How to Form an LLC in Georgia

Here are the basic steps you'll need to take to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Georgia.

A limited liability company (LLC for short) is a way to legally structure a business. It combines the limited liability of a corporation with the flexibility and lack of formalities provided by a partnership or sole proprietorship. Any business owner who seeks to limit his or her personal liability for business debts and lawsuits should consider forming an LLC. For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see Nolo's article How to Form an LLC.

Here are the basic steps you need to take to form an LLC in Georgia.

  1. Choose a name for your LLC.
  2. Appoint a registered agent.
  3. File Articles of Organization and transmittal form.
  4. Preparing an operating agreement.
  5. Obtain an EIN.
  6. File annual registrations.

1. Choose a Name for Your LLC

Under Georgia law, an LLC name must contain one of the following: "Limited Liability Company," "LLC," "L.L.C.," "Limited Company," "LC," or "L.C." The term "Limited" is allowed to be abbreviated as "Ltd." and "Company" may be abbreviated as "Co." The complete name must be 80 characters or less, including any spaces and/or punctuation.

Your LLC’s name must be recognizably different from the names of other business entities already on file with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division. Names may be checked for availability by searching the Corporations Division business name database. You may reserve a name for 30 days online or by filing a Name Reservation Request form. The reservation fee is $25.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

Every Georgia LLC must have an agent for service of process in the state. This is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on the LLC’s behalf if it is sued. A registered agent may be either an individual resident or business entity that is authorized to do business in Georgia. The registered agent must have a physical street address in Georgia.

3. File Articles of Organization and Transmittal Form

A Georgia LLC is created by filing Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division Corporations. The articles must include:

  • the LLC's name, and
  • the signature of an organizer, member, manager, or an attorney-in-fact.

The filing fee is $100. The articles of organization can be be filed online or by postal mail.

If you file by mail, you must also file a completed Transmittal Information Form Georgia Limited Liability Company (Form 231). The form must include:

  • the LLC's email address
  • LLC's name and name reservation number (if any)
  • name and address of the person filing the articles
  • LLC's principal mailing address
  • name and address of LLC's registered agent, and
  • all the organizers' names and addresses.

Steps to form an LLC

4. Prepare an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is not required in Georgia, but is highly advisable. This is an internal document that 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. It can also help preserve your limited liability by showing that your LLC is truly a separate business entity. In the absence of an operating agreement, state LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.

5. Obtain an EIN

If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN), even if it has no employees. If you form a one-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN for it only if it will have employees or you elect to have it taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship (disregarded entity). You may obtain an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.

6. File Annual Registrations

All LLCs doing business in Georgia must file an annual registration with the Secretary of State and pay a $50 filing fee. The initial registration is due between January 1 and April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which the LLC was formed. The registration should be filed online. For more information on Georgia LLC annual reports, see Nolo's article Georgia LLC Annual Filing Requirements.

Georgia LLC FAQ

Should I form an LLC?

If you are just starting your business or have already been operating as a sole proprietor, you should consider forming an LLC. LLCs limit an owner's personal liability for business debts and lawsuits and offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to ownership, management, and taxation of the business. To learn more about LLCs and decide if it is the right business structure for you, see What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

How do I know if my LLC name is available?

It is important to make sure that your LLC's name is distinguishable from the names of other existing businesses on file with the Georgia Corporations Division. You can conduct a name search for free on their website to make sure your proposed name is available.

How much does it cost to form an LLC in Georgia?

  • The Georgia Corporations Division charges a $100 fee to file the Articles of Organization.
  • You can reserve your LLC name with the Georgia Corporations Division for $25.

Filing on your own is often the cheapest option, but completing all of the forms and filing them yourself can be complicated. Hiring a lawyer is another option, but will often cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the process. Nolo's Online LLC formation service can complete all of the paperwork and filings for you, with packages starting at just $49.00. To learn more about the costs associated with forming and running an LLC, see How Much Does It Cost to Form an LLC?

Do I need an operating agreement for my Georgia LLC?

Georgia does not require LLCs to have operating agreements, but it is highly advisable to have one. An operating agreement will help protect your limited liability status, prevent financial and managerial misunderstandings, and ensure that you decide on the rules governing your business instead of state law by default. For more information, see The LLC Operating Agreement.

Do I need a business license?

Depending on its type of business and where it is located, your LLC may need to obtain other local and state business licenses. For local licenses, check with the city in which the business's primary place of business is located (or county if it is in an unincorporated area). For state licenses, check the Georgia Secretary of State's First Stop Business Guide.

Are there Georgia business taxes I need to pay?

In some cases, for example if you will be selling goods and collecting sales tax or if you have employees, you’ll need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). You can register either online or on paper (Form CRF-002). For more information on state LLC tax registration, see Nolo's article Georgia LLC Annual Filing Requirements.

Can a foreign LLC do business in Georgia?

All LLCs organized outside of Georgia must register with the Georgia Secretary of State to do business in the state. Foreign LLCs must appoint a registered agent for service of process physically located in Georgia. To register, file an Application for Certificate of Authority for Foreign Limited Liability Company. You can file online or by postal mail.

The filing fee is $225.

Can I form a single-member LLC in Georgia?

For most formation purposes, a Georgia single-member LLC is considered the same as a multi-member LLC. The steps to form a single-member LLC in Georgia are the same as those listed above.

Single-member LLCs do have additional flexibility when it comes to filing a tax return. To learn more, see Nolo’s article, How Single-Member LLCs Pay Federal Income Tax.

Can I form a professional LLC in Georgia?

If you provide a licensed professional service in Georgia and want to form an LLC, you will be required to form a professional limited liability company (PLLC). Examples of professional services include architects, attorneys, dentists, certified public accountants, and more. Generally, if you provide a service that requires you to obtain a Georgia state license before practicing, then you are a professional service. Under Georgia law, LLCs can be formed to provide professional services. However, only one specific type of service may be provided and all the owners of the LLC must be licensed or registered to perform the professional service for which the LLC was organized.

To learn more about forming a Georgia PLLC, see our article, How to Form a Professional LLC in Georgia.

How do I dissolve my LLC when I'm done?

If you reach the point where it is time to close your business and cease all operations, then you will want to properly dissolve your LLC to limit your liability for lawsuits and government fees. Learn about the steps you will need to take.

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