Last updated October 31, 2020
How to Form an LLC in Georgia
How to form an LLC in Georgia ← you are here
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Georgia.
Georgia LLC Costs:
Georgia state fee: $100
Annual registration fee: $50 per year
★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom
Here is a quick overview on starting an LLC in Georgia
A Georgia Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a legal structure formed to protect your personal assets (home, car, bank account) in the event your business is sued.
A Georgia LLC can be used to operate a business, or an LLC can be used to acquire and hold assets (such as real estate, vehicles, boats, or aircraft).
If you’d like to form an LLC in Georgia yourself, follow our Quick Start Guide below (the brief overview), or click the detailed lessons above.
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
1. Georgia LLC Name
• The 1st thing to do when starting a Georgia LLC is to make sure your desired name LLC is unique and available for use.
• Your LLC name needs to be “distinguishable upon the record” (unique) among all the existing businesses registered in the state of Georgia.
• Search your Georgia LLC name here: https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch
• Designator: your LLC name must end with a proper designator. Georgia law allows for the following: “LLC” (most common), “L.L.C.”, “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Liability Co.”, “Ltd. Liability Company”, “Ltd. Liability Co., “LC”, or “L.C.”
• Tip: Under Georgia law, your LLC can’t exceed 80 characters (including spaces and punctuation).
2. Georgia Registered Agent
• All LLCs in Georgia need to designate a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent is a person (or company) that agrees to receive Service of Process (a fancy word for legal mail) in the event your LLC gets sued.
• The address that a Registered Agent uses must be a street address located in Georgia. The state does not allow for the use of PO Boxes. If your Registered Agent will be a person, that person must be a resident of Georgia.
• Who can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in Georgia?
You have 3 options:
– You can be the LLC’s registered agent
– A friend or relative can be the LLC’s registered agent
– You can hire a commercial registered agent
• Commercial Registered Agents in Georgia: We recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent (for $125/year). Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer service. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.
3. Articles of Organization & Transmittal Form
• Georgia LLC filing fee: $100 if filing online or $110 if filing by mail. The fee will be paid to the Georgia Secretary of State.
• Filing methods: by mail or online. We recommend filing online as it’s easier and the approval time is faster.
• Mailing address:
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313, West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
• Important: If filing by mail, you must send 2 copies of the Articles of Organization. Only 1 copy of the Transmittal Form is needed though. Disregard this if you are filing online.
• Online LLC filing: https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/
• Georgia LLC approval times: 12-15 business days (by mail), or 7 business days (online filing).
• What you get back: a receipt, a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization, and a Certificate of Organization (which has a state seal and can be used when opening a bank account).
– If you file by mail, these documents are returned by mail.
– If you file online, these documents are returned by email.
• Expedited filing: faster processing times are available for both filing by mail and filing online.
– 2 options for online expediting: $100 extra for 2-day processing or $250 extra for same-day processing.
– 1 option for mail expediting: $100 extra for 2-day processing. Tip: no expedited form is needed. Just include the extra amount in check or money order.
4. LLC Operating Agreement
• Your Georgia LLC will need to draft an Operating Agreement. The document is kept “internally”, meaning, you don’t need to send it to the Georgia Corporations Division, or any other agency. You’ll just keep it with your corporate records at your home or office address.
• An LLC Operating Agreement is essentially an agreement between the owners (called “members”) of an LLC. It spells out who owns the business, how much each person owns, how profits are split, how taxes are paid, and more.
• Even if your LLC has 1 member (called a single-member LLC), it’s still best practice to have an Operating Agreement. This helps keep the liability protection granted by the LLC.
5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
• A Federal Tax ID Number (also known as an EIN) is like a “social security number” for your LLC. The EIN is issued by the IRS and it helps identify your company for reporting and tax purposes.
• EINs are also used for opening business bank accounts and handling employee payroll (if applicable).
• Common names: An EIN is also called: Federal Tax Number, Federal Employer Number, FEIN, Federal Tax ID Number, EIN, and Employer Identification Number. They are all referring to the same thing.
• Get LLC approval first: You should only apply for an EIN after your LLC is approved by the state of Georgia.
• Cost: EINs are $0. Yup, they are free from the IRS. They can be obtained in 1 of 3 ways: by mail (using Form SS-4), by fax (the number is 855-641-6935), or via the online application (the fastest and preferred method).
• Non-US resident/no SSN: if you are not a US citizen or you don’t have an SSN (social security number), you can still get an EIN from the IRS. You just can’t get it via the online application. Instead, you’ll need to mail or fax (we recommend faxing) Form SS-4 to the IRS and enter “Foreign” on line 7b.
• LLC owned by an existing company: If your LLC is owned by another company or another LLC, you cannot obtain an EIN online (the system will give you a weird error message). Instead, you’ll need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS. We recommend faxing as the approval time is much faster (days vs weeks).
6. Georgia LLC Annual Report (Annual Registration)
• All LLCs in Georgia must regularly file an Annual Report (called “Annual Registration“). This is due every year, regardless of income or activity in the business.
• The first Annual Registration is due between January 1st and April 1st of the year after your LLC’s year of formation. Following payments are due between January 1st and April 1st every year. We recommend filing as early as possible to avoid any penalties or fines.
• Annual Registration Fee: $50 per year.
• Online filing: Although the Georgia LLC Annual Registration fee can be filed online or by mail, the state prefers online fillings as they are faster and more convenient.
• File your Annual Registration online: https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/
– If you are not making changes, click “One Click Annual Registration With No Changes”
– If you are making changes, click “Annual Registration With Changes”
• Penalty: there is a $25 late fee if you submit the Annual Registration Fee after April 1st. And continually ignoring this requirement is a bad idea. The state will soon administratively dissolve (shut down) your LLC.
• What you’ll get back: Once you successfully make payment and submit your report online, you’ll be able to download a receipt in the eCorp dashboard. You will also receive an email from the state with your receipt.
7. Business Licenses and/or Permits
• The business licenses and/or permits your Georgia LLC needs will depend on its location and the industry it is engaged in. To know more about these requirements, contact the city, town or county where your LLC is located and the government agencies that regulate your LLC’s industry.
• Need to save time? If you don’t want to make the calls and determine your licensing requirements, we recommend using IncFile.
• Federal taxes: LLCs in Georgia (and all states for that matter) have “pass through” taxation, meaning the income/losses from the LLC will be listed on a Schedule C, which is a part of your personal tax return (Form 1040) filed with the IRS.
• Georgia State and local taxes: After your LLC is formed, you should register with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). You will also likely need to register your LLC for tax purposes with your local municipality (county, city, town, etc.).
9. LLC Bank Account
• Keep your LLC’s liability protection: After your LLC is formed in Georgia, you’ll want to open a separate business checking account (in the name of the LLC).
• Items needed to open an account: Bring your Certificate of Organization, EIN Confirmation from the IRS, and your Driver’s License or passport. Some banks require 2 forms of ID, so call ahead of time and double-check.
• Benefits: Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances is important for 2 reasons: First, it helps you avoid “commingling of assets”, which ensures your personal liability protection. And second, it’ll make keeping track of finances a lot easier for accounting and tax purposes.
• Shop around (there are free accounts): Call a few banks in Georgia and take notes. A lot of banks charge monthly maintenance fees for LLC checking accounts, but there are a handful that do not.
• Debit card: The bank will issue a debit card for your LLC, usually on-location, after the account is opened.
• Credit card: If you want to start building business credit for your Georgia LLC, it’s best practice to get one (or a few) credit cards in the name of the LLC. We recommend using www.creditcards.com to find business credit cards. You’ll also be able to get “reimbursed” for business expenses via cashback or travel rewards.
10. Business Phone Number
Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your Georgia LLC. You can set this virtual business phone up to forward to your cell phone, go through voice prompts, or configure it any way you’d like.
We recommend using Phone.com as they have the cheapest plans and their customer service is excellent.
They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily setup call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.
Getting a separate business phone number for your Georgia LLC is also a good idea in order to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.