How to Form an LLC in Georgia

How to Form an LLC in Georgia

Victoria Pappas
 | 

Starting your own business is an exciting step. In order to launch your business, you need to determine which business structure works best for you. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a common business structure that has many advantages and is allowed through state statutes. 

 

An LLC is an unincorporated business with at least one or more persons. The people in the LLC have limited liability for the contractual obligations and other liabilities of the business. This means that only the money invested into the company will be put at risk if the company fails or owes money; private or personal assets will not be at risk. 

 

An LLC is allowed to organize for any lawful business purpose. Each state has their own guidelines for forming one. 

 

In Georgia you do not need a lawyer to file an LLC but it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer help you with the process if you can get one. 

 

Here is what you have to do to form an LLC in Georgia: 

 

Decide if you want a lawyer's help.

 

You don't need a lawyer to form an LLC in Georgia, but it is strongly recommended by the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State. Lawyers can help make sure you and your LLC are doing everything required by law, bothe before and after you create your LLC. They can also advise you on if forming an LLC is right for you and how to do so. 

 

Lawyers can save you a lot of time and energy. Lawyers also are less likely to make mistakes on paperwork, which will prevent a lot of future headaches.

 

Pick a name and search its availability

 

An important aspect of your business is its name. Your business name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation of the phrase such as LLC or L.L.C. 

 

Although this is not required, it is a good idea to conduct a name search. If the name of your LLC is the same or too similar to another LLC, corporation, or limited partnership then you will not be allowed to establish your business. 

 

Click here to search business names in Georgia. It is important to note this search should just serve as preliminary research. If the business name you want does not show up on this search it does not mean the name will be approved by the State. This is where an attorney might be able to help as well. 

 

 It is a good idea to also search for names that are similar to your expected business name. Sometimes, LLC’s can be denied by the state if the name is not distinguishable from another business name, even though it is not an exact match. 

 

Click here to find Georgia’s standards for business names. Again, the name must include a variation of “LLC” and cannot contain certain restricted words or phrases. The standards also explain what does not make one name distinguishable or different from another. 

 

You can also reserve a name in order to ensure it is still available once you submit all the necessary documents to form your LLC. This can be done online or by submitting a  “Name Reservation Request form.” There is a $25 nonrefundable fee to reserve a business name and an additional $10 service charge if you submit the request by paper. 

 

The name will be reserved for 30 days or until the filing forms for the business are submitted. You will need to keep the reservation number and put it on the business application. 

 

You will have the chance to write down 3 different name variations when you try to reserve a name, so make sure to think of different name variations you would want for your business. 

 

To reserve your name online, and to submit the forms necessary to create an LLC, you must make an account at the Georgia Corporations Division website. 

 

Click here for the name reservation form. If you want to submit the form by paper, mail the form with the $25 reservation fee and $10 service charge ($35 total) to: 

 

Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division, Name Reservation Request, 

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 313 West Tower, 

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

 

The fees can be paid by credit card online. If you are mailing in your form you can pay with a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the Georgia Secretary of State. 

 

File the Articles of Organization 

 

    An LLC is formed when the Articles of Organization is filed with the Secretary of State. 

    

    For the Articles of Organization you will need: 

  • The exact name of your LLC
  • The date the Articles of Organization shall be effective on
  • The date the Articles of Organization is being created on 
  • The signature of an organizer, member, manager, or an attorney-in-fact of the LLC. This person also must state which of these options they are in relation to the LLC. 
 

Here is an example provided by the Secretary of State: 




 

You can file the Articles of Organization online by going to the Secretary of State’s Corporations website and making an account. There is a $100 filing fee that is payable by credit card. 

 

You can also mail in the Articles of Organization. Click here to access the Articles of Organization form and instructions. You must also submit a transmittal form, found here. In addition to the $100 filing fee you must also pay a $10 service charge for filing by paper. 

 

You can make payments with a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the Georgia Secretary of State. 

 

The  $110 fee, Articles of Organization, and Transmittal form should be delivered, either in person or by mail, to:

 

    Corporations Division

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 313 West Tower

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

If your Articles are approved for filing, you can expect to receive a certificate of organization within 5 to 7 business days for online filings or within 15 business days if you submit the forms by paper. But sometimes it may take longer. 

If your filing is not complete, it will be returned to you with a note of what is wrong. If you fix the forms and send the forms back within 30 days, your LLC will be formed on the date you originally filed. 

If you do not fix and refile the documents, your filing is abandoned and you will have to start the process all over again. Remember the fees are nonrefundable. 

Appoint a Registered Agent 

 

Every LLC in Georgia is required to have a registered agent. Registered agents agree to accept legal documents or other communications on behalf of the LLC. 

 

A registered agent can be: 

  • A person who is resident of Georgia;
  • A domestic corporation, professional corporation, or LLC; or
  • Foreign corporation or LLC authorized to do business in Georgia

  

The registered agent’s address must be a street address in Georgia. You cannot use a PO box as the address. 

 

Annual Registration 

 

Every LLC has to file an annual registration with the Secretary of State. These are filed to “comply with the law… and confirm that the entity still exists.” This is also where you indicate any changes to information regarding officers, registered agents, and addresses. 

 

The first annual registration must happen between January 1st and April 1st of the year after the LLC was first formed. For example if you form your LLC anytime in 2020, you must file the first annual registration between January 1st, 2021 and April 1st 2021. 

 

Every year you must submit an annual registration between January 1st and April 1st. 

 

This should be filed at this website. There is a $50 filing fee. 

 

Other Information

 

The Georgia Secretary of State provides some more information you may need for your LLC: 

 
  • “Contact the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether an Employee Identification Number is needed. It is obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. Call 1-866-816-2065 or visit the IRS web site, http://www.irs.ustreas.gov.”
  • “The Georgia Department of Revenue should be contacted regarding compliance with state tax laws. Income and net worth tax in, ormation may be obtained by calling (404) 656-4191. Sales and withholding tax information may be obtained by calling (404) 651-8651 or at the DOR’s web site, https://etax.dor.ga.gov/.”
  • “Many LLCs will be required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation information may be obtained by calling 1-800-533-0682 or (404) 656-3818.”

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

Victoria Pappas

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