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How to get a business license in Georgia?

Georgia has one of the top pro-business environments in the nation thus making it a favorite amongst new business owners. To operate a new business in the state, there are initially two important requirements, which are to register the business and obtain a Georgia business license. This article has been created to help you understand the different types of licenses and permits required in the state, the process to obtain them, the issuing authorities, fees, and Georgia business license renewal.

Business License in Georgia

A Georgia business license is a specific document that is issued by the state government, other government agencies, city or local county. This is also considered a permit and grants a company to operate or transact at a specific geographic location within the state. Each state has its own laws, regulations, and requirements when it comes to applying for and issuance of a license or permit. Some states have general business licenses while others have local licenses. The defining factor for the type of license or permit required is mostly business activity but in some states like Georgia, the licensing requirement and type is based on the location as well.

What business license do I need in Georgia?

In order to understand how to obtain a Georgia business license, it is important to identify whether you really need a license and if yes then what are the types of licenses or permits applicable. Unlike some of the other states like Delaware or Washington; Georgia doesn’t have a state-level general business license. Since every new or existing business in the state requires an operating license or even a permit. Some of the factors that play a key role in defining the need for a Georgia business licenses are:

  • If you are planning to start a retail business then you will require a sales tax permit or sellers permit
  • If your profession falls under those specified by the professional licensing board like athletic training, Security Company, or landscape artist then a professional license would be required from the appropriate licensing board.
  • Different counties and cities in Georgia have their own licensing regulations and requirements e.g., if your business is situated in Cobb County then you will require Occupation Tax Certificate as well as Zoning sign-off.

Want to know more about what Business Licenses you need in Georgia?

Seller’s Permit in Georgia

One of the important forms of Georgia business license that specific entities would require in the state is the seller’s permit. This type of permit as the name suggests is required by any business new or existing that sells or buys tangible goods in the state. If you are an entity or an individual selling online including e-commerce, through retail, or wholesale; you will need to obtain a sales and use tax number in Georgia pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-8-2. The seller’s permit is a small business license in Georgia that you can obtain after registering for sales and can use tax numbers online using the Georgia Tax Center (GTC).

There is no fee for applying for a seller’s permit in Georgia and once you obtain it there is no need for Georgia business license renewal. You will need to provide specific information including entity type, business activity information, and withholding information among others.

Georgia Business Licenses for Specific Occupations and Professions

One of the important forms of Georgia business license and permits is those associated with specific occupations and professions. Different people with specific skill sets pursue professionals based on such skill sets and these professions can pave the door for small businesses or startups. There are several state agencies responsible for certifying and licensing a wide variety of professionals, which can vary according to the industry and the state organization. The best place to conduct a Georgia business license search for professions is with the Professional Licensing Boards Division governed by the office of the Secretary of State (SOS).

There are several categories of professions or industries that require a small business license in Georgia. Some of the top professions licensed by the Professional Licensing Boards of Georgia are:

  • Architects & Interior Designers
  • Athletic & Entertainment Commission
  • Conditioned Air Contractors
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Landscape Architects
  • Long-Term Care Facility Administrators
  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants
  • Professional Counselor or Social Worker
  • Private Detectives & Security Agencies
  • Immigration Assistance

If your profession is as a real estate agent and you are planning to start a firm then you will need to apply with the Georgia Real Estate Commission & Appraisers Board for a Georgia business license.

Where Can I Apply For a Business License in Georgia?

The issuing authority for Georgia business licenses and permits differ according to the type of business activity, the profession, and the location of the company. Hence, it is important to conduct a Georgia business license search to identify the type of license or permit required and accordingly apply for it with the appropriate authority. The most important type of license is the business tax certificate.

A business tax certificate is a type of small business license in Georgia that is also known as a local license or county license. The issuing authority is the county clerk’s office or Business Licensing agencies in the city where your business is based. You will need to conduct a Georgia business license search for identifying the type of license and then apply with the right authority. In some counties, this may also be known as the occupation tax certificate or certificate of occupancy. Let’s look at an example to understand this.

Example: If you start a small business in the City of Atlanta then you will need to apply for a business tax certificate. You may also need to apply for regulatory permits prior to applying for the certificate. You need to conduct a Georgia business license search using the regulatory permit directory to determine whether such a license or permit is required. If you are planning to sell alcoholic beverages then you will apply for a permit with the Atlanta Police Department – License and Permit Unit and similarly, if you plan to start a Pet Grooming (Kennel) then you will need to apply with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

It is important to note that all business licenses normally will expire by December 31 each year and you have to apply for Georgia business license renewal.

How Do I Get More Information About Business Licensing in Georgia?

When you start a small business in Georgia, your licensing requirements can be different from other businesses in the same industry. You may need to apply for single or multiple Georgia business licenses but it always helps to know the type of licenses required by your company. There are several resources that can help you in this endeavor including the first stop business guide by the office of the Secretary of State. You can also check the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department 295 for details on licensing procedures in the state and Georgia business license renewal or expiration.

Need any Assistance in Obtaining Your Georgia Business License?

If you are planning to start a new business in Georgia then one of the primary requirements is to ensure you obtain a Georgia business license. Licenses or permits will provide you with the necessary authority to conduct business in the state. The type of license will depend on the type of business activity, location, and even profession or occupation.

The process and requirements of Georgia business licensing may look complex and this is where IncParadise can help you. We offer a “Business License Research Report” service, which constitutes detailed information about licensing in Georgia like filing instructions and supporting document requirements. We also provide several additional services to new and existing businesses in the state.

Do you need help with a Georgia Business License?