Georgia LLC

What Is a Limited Liability Company in Georgia?

Like most states, Georgia LLCs provide limited liability protection for individual owners. The people who own LLCs are called members, and Georgia allows entrepreneurs to create single-member LLCs. Single-member LLCs share some similarities with sole proprietorships while also providing liability protection.

In addition to state laws, the IRS also has its own definitions and treatments of LLCs that affect Georgia businesses. Depending on tax elections, the IRS might classify the business as a partnership, corporation, or disregarded entity.

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What Are the Benefits of Starting an LLC in Georgia?

Georgia prides itself on providing a pro-business environment. Whether large corporations or small startups need a place to thrive, they can find a home in the Peach State. These main factors explain why big organizations like Delta Airlines and Amazon continue to invest in the state.

Reliable Infrastructure

Aside from the embarrassing snowpocalypse Georgia experienced several years ago, its infrastructure ranks highly in reliability. Businesses can count on good roads, reliable utilities, and even access to fiber optics.

Reasonable Tax Levels

While its tax policies do include income, general taxes remain low. Most people rank the income, sales, corporate, and property taxes as reasonable. To add to this, Georgia only charges state income tax on sales made within the state.

Skilled Workforce

Georgia attracts skilled, talented, and educated workers from around the world. The state has built a strong reputation for specializations in aviation, bioscience, fintech, entertainment, and cybersecurity.

Strong Fiscal Responsibility

No one wants to invest in a state with low fiscal responsibility because desperate times may lead to desperate measures. Georgia maintains a balanced budget and a high bond rating based on feedback from the Big Three.

What Are the Steps for Starting an LLC in Georgia?

Starting an LLC in Georgia costs very little time or money. Consequently, locals often joke that virtually everyone has an LLC Georgia business. Here’s how to create one.

Step 1

Determine Domestic or Foreign Status

Georgia refers to businesses getting their start in the state for the first time as domestic entities. It classifies businesses that first started in other states as foreign entities. The method for creating a domestic vs. foreign business entity differs, so it’s important to choose the right one at the start.

Step 2

Complete Name Search

Entrepreneurs in Georgia often find all their marketing plans thwarted when they discover someone else registered the business name they had in mind. Consequently, it’s important to check ahead of time and plan accordingly.

Thankfully, completing a business search will only take a few seconds. In some cases, entrepreneurs might also have the option to reserve the name without completing full registration.

Step 3

Identify a Registered Agent

An LLC Georgia registered agent refers to an entity in the state who receives communications on behalf of the business. Business owners who live in Georgia simply name themselves. Note that the address must be a street address, and the agent must be located at that address. The state does not allow the use of P.O. boxes or mail drop arrangements for registered agents.

Step 4

Prepare the Documentation

Preparing all necessary documents ahead of time reduces the risk of needing to complete the filing process in more than one sitting. Gather these to get started:

  • A permitted form of payment, such as check, credit card, or money order
  • Business name or the reservation number
  • Valid email address
  • Mailing address of the business’s main office
  • Name and address of the registered agent and each organizer
  • Name and address of the person filing the LLC Georgia documents
  • Optional provisions

Step 5

Choose a Method and File

Georgia provides three main methods for business owners to get their LLCs up and running. Take note of the processing times before making a final decision on how to proceed.

Online Registration — 0 to 7 Business Days

Most people prefer to register their businesses online. It saves time and offers convenience. Entrepreneurs complete this easily in the following steps:

  1. Visit the online services page on the website for the Georgia Secretary of State
  2. Create a user account
  3. Select the option to register a business
  4. Provide the required information
  5. Pay by credit card: $100 for regular filing in seven business days, $200 for processing in two business days, or $350 for same-day processing

Mail-In Registration — 0 to 15 Business Days

Georgia accepts snail mail to create LLCs too. Here’s how to get an LLC in Georgia via the mail system:

  1. Use the default Articles of Organization documents provided by the Georgia Secretary of State or create unique articles.
  2. Complete the Transmittal Form for Limited Liability Companies from the Georgia Secretary of State website.
  3. Mail the completed documents with the corresponding payment to:
    Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 313 West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

Payment options include a money order or check. There is a $110 filing fee for processing in 15 business days, $210 for processing in two business days, $360 for same-day processing, and $1,110 for processing in one hour.

In-Person Registration — 0 to 15 Business Days

Registering in person follows almost exactly the same steps as mailing. However, for people who prefer to get answers as they work through the filing process, this might work better. The regular processing time varies, but all the processing fees and expedited options are identical to mail-in registration.

Step 6

Confirm Successful Registration

The Georgia Secretary of State will submit confirmation via email or snail mail to confirm whether the application received approval. As long as the filing contained no errors and no other business used a similar or identical name, success rates are high.

Step 7

Maintain Compliance

Knowing how to get an LLC in Georgia represents only the start of the business journey. To keep that LLC, business owners must renew registrations between January 1 and April 1. If the business lapses in registration, it could lose its name to another entity.

Note that even when entrepreneurs create LLCs toward the end of the year, the state still requires annual registrations during that time period, so plan accordingly. Annual registrations also provide the perfect opportunity to make minor amendments.

How To Keep Compliant

To keep your business operational, you need to make sure you maintain compliance with regulations for LLCs in North Carolina. The two basic requirements are filing your annual report and paying your taxes.

Filing Your Annual Report

Each year, you will be required to file an annual report by April 15th. The report contains your company’s name and address, your registered agent’s information, identities and contact information for the company’s members, and a short description of the business. You can file your report online or by mail, and the fee is $200.

Paying Your Taxes

You will complete your LLC’s federal taxes along with your personal income taxes. This is known as “pass-through” taxation. However, you still need to file state and local taxes for the LLC. Additionally, if you sell goods and services, you are responsible for paying sales taxes.

Are There Additional Steps for Starting an LLC in Georgia?

The above steps cover the required basics for how to get an LLC in Georgia. However, completing the full process requires federal considerations and optional additions.

Employer Identification Numbers

While state laws govern LLC formations, failure to comply with federal requirements could cost the business a fortune. The primary responsibility here comes down to getting an EIN for paying federal taxes. Entrepreneurs pay nothing for EINs from the IRS. Most people choose to apply online via the following steps.

1. Evaluate Eligibility

Only businesses located in America or U.S. territories are eligible for an EIN. The entity applying for the EIN also needs to have another EIN, ITIN, or SSN. Only government entities can apply for EINs as non-humans.

2. Gather Documents

Applicants need to complete the entire application process in one sitting or it resets. The session expires once the website registers 15 minutes of no activity. Proactive business owners gather all the required documents ahead of time.

3. Complete the Application

The IRS requires mostly straightforward information for its EIN applications. Business owners who encounter terms they do not understand should consider ending the session and seeking additional information, tax consultation, or legal counsel.

4. Save the Document

The IRS provides an EIN immediately. Save the document and the physical copy it sends to the registered address. Then, create several backups in secure locations. The IRS will not issue another document or a reprint. Losing the document could create tax-filing problems. Plan accordingly.

Operating Agreements

4. Save the Document

Only five states require operating agreements. Georgia does not make the list, but creating one ensures smooth operations, especially for multimember LLCs. Consider these main elements of a good agreement:

  • Organization: This covers the date of formation, identifies the members, and details ownership.
  • Capital investment: This details the amount of money or assets each member contributed to the business. Usually, ownership lines up with the amount of investment.
  • Distributions: This details how much each member receives from business profits or losses. Members can distribute evenly based on ownership percentages or capital investment.
  • Management and voting: Typically, members have only one vote each or votes match the units of ownership. For example, the person who owns 50% might have two votes, while the remaining two members each only have one vote.
  • Succession plan: Members can determine how roles, ownership, and other factors of the LLC will change when an individual leaves the LLC. This includes provisions for replacing or buying out members.
  • Dissolution: Members also need to decide what happens if the business dissolves. This process needs to follow Georgia laws and consider member preferences.

Starting an LLC Georgia business can easily become one of the most strategic decisions you ever make. While most business owners breeze through the process, the more complex your business idea, the more important it becomes to seek additional assistance.

Getting Help Starting an LLC in Georgia

At GovDocFiling, we make it fast, easy, and free for business owners to complete the process with all the information they need. Are you ready to get started? Our partners at Inc Authority will file your Articles of Organization and provide Registered Agent services for one year for free, you only pay mandatory state filing fees.

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