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How to Start an LLC in Georgia: 2024 Step-by-Step Guide

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Table of Contents

Using an LLC Formation Service

Small business entrepreneurs can benefit from online LLC services to establish their Limited Liability Companies (LLC). These services will help file the necessary documents, allowing small business owners to focus on running their businesses. They have features like guaranteed acceptance by the state, assistance with the EIN application, registered agent service, and drafting of operating agreements. Online LLC services can be a reasonable and worthwhile cost.

Business owners can customize these packages to suit their individual needs. If you want to compare services and costs before deciding, you can choose from several options. Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, and Bizee LLC services are the most popular choices and have the best ratings.

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If you’re looking to establish a business in Georgia, forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be an excellent option. An LLC structure provides several benefits, including shielding personal assets from business liabilities, tax savings, and operational. This complete guide for the year 2024 offers a step-by-step breakdown to ensure that you can successfully set up your LLC in Georgia.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

The first step in creating your LLC is picking a unique name. Georgia has specific guidelines for naming your LLC, including the need for the name to be different from other businesses registered in the state.

Here are the guidelines you must follow: 

  • It must be different from other business names already registered in the state.
  • It can’t include restricted words or phrases (like implying it’s a bank unless it is one).
  • It must end with “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or LLC).

You can use the Georgia Corporations Division website or do a quick, free name check to see if your chosen name is available. If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, You can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent

Like in other states, your LLC must have a registered agent in Georgia. A registered agent is a person or company that agrees to receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC, ensuring you get all important legal notices. The agent must have a physical address in Georgia and be available during business hours. You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, or Bizee.

Check out our blog: ‘Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization in Georgia 

Filing the Articles of Organization is the most critical step in officially creating your LLC in Georgia. This document registers your LLC with the state and includes important details about your business.

What to Include in Your Articles of Organization:

  • LLC Name: Ensure you include the full legal name of your LLC, followed by “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company.”
  • Mailing Address: If your business receives mail at a location different from its physical address, list that here.
  • Registered Agent: Designate a registered agent who will handle official documents for your LLC. Include their full name, address, and contact information. They must formally agree to act as your registered agent.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC will be member-managed (by you and any other owners) or manager-managed. List the names and addresses of the members or managers. For privacy, you may use a P.O. box for addresses.
  • Purpose: Provide a brief description of your business.
  • LLC Organizer: Identify the person or entity completing and filing your work. This role is crucial for correctly setting up your LLC.
  • Formation Date: Specify the date your LLC will officially begin. You can set this to the filing date or choose a date up to 90 days.
  • Signing: Ensure all information is accurate before signing. The form must be signed by either an LLC member, manager, or organizer.

How to Send Your Form:

  • Online: The most efficient way to file your Articles of Organization in Georgia is through the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Georgia’s e-filing system is designed to streamline the filing process, allowing you to submit your form and pay the filing fee electronically.
  • By Mail: If you prefer to file by mail, download the Articles of Organization form from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, fill it out, and mail it along with the filing fee to the Office of the Secretary of State Corporations Division 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE Suite 313, West Tower Atlanta, GA 30334

Filing Fee:

  • The filing fee for the Articles of Organization in Georgia is $100. This fee applies whether you are filing online, by mail, or in person.

Filing the Articles of Organization is foundational in establishing your LLC in Georgia. Ensure that all the information you provide is accurate and complete to avoid delays in the registration process. For more detailed information and to start filing, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division website. 

Step 4: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time. 

Step 5: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small

Step 6: Steps After Forming Your LLC 

Open a Business Bank Account 

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review.  


Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024?

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.

Georgia LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

Setting up an LLC in Georgia involves more than just filing paperwork; it’s about ensuring your business complies with all state regulations for a smooth operation. This means getting the proper permits and licenses, understanding tax obligations, and meeting annual reporting requirements. Here’s what you need to guide you to the regulatory landscape for your Georgia LLC.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your business and its location, your LLC may need specific permits and licenses.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

Various permits and licenses may be necessary depending on the nature of your LLC activities and their location.

LLC’s Business Licenses

  • Overview: Local governments in Georgia often require businesses to have local business licenses.
  • How to Obtain: Contact the clerk’s office in your city or county or visit their official website for details on required permits and the application process.

Professional Licenses

Health Permits

  • Overview: If your business involves food service, healthcare, or beauty services, you’ll likely need health permits.
  • How to Obtain: These permits are usually issued by the Georgia Department of Public Health or your local health department. Their websites will have detailed requirements and application instructions.

Tax Requirements in Georgia

Managing your LLC’s tax obligations is crucial for legal compliance and financial health.

Employer Taxes

If your LLC will have employees, you need to:

State Taxes

  • Pass-Through Taxation: Georgia, like many states, treats LLCs as pass-through entities for federal income tax purposes. However, your LLC will still be liable for state taxes based on income.
  • Sales Tax: If you sell goods or specific services, you must obtain a Sales Tax Number through the Georgia Tax Center.
  • EIN: All LLCs require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes. This can be obtained for EINe from the IRS website.

 

Annual Reporting in Georgia

IRS LLC must fulfill annual reporting requirements to maintain good standing with the state.

Filing Requirements: Georgia LLCs file an annual registration with the Georgia Secretary of State.  The filing fee for the Annual Registration is $50 when filed online. This process updates the state with your LLC’s contact information and is essential for maintaining good standards. 

To ensure your Georgia LLC complies with state laws and is ready for operation, you must obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and tax obligations and file annual reports.

New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

When Must Reporting File Reports

Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 2 years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

These steps will set a strong LLC foundation in Georgia, aligning your business for success in 2024. Remember, this guide provides a solid start; consulting with legal and financial professionals can offer tailored advice to ensure your LLC thrives in Georgia. If you need help, services like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfiling, or Bizee exist. They can handle any legal details your LLC requires, like getting your EIN and sorting out your operating agreement.

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