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How to Start an LLC in Georgia: Setting up a Georgia LLC

Establishing a limited liability company has many advantages for those wanting to start a new business in Georgia. Operating your business as an LLC, also known as a limited liability company, protects your personal assets by legally separating your personal assets from the business. This is a tremendous benefit as it keeps your properties, possessions, and bank accounts off-limits if your business undergoes a lawsuit or accumulates debt.

Establishing a Georgia LLC is simple. By just starting with at least one LLC member, a business name, and a business address, you will be able to begin the process of opening your Georgia LLC so you can get your business up and running.

There are a few other requirements and details to consider as you set up your Georgia LLC. Using a professional LLC formation service is the best way to get your limited liability company started since there is a lot of paperwork and important tax information to consider. Let the professionals at LLC Formations guide you through the process of starting your Georgia state LLC.

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Here are the steps that will guide you on how to form an LLC in Georgia:

  • Choose the name of your company
  • Prepare Articles of Incorporation for LLC Georgia
  • Name a registered agent
  • Register your business with state revenue service
  • Obtain Business License
  • Pay Annual Registration Fee (Post-Registration)
  • Request EIN (Post-Registration)

The Steps to Forming Your Georgia LLC

Here are the steps that will guide you on how to form an LLC in Georgia:

  • Choose the name of your LLC in Georgia
  • Prepare the Articles of Organization for your Georgia LLC
  • Name a registered agent within Georgia state
  • Register your business with state revenue service
  • Obtain required business licenses
  • Pay the annual registration fee (post-registration)
  • Request an EIN (post-registration)

1. Name Your Georgia LLC

Georgia has its own rules and regulations regarding how you can name your limited liability company. You can select the business name of your LLC if it is unique and if the name is not in use by any other Georgia LLC. Still, business experts suggest choosing a truly unique one. If your business expands to other states, you will likely enter into legalities associated with the name change and brand identification, so it’s recommended to choose something unheard of.

Officially, every limited liability company has the abbreviation LLC at the end of its name. For instance, if your LLC is named, WXYZ Limited Liability Company, it will still be unique if someone else has the same chosen name in another state. The only thing you need to be sure of is that the name is unique in Georgia unless you plan to expand. The name of the LLC is an important part of marketing your business, so make sure to choose something creative that best represents your business.

To check current LLC names, you can visit the Georgia LLC search database at https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/ and see if your name is available for registration. If the name is available, you may file papers to register it instantaneously or reserve it before making a decision. If someone has an identical name that exactly matches your name, the database will not allow you to register it. During this process, the Georgia corporations division and the Georgia Secretary of State will be very helpful resources.

You can also reserve your name on the website, which will keep the name reserved for you while you set up other aspects of the LLC. Mostly, you don’t need to reserve your business name when you form a Georgia LLC unless it is a popular name that you think maybe taken quickly. For a name reservation during the LLC formation process, you will need to request authorities to reserve the LLC name. The process with the Georgia corporations division may take a week to initiate and will cost $25 for the LLC name reservation.

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2. Prepare the Articles of Organization

Georgia LLC

After deciding and registering the name for your Georgia business entity, it’s time to prepare the Articles of Incorporation, also known as the Articles of Organization. The Articles of Organization are official papers that specify the name of the LLC, its owners, the type of business, and other legal information when you form an LLC. You can download the Articles of Organization forms from the official website of Georgia. The professionals at LLC Formations can also help streamline the process of filling out your Articles of Organization.

Once you file the Articles of Organization, it will be the official proof that your LLC is registered in the state of Georgia. It’s always best to have a professional company file the Articles of Organization, especially if you have more than one member in your Georgia LLC. You can file the Articles either online or by mail. If you file online, you can pay by credit card. If you file by mail, you will need to include a check or money order.

If you’re a first-time business owner starting an LLC, it is better to consult a professional because experts can easily sort the paperwork for you for a small filing fee. Since the formation of an LLC is an important milestone for many of us, it pays to ask questions and get answers from a professional that can save you from possible errors when you form an LLC in Georgia.

Once the Articles of Organization is completed, it can take more than a week to get an official answer from the Georgia state authorities. Mostly, the process is very quick and you will get your certificate within a matter of days. You can display the organization certificate in your office or keep it at a safe place for your records.

If you make any major changes to the way you operate your Georgia LLC, be sure to update your Articles of Organization to reflect those changes. This way, every member and the entire LLC is kept safe by following the guidelines out lined in your Articles of Organization.

The Georgia LLC State Fee

To establish a limited liability company, you will need to pay a fee of $100 to register the LLC so you can do business in Georgia. This state fee is separate from the filing fee that you pay to register the name of the LLC in Georgia. Compared to some other states, Georgia’s state fees are fairly low when opening a new business entity. For instance, in California, you would need to make an $800 payment to the state to register a franchise. Some states also require more than just a one-time filing fee.

3. Appoint a Georgia Registered Agent

Every LLC in Georgia needs to have a resident agent, also known as a registered agent. A registered agent is someone in the state of Georgia who can accept all the legal documents on behalf of the LLC at a specific mailing address. The registered agent must have a physical presence in the state of Georgia. You cannot designate a registered agent with a P.O. Box.

If you live outside of Georgia or if you operate an online website that has its headquarters in Georgia, you also must name a registered agent who has a physical address in Georgia. For online businesses, registered agents can help them keep track of their mails and provide additional services to achieve the objective of the LLC. These days, you can easily find a reputable service that helps businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world at an affordable cost.

Who can be a Registered Agent?

Anybody with a physical address in the state of Georgia can be an agent for your Georgia LLC, such as a member or an employee of an LLC as long as he or she is over 18 years of age. Regardless of who you choose, be sure that this person will be reliable and responsible for receiving mail for your Georgia LLC. All of your business correspondences will be sent to the listed address, and you don’t want to miss anything important. It’s recommended that businesses hire a professional service that can guarantee to be ready and available for important communication.

Why is it Important to Have a Registered Agent?

The role of this job is to collect and maintain the legal documents of the LLC. They must be able to collect mail for your Georgia LLC each day. If you have a running business, you can’t afford your registered agent to go on a long vacation because you will likely miss your mail and other important documents. Besides, the registered agent has a lot of other responsibilities apart from sorting mail.

Some of the important duties include notifying the important members about documents that require their immediate attention. Sometimes, registered agents are also given additional duties to safeguard important paperwork or receive any service of process. A professional registered agent service can provide online access to owners, enabling to keep in touch with the agent any time of the day.

The duties also include sorting and email tax documents, legal papers, and other important files. It is one of the reasons that most LLC’s prefer to hire a registered agent service. According to the state legislature, a registered agent must be present to receive legal documents of an LLC in a timely manner. Most individuals are busy taking care of other tasks, which can make them forget their duties.

If you don’t have a registered agent, you can quickly lose your LLC status because the law requires one for every LLC. Failure to comply with the rules can have severe negative repercussions for the LLC and its owners.

Additionally, an LLC functioning as its own registered agent may not be able to enjoy the privacy enjoyed by other LLCs that choose to use a registered agent service because the LLC address is public information. Keep this in mind when deciding if you’re like to hire a service. The professionals at LLC Formations can help you with this part of starting an LLC.

4. Register your Georgia Business with the State Revenue Service

For a Georgia LLC to file tax returns, it must register with the Georgia Department of Revenue. To register your Georgia LLC, you must complete the state tax registration application form CRF-002. During the registration process, you will be asked to provide your social security number or EIN of the registered company.

You will also need to provide the location and physical address of your LLC. If you’re an online business, you can easily get a physical address with the help of your registered agent. Usually, online businesses and out-of-state entities use the physical address of the registered agent.

The Department of Revenue will also ask you to identify the start date of the LLC. The contact information for the managers of your LLC is also needed. According to Georgia’s law, a single owner can be the owner and the manager of an LLC simultaneously. It is also very important to create your LLC operating agreement and create reminders to file your annual registration.

5. Obtain a Business License or Operating Permit for Your Georgia Business

Depending on the location of your Georgia LLC and the type of business, you may need to apply for additional permits and licenses from the state and local governments. For example, a restaurant needs health and safety permits, and a doctor requires a pertinent business license from the authorities for his or her practice. Often these licenses and permits are displayed in the offices as a certified copy.

The fees will also vary depending on the type of permits and business licenses you need for your LLC. It is illegal to start a business without obtaining the required permits, so it’s important to make sure that you have these approved in the beginning stages of forming an LLC. You may ask a business professional or the company representing you to see if you require such licenses from the state of Georgia.

The local Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Chamber of Commerce can also guide business owners in the right direction. If you think you will require a license for your LLC, it is better to pay a professional company to register your business because of these companies have the know-how on such business requirements. The professionals at LLC Formations can help you determine which licenses you need to legally operate your business.

6. Pay the Annual Registration Fee (Post Registration)

Once the filling requirements are taken care of, there are other important things for you to consider. For instance, you will need to pay the Georgia LLC annual registration fee for your business once every year. Unlike the initial registration fees paid to register the business, the annual registration fee is the fees that all LLC registered in Georgia must pay on an annual basis.

Please note that you will need to pay the annual registration fee irrespective of the status of your business structure. It means that you must pay a $50 annual fee to Georgia state for operating a Georgia LLC. If you’re not doing any business or if you haven’t made any transactions, you will still need to pay the annual fee for having an active LLC.

Many business owners forget that the annual registration fee is a part of doing business. You will need to pay the fee until you send a formal notice to the state that you are closing the doors on your business. If you fail to submit the required fee, the state has the right to put you as a defaulter in the state. As a result, you will have a bad reputation in the business sector of Georgia if you conduct business in the state again.

It is important to understand that the bill for the annual fee will be sent to the registered agent’s address. If you have appointed a third-party, it is the duty of your registered agent to mail you the annual state tax. In certain cases, the documents can also be emailed to you at your designated email address.

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7. Request EIN, Employer Identification Number

After completing all of the other steps of your LLC formation, you will need to get an employer identification number(EIN). Although it’s optional to get an EIN if you operate as a single member, it can give you many benefits as you grow your business. It’s a very simple process to get an EIN. You just have to file a request online.

If you have more than one member in your LLC, an EIN becomes mandatory as every member must have an individual EIN for tax purposes. This will allow you will be taxed as a business and avoid double-taxation associated with that of a sole proprietor.

Besides tax, there are many other advantages once you get an EIN. For instance, commercial banks and insurance companies require an EIN to open a business bank account for your LLC. This business bank account will allow you to pay employees, and it will also be helpful for keeping your business finances and personal finances separate. Similarly, it can also prove useful in scenarios such as identity theft.

When you go to open a business bank account, all members of your LLC may need to be present. It’s wise to call around to different banks as some may charge service fees or have specific requirements for opening a business bank account.

If you are the sole owner of a business, an EIN is required to initiate business contacts with suppliers, partners, and other points of contact. Usually, businesses like to interact with individuals who have an EIN because otherwise the other party will be required to retain 28% of your payments for tax purposes.

With an employer identification number (EIN), you can also represent yourself as a member of an LLC instead of a sole proprietor. In fact, there are almost endless advantages to getting EIN. The professionals at LLC Formations can help you get started.

Steps to Obtaining EIN

As with every important LLC formation document, there are a few requirements and steps you need to follow to get your EIN number. You will need to contact the IRS to acquire an EIN for your LLC. Either you can request it online or by mail by submitting a formal application. If you file online, you can pay by credit card. If you file by mail, you will need to include a check or money order.

Most of the questions on the request form are straight-forward and easy to understand. They include letting the IRS know about the legal structure of your business such as a corporation, LLC, partnership, equity, or sole proprietorship. Besides your business stricture, the relevant form will ask you to describe the reasons for requesting an IRS number. These reasons can range from forming a new business to requiring a commercial bank account. You will also be asked to provide your name and social security number.

At the end of the questionnaire, you will receive EIN that you can start using immediately. At the same time, you will also receive an official IRS document that confirms the successful completion of the application. It is advisable that you keep a copy of your records in case you need it as a reference so make sure to keep this document safe.

How Can LLC Formations Help You?

Forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Georgia can offer you many benefits as you grow your business. With a creative LLC name and a well-planned business structure, your Georgia LLC can be up and running in no time. LLC Formations can help you with the paperwork so you can get started on the other important aspects of forming an LLC. Starting a new business takes a lot of time and money, so why not leave it to the experts at LLC Formations.

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