Georgia Corporation Division. The filing fee by mail is $100, and $110 for in-person delivery (the extra $10 covers the charges for paper filing services).
Can I Act as my Own Registered Agent in Georgia?
You can act as your own registered agent, provided you live in Georgia. The state also allows a friend or family member to act as your registered agent. Moreover, if you run a multi-member LLC in Georgia, you can pick one member to act as your LLC’s registered agent.
Can I Form a Single-Member LLC in Georgia?
You can form a single-member LLC in Georgia. However, in the eyes of the law, you will be indistinguishable from your business. And if your single-member LLC gets sued or defaults on a loan, the Georgia courts will confiscate your personal assets to settle your balance.
Forming an LLC in Georgia is a fairly easy process that you can complete in just a few steps. You can take advantage of the ample supportive resources available in Georgia, such as template forms and step-by-step guides, to simplify the paperwork process.
But if it all gets too much, you can always use one of our recommended LLC formation service providers to handle all of the paperwork.