If you want to start and run a Georgia limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to prepare and file various documents with the state. This article covers the most important ongoing reporting and state tax filing requirements for Georgia LLCs.
The State of Georgia requires you to file an annual registration for your LLC along with paying a $50 fee. You should file the registration online at the SOS website. Your initial annual registration is due between January 1 and April 1 of the year following the calendar year that your LLC was formed. Subsequent registrations are due by April 1 each year. The state should mail you a reminder notice.
When it comes to income taxes, most LLCs are so-called pass-through tax entities. In other words, the responsibility for paying federal income taxes passes through the LLC itself and falls on the individual LLC members. By default, LLCs themselves do not pay income taxes, only their members do. Georgia, however, does impose a $50 annual registration fee (see above).
In some cases, the owners of an LLC choose to have their business treated like a corporation for tax purposes. This choice is made by filing IRS Form 2553 with the IRS. (See the IRS website for the form.) Unlike the default pass-through tax situation, when an LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, the company itself must file a separate tax return. The State of Georgia, like almost every other state, taxes corporation income. In Georgia, the corporation income tax is a flat 6% of federal taxable income (with adjustments). In addition, Georgia also assesses a corporation net worth tax (also known as a franchise tax). LLCs are liable for both the income tax and the net worth tax. The taxes are payable to the state's Department of Revenue (DOR). Use Form 600 to pay both taxes. For more details, check Nolo’s article, 50-State Guide to Business Income Tax, or the DOR website.
Does your LLC have employees? If so, you'll need to pay employer taxes. Some of these taxes are paid to the federal government (the IRS) and are not covered here. (But note that federal employer tax obligations start with obtaining a federal employer identification number (EIN).) However, Georgia employers also must pay taxes to the state.
First, you'll need to withhold and pay employee income taxes to the DOR. Begin by registering your business with the DOR either online or on paper (Form CRF-002). Once you've registered, you'll need to file withholding taxes on a periodic basis (for example monthly or quarterly). You'll also need to use Form G-1003 each year to reconcile your LLC's tax withholding. For more information, including regarding electronic filings, check the DOR website.
In addition, you'll probably need to register to pay state unemployment insurance (UI) taxes. These taxes are handled through the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL). You can register for these using Form DOL-1A (Employer Status Report). Then, each quarter, use Form DOL 4N to report on wages and pay the UI taxes. For more information, including regarding online filings, check the DOL website.
If your LLC will sell goods to customers in Georgia, you will need to collect and pay sales tax. This means you'll have to register for this purpose with Department of Revenue and then make periodic sales tax payments for goods sold. You can register online or mail in Form CRF-002. Then, on a periodic basis, you must submit sales tax returns to the DOR.
If you will be doing business in states other than Georgia, you may need to register your LLC in some or all of those states. Whether you're required to register will depend on the specific states involved: each state has its own rules for what constitutes doing business and whether registration is necessary. Often activities such as having a physical presence (a business location) in a state, hiring employees in a state, or soliciting business in a state (such as by telephone, print ads, mail, or the Internet) will be considered doing business for registration purposes. Registration usually involves obtaining a certificate of authority or similar document.
For more information on the requirements for forming and operating an LLC in Georgia, see Nolo’s article, 50-State Guide to Forming an LLC, and other articles on LLCs in the LLC section of the Nolo website.