Frequently asked questions about starting and running an LLC, or limited liability company.
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) comes with many benefits. This business legal structure combines the limited liability of a corporation with the flexibility and lack of formalities provided by a partnership or sole proprietorship. An LLC also provides liability protection to its owners.
This article covers how to start an LLC in Georgia. For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see our article on how to start an LLC.
Georgia, like other states, has rules for what you can name your LLC. Under Georgia law, an LLC's name must contain "limited liability company," "limited company" or an abbreviated version of one of those two names. For example, you can abbreviate "limited" as "ltd." or "company" as "co." You can also use the acronyms LLC or LC, with or without periods. (Ga. Code § 14-11-207 (2023).)
In addition to including an entity designator, your LLC's name can't be more than 80 characters in length, including spaces and punctuation. Your LLC's name must also be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS). In other words, your LLC's name can't match another business's name, domestic or foreign, that's been registered or reserved in Georgia. (Ga. Code § 14-11-207 (2023).)
You can check which business names are available by searching the Corporations Division's business name database on the SOS website. If you have a name picked out for your LLC but aren't ready to register your business, you can reserve your business name with the SOS. (Ga. Code § 14-11-207 (2023).)
File a name reservation request form with the SOS to reserve your business name for 30 days. You can file the form online or by mail. As of 2023, the fee to file online is $25 and the fee to file by mail is $35.
Every Georgia LLC must have a registered agent for service of process in the state. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on the LLC's behalf if it's sued. An agent can be either an individual resident or a business entity that's authorized to do business in Georgia. The registered agent must have a physical street address in Georgia. (Ga. Code § 14-11-209 (2023).)
A Georgia LLC is created by filing articles of organization with the SOS. The articles must include the LLC's name. (Ga. Code § 14-11-204 (2023).)
You can file your articles online at the SOS's online services page. Alternatively, you can file the articles in person or by mail by completing both the Articles of Organization for LLC (CD 030) form and the Transmittal Form — Limited Liability Companies (CD 231).
Your transmittal form must include:
As of 2023, the online filing fee is $100. Paper filings incur an additional $10 fee.
Georgia, like most states, doesn't require LLCs to have operating agreements. Though not required, drafting one has many benefits. This internal document establishes how your LLC will be run. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of the members and managers, including how the LLC will be managed.
Apart from creating a clear roadmap for how your LLC will operate, an operating agreement can help preserve your limited liability by showing that your LLC is truly a separate business entity from you.
Without an operating agreement, Georgia's LLC laws will govern how your LLC operates.
EIN. If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN), even if it has no employees. If you form a single-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN for your LLC only if either you elect to have your business taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship (disregarded entity) or your single-member LLC has employees. You can get an EIN by completing an online EIN application on the IRS website. There's no filing fee.
Business Licenses. Depending on its type of business and where it's located, your LLC might need to obtain local and state business licenses or permits.
Georgia Department of Revenue. If you have employees or will be selling goods and collecting sales tax, you'll need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). For many taxes, you can register online through the Georgia Tax Center. For more information on Georgia business tax registration, check out Georgia LLC annual tax and filing requirements.
All LLCs doing business in Georgia must file an annual registration with the SOS. The annual registration is due every year between January 1 and April 1. (Ga. Code § 14-11-1103 (2023).)
You can file your annual registration online. You can choose to file your registration for the next one, two, or three years. You can also print out and submit your annual registration form by mail. As of 2023, the annual registration fee is $50. Submitting your registration by mail costs an extra $10.
The Georgia state website has a section on registering an LLC. The webpage provides information on what information you need to gather, the different ways you can file, and what your next steps will be. The SOS offers a how-to guide on how to register your business. From that guide, you can find easy-to-access links to resources, information, and filing services.
If you want specialized help in creating your LLC, check out Form Your Own Limited Liability Company, by Anthony Mancuso (Nolo). For an end-to-end solution, you can use our online LLC formation service. Just answer a few questions about the company you want to start and we'll take care of the paperwork for you.
If you're looking for personalized legal help, speak with a Georgia business attorney. A lawyer can help you file your formation paperwork, draft your governing documents, and apply for the necessary licenses and permits.