Forming an LLC in Georgia
Georgia is popular as one of the best states for a startup due to the access businesses have to reliable infrastructure, skilled workforce, high state credit ratings, and low taxes. If you are planning to form a Georgia LLC then there are several processes involved in the registration and the operational aspect of the business. The relevant processes as mentioned below will not only help you to fulfill all Georgia LLC filing requirements but also enable you run your business smoothly.
1. Choosing a Georgia LLC name
The first step towards Georgia LLC registration is identifying a name for your company. It is never an easy process to choose a company name but you can use business name generator tools for this purpose. You need to also ensure compliance with Georgia LLC filing requirements for a name as governed by the 2020 Georgia Code, Chapter 11 – Limited Liability Companies. The naming guidelines to follow are:
- The chosen name should contain “limited liability company”, “limited company” or abbreviations like L.L.C or LLC pursuant to Georgia LLC rules – GA Code § 14-11-207 (2020).
- The business name should be distinguishable from the names of any other business entity that exists in the records of the Secretary of State including foreign corporations and foreign limited liability companies. This is possible through a Georgia LLC search.
- The chosen name should not exceed 80 characters and this includes spaces and punctuation.
Once you have identified a business name; you need to conduct a Georgia LLC search also known as the name availability search. If your chosen name is available then you will be required to apply for a reservation of the specified name according to Georgia LLC filing online requirements. You can submit a name reservation request form with the office of the Georgia Secretary of State. The name can be reserved for a period of 30 days and the filing fee is $25.
2. Choose Georgia LLC registered agent
There is a process involved for Georgia LLC filing online and this requires documentation as stated by the office of the Secretary of State. You will need to ensure correct information is provided and have to also maintain compliance with all state laws. As an entrepreneur or first time business owner, the process may be complex and this is where a reputable Georgia LLC registered agent like IncParadise can assist you.
In order to initiate the process of Georgia LLC registration, you will need to designate and continuously maintain a registered agent in the state pursuant to GA Code § 14-11-209 (2020). IncParadise can be your Georgia LLC registered agent as we are committed to handling the service of process as required by the Georgia Code or statutes and can also assist with the process of forming a new LLC as well as help you fulfill all annual requirements of the state.
3. File certificate of formation and transmittal form
The most important Georgia LLC filing requirements are the new business formation documents. You will be required to prepare and then submit the Articles of Organization pursuant to GA Code § 14-11-204 (2020). You can choose the Georgia LLC filing online option or the articles can be hand-delivered or mailed to the Corporations Division. The filing fee for online submission is $100 and the fee for submitting in person or through the mail is $110.
Whether you have opted for Georgia LLC filing online option or by hand, you will also be required to submit a Transmittal form also known as a transmittal document. It is basically a collection of information pertaining to the business like:
- LLC Name Reservation Number
- LLC name
- Principal Office Mailing Address
- Name and address of Georgia LLC registered agent
- Name and Address of Each Organizer
There is no additional fee for filing the transmittal form. The articles have to be submitted along with a filing fee and the transmittal form with the Corporations Division. It is important to ensure proper information is provided in the articles and on the transmittal form and IncParadise can help you with the process. We have a team of experts, who are well versed with state laws, regulations, and requirements and this will help you save time and also form your new business efficiently.
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4. Prepare Georgia LLC operating agreement
An LLC operating agreement is a type of legal document, which helps members of a said company to create an outline of the LLC’s standard operational procedures. If you are planning to form a Georgia LLC then you will need to ensure an operating agreement is in place before you register your company. This document is not legally required by the state but having it can help protect the business operations.
Whether you are planning to file an LLC in Georgia as a single-member or a multi-member LLC, the operating agreement should address key areas like:
- Organization and ownership
- Management and voting
- Capital contribution
- Profit and loss distribution
- Future changes to the membership structure
5. Obtain an EIN for Georgia LLC
When you file for Georgia LLC registration and the company is formed, one of the key areas is preparing and filing annual taxes. In order to file taxes and depending on the type of business structure, you will require a Social Security number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN). The latter is applicable for most businesses including a limited liability company and is also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). The EIN is a unique nine-digit number that is assigned to businesses by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can apply for this number before or after you file an LLC in Georgia.
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6. Check local licenses and permits
Georgia is known to have one of the best business climates and low taxes, which are two important reasons that attract entrepreneurs to form a new business in the state. The big question is what happens post Georgia LLC registration. First time business owners may feel that registering a business will help them transact in the state but that is not true. Apart from fulfilling Georgia LLC filing requirements, you will need to obtain licenses and permits in the state. A business license will help you make your company operational. The licenses and permits applicable in Georgia are as follows:
7. Open Georgia LLC bank account
A business bank account plays an important role in the growth and expansion of a business. When you form a Georgia LLC, you will be making different forms of transactions as well as different expenditures and earnings. A business checking account will allow you to keep track of all transactions including business expenses and also simplify tax reporting. It is ideal to open a business bank account for your company after you file an LLC in Georgia or after getting your Employer Identification Number (EIN). One of the salient aspects of this type of banking account is that it can protect the owner’s liability by ensuring personal and business funds are kept separate.
8. File Georgia reports and taxes
Once you file for Georgia LLC registration and obtain the necessary business licenses and permits, the next step is to ensure all annual state compliances are met. There are primarily two important annual requirements and they are:
- Annual Registration – If you file an LLC in Georgia then it is important to complete state annual registration. It is similar to filing an annual report and has to be filed with the office of the Secretary of State each year. The due date for filing the annual registration is between January 1 and April 1 each year and the filing fee is $50 for a Georgia LLC.
- LLC Taxes – Once you form a Georgia LLC, you may be required to file different types of taxes depending on the type of business or business activity. The most common is the state business tax. Since an LLC is a pass-through tax entity, the taxes would be filed by the owner or members instead of the business. If your company has employees then you will be required to file state employer taxes and if you are selling goods to customers in the state then sales and use tax will also be applicable.