How to Start an LLC in Georgia (2023)

How to Start an LLC in Georgia (2023)

Each state’s requirements for forming an LLC are unique. Below, we outline the steps needed to start an LLC in Georgia.

Step 1: Name your Georgia LLC

The first step to starting your own Georgia LLC is to choose a business name. Under state law, each LLC must have a unique name so that it can be distinguished from any other company registered with the Secretary of State. Georgia has strict rules about what makes a name “distinctive.” For example, names are not distinguishable on the basis of punctuation alone, so “XYZ, LLC” is indistinguishable from “XYZ, LLC.” You can search the business name database within the Georgia Corporations Division to determine if your name is unique.

Additionally, Georgia restricts certain words in business names. For example, you cannot include the word “bank” in your business name unless you have written approval from your state Department of Banking and Finance. Similar approvals are needed for terms such as “insurance” (approval from the Office of the Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner required) and “college” or “university” (approval from the Commission on Nonpublic Postsecondary Education required).

Step 2: Designate a registered agent for your Georgia LLC

Georgia requires every LLC to have a registered agent, a type of official corporate “mailbox” that can accept official correspondence on behalf of the LLC. A registered agent can be a person or entity with a physical address in the state. An LLC cannot act as its own registered agent, and no owner, officer, member, or shareholder of an LLC can act as its registered agent.

There are registered agent services you can use to do this job for you. In Georgia, the following entities may serve as the registered agent for a domestic LLC: a domestic corporation, a domestic LLC, a foreign corporation or an LLC with a certificate of authority to do business in Georgia. To qualify as a registered agent, the entity must have a street address within the state. PO Box cannot be used as a registered agent.

Step 3: Submit Articles of Organization

To officially register your business in the state of Georgia, you will need to file Articles of Organization. This document requires you to provide information such as the name of the LLC, filer’s name and address, business office address, names and signatures of all members (owners) of the LLC, and name and address of the registered agent. To register online, you will need to set up a user account on the Secretary of State’s Online Services page. Once registered, click “Create or Register a Business” and select a local LLC. You will also be required to pay a $100 application fee for online submissions.

You also have the option of submitting organizational materials by mail or hand-delivering them. In this case, you will have to pay a registration fee of $110; The additional $10 is a paper filing service fee. If you file manually or by mail, you will also have to complete an additional submission form. This covers basic information about the LLC, including the business name, the name and address of the person filing the articles of association, the LLC’s mailing address, the name and address of the registered agent, as well as the names and addresses of all LLC organizers.

Step 4: Write an operating agreement

The operating agreement provides basic information about how the LLC is organized and managed. While Georgia does not require LLCs to create operating agreements (unlike some states), it is a good idea to draft one. This document can help confirm the limited liability status of your LLC and clear up verbal terms between you and other LLC members. Once the LLC members sign the document, it can be considered a binding contract.

Most LLC operating agreements cover points such as members’ equity, voting rights, and corresponding obligations of the company. An LLC operating agreement can also cover technical points such as profit and loss distributions and buying and selling rules. If you’re not sure what to include in an LLC operating agreement, a business attorney can help you draft one.

Step 5: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is necessary for businesses to hire employees and complete tax paperwork. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), and you’ll have to add yours to all IRS paperwork you complete from now on. You can get your unique Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. They prefer to apply online, but you can also apply by mail, fax, or phone. You may also need to register your business with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). Their online tool can help you determine which business taxes you may need to file and pay.

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