Moving Your Business to Georgia
There is new business formation and then there is the relocation of an existing business into another state. Relocation of a business can happen due to several reasons although the most common is to find a better environment or infrastructure for business success. Moving your business to Georgia has many benefits apart from the fact that the state offers one of the best business climates to operate in. This guide focuses on relocation and answers the question – does Georgia allow domestication or relocation? The guide also throws light on various benefits of relocation to this state and the ways you can move your LLC or Corporation to Georgia.
Georgia is home to 18 companies on the Fortune 500 list and 33 Fortune 1000 companies. Atlanta is the headquarters for 14 Fortune 500 companies thus ranking it 4th in the list of cities with the most Fortune 500 headquarters and ahead of Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco. Consistent economic development and constantly evolving innovation platforms are considered as primary drivers for entrepreneurs to relocate a business to Georgia. The state continues to outgrow and outpace several other states when it comes to business, technology, and quality of life. Let’s look at some of the business benefits in Georgia that have motivated small business owners and entrepreneurs to move their businesses there.
One of the important reasons for moving your business to Georgia is a variety of incentives and credits that a startup can leverage. The state is popular for several types of taxation benefits right from tax credits to exemptions. The business benefits in Georgia where taxation is concerned include the following:
- Sales Tax and Use Tax Exemption – This is a tax benefit that will help businesses that are purchasing or operating specific machinery.
- Inventory Tax Exemption – This is a form of exemption where you will not be required to pay property taxes if you hold your inventory in a warehouse or a factory. It will be applicable post entity domestication in Georgia.
- Job Tax Credit – This is one of the most common forms of tax benefit that you can leverage after you relocate a business to Georgia. Your business needs to be in specific industries for the same like warehousing, manufacturing, broadcasting, telecommunications, research, and tourism among others.
- Port Tax Credit Bonus – If your company deals with imports or exports through a Georgia port then you can avail of this tax credit.
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit program (WOTC) – After moving your business to Georgia, if your company employs veterans, ex-felons, or hires summer youth employees then you will be able to participate in this program.
- Retraining Tax Credit – One of the business benefits in Georgia is that you can avail of an annual tax credit of approximately $1,250 per employee towards teaching materials, instructors, and travel expenses.
When you relocate a business to Georgia, one of the factors that will determine the success of your business is its employees. Every company small or medium sized wants to employ the most talented workforce as it helps in generating a better ROI. Georgia takes pride in the fact that talent is one of the renewable resources in the state with the city of Atlanta having gained popularity in providing some of the best tech talent in the nation.
This phenomenon has been achieved due to the collaborative approach of the state towards workforce development, which has been made possible through top class educational programs, several state-sponsored training facilities, and nationally-ranked universities and colleges. Whether you transfer LLC to Georgia or relocate your corporation, you will never face any dearth of a talented and skilled workforce.
Business incentives and assistance
One of the top benefits of moving your business to Georgia is that you can qualify for a variety of business incentives and small business assistance programs offered by the state. If you are planning to form a startup then there are several financial assistance programs that you can leverage including grants and loans. The objective of these programs is to help you in establishing your company in the startup phase and accelerate to achieve intended growth through the operational stage. Some of the popular programs that you can benefit from after entity domestication in Georgia include:
- Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA)
- State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)
- Strategic Industries Loan Program
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
- The Georgia Micro Enterprise Network (GMEN) Program
- Green Loans
- Entrepreneur & Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
- Enterprise Zone program
- Employment Incentive Program (EIP)
- Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF)
Domesticating Your Company in Georgia
If you have an existing business and want to move your business from the state of registration to a different state then it would require you to undergo the process of domestication. The question is does Georgia allow domestication? The answer is that as of now, there are no provisions in the state under which entity domestication will be possible. If you are wondering if it is at all possible to relocate a business to Georgia then the answer is yes. There are other options like Georgia Foreign Qualification or dissolving your entity in the formation state and registering as a new company in Georgia.
Steps to Move Corporation to Georgia
If you are thinking of moving a corporation to Georgia then there is a process that you will need to undergo. The documentation, registration application, and fee will depend on the process you have chosen to relocate a business to Georgia. Let us look at the processes in detail.
Register as a Foreign Corporation
If you already own a corporation in another state and want to move your business to Georgia then the first option is to register it as a foreign corporation. This option is beneficial if your primary goal of moving your business to Georgia is simply business expansion and you want to operate the company in the home state (state or jurisdiction of incorporation) as well as the new state.
The formation of a foreign corporation also known as foreign qualification is governed by the 2020 Georgia Code, Article 15 – Foreign Corporations. The process for moving a corporation to Georgia as a foreign entity will include the following steps:
- You will need to designate a Georgia registered agent for handling the service and process
- You will require a name for the foreign corporation or even a valid name reservation number
- You can conduct a business name search to check the availability of the existing name
- You can also register a Doing Business As (DBA) or a trade name in Georgia
- You will have to file the Application for a certificate of authority pursuant to GA Code § 14-2-1503 (2020)
- You will also need to submit a certificate of existence or certificate of good standing issued by your home state
Do you want to move your corporation to Georgia?
Dissolve the home Corporation and establish a new Corporation in Georgia
The state of Georgia doesn’t allow domestication and hence you will not be able to shift your corporation’s charter to this state. The only way you can relocate a business to Georgia is to dissolve the corporation in your charter state and form a new corporation in this state.
The laws of dissolution can vary from one state to another but since it is a statutory procedure, you will be required to settle liabilities, fulfill state tax and annual report obligations, and file documents necessary for dissolution. If your home state or charter state is California then you will need to file a Certificate of Dissolution in the home state for moving a corporation to Georgia.
Once dissolved, you can file the paperwork necessary for forming a domestic corporation in Georgia. You will need the following:
- Hire a registered agent in the state
- Reserve a business name
- File Articles of Incorporation
- Publish a notice of intent to file articles of incorporation
- Apply for the appropriate business or professional licenses
Steps to Move an LLC to Georgia
Sometimes a company has to move from one state to another and there may be many reasons for the same like lower taxes, lower cost of doing business, or better infrastructure and markets among others. If you are already operating a limited liability company and want to transfer your LLC to Georgia then there are two processes by which this will be possible.
Register as a foreign LLC
One of the ways to move your business to Georgia is through the process of foreign qualification also known as registering a foreign entity. When you register as a foreign company in Georgia, you will be able to operate your business in both the states, i.e., the home state (state of LLC formation) and the new state (Georgia). Entrepreneurs prefer foreign qualifications as a way of moving an LLC to Georgia when they intend to expand their businesses to newer markets.
Foreign qualification Georgia is governed by the 2020 Georgia Code, Article 7 – Foreign Limited Liability Companies. When you are moving an LLC to Georgia as a foreign entity, you will be required to follow state laws and maintain annual compliances in the state. In order to register a foreign LLC, you will need to do the following:
- You will be required to maintain a Georgia registered agent in the state pursuant to GA Code § 14-11-703 (2020)
- You will need to identify a name for the foreign LLC or possess a valid name reservation number
- You should check for LLC name availability so that the existing name can be reserved with Georgia SOS
- You can also register a trade name in Georgia or a Doing Business As (DBA)
- You will have to file the Application for a certificate of authority pursuant to GA Code § 14-11-702 (2020) along with a fee of $225
Are you wondering how to move an LLC to Georgia?
Dissolve home LLC and form a new LLC in Georgia
If you have been thinking about moving your business to Georgia then there are several important things to consider. Since entity domestication in Georgia is not allowed by the state and if you don’t want to register as a foreign LLC then what are your options? The only way to set up a business in Georgia is by dissolving your entity in your home state and forming a new domestic entity in this state.
In such a scenario, the first step would be to dissolve your existing LLC. The laws of dissolution will be different for different states like dissolving in Texas would require you to file a Certificate of Termination. Dissolution is necessary to transfer an LLC to Georgia and it is a statutory procedure. You have to follow state laws on the winding up of a business like ensuring taxes have been filed. Once you have successfully dissolved your LLC, the next step is to form an LLC in the new state so that you can relocate your business to Georgia. You will need to:
- Hire a registered agent in the state
- Reserve a business name
- File Articles of Organization
- Submit a Transmittal form
- Apply for the appropriate Georgia business licenses and permits
Move Your Business to Georgia with IncParadise
Georgia presents a pro-business climate with access to grants, financial assistance, business incentive programs, tax credits, and much more. If you plan to relocate your business to Georgia then you will be able to leverage a multitude of opportunities. We at IncParadise are here to help you with the process of moving your business to Georgia with ease.
We will not only provide guidance on how you can start your business in Georgia but you can also fulfill state requirements using our additional services like mail forwarding, obtaining EIN, and Georgia annual report filing.
You can’t afford to miss the opportunity of moving your business to Georgia. Let us help you get through the process. Tuning in with our partner Eqvista, you will be able to avail a reliable and high-quality service of business valuation. Get in touch with Eqvista to know about the importance of business valuation in the process of moving your business to Georgia.