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How to File an LLC in Georgia

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Kevin McGrath
Written byKevin McGrath
Catherine Cohen
Edited byCatherine Cohen
Updated April 28, 2023

The filing process for a Georgia LLC can initially seem daunting, but it can be pretty straightforward with the proper guidance and knowledge. 

This step-by-step guide will walk you through starting your Georgia LLC, from filing the necessary paperwork to obtaining any required licenses or permits. The filing process can vary by state, so keep in mind that this guide is specific to Georgia’s state rules and regulations.

Key Takeaways:

  • LLCs are popular among small business owners because they provide many benefits, including protection from personal liability and flexible tax options.

  • When forming a Georgia LLC, you must choose your business name, fill out your Articles of Organization, and hire a registered agent.

  • LLC members should consider drafting an LLC operating agreement to create a clear and detailed plan for running their business and making decisions. 

What Is LLC Formation?

LLC formation is one of the most important steps an entrepreneur can take when starting a small business in Georgia. This type of business structure offers liability protection to its owners. 

LLCs are popular among small business owners because they provide many benefits, including protection from personal liability and flexible tax options. When forming an LLC, you must file paperwork and pay any applicable state fees with the Georgia Secretary of State, including an annual filing fee and possibly state and sales tax.[1]

In addition to the benefits of liability protection and flexible tax options, an LLC can provide a more professional identity for your business. This allows you to operate under a registered name rather than a given name or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

Step-By-Step Guide to Starting Your Georgia LLC

Each step below is essential in starting your Georgia LLC. We’ll provide detailed information on what is involved, any fees or processing times you can expect, and any additional expenses you may need to pay. 

By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure that you will form your LLC in Georgia correctly.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name for Your Georgia LLC

The name you choose will become the public face of your brand, and it’s crucial to select a name that is memorable and reflects the nature of your business. 

When choosing a name for your Georgia LLC, there are a few essential requirements to keep in mind. First, your LLC name must be unique. It will be your responsibility to ensure that it is not in use by another LLC in the state.[2] To check, you can search for existing LLC names on the Georgia secretary of state website or use our free business name search

Your Georgia LLC name will also need to contain either “Limited Liability Company” or an approved abbreviation of “LLC.” It cannot be similar to or affiliated with a government agency.

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Reserve Your Name

Once you have chosen a name for your Georgia LLC, you can reserve that name with the Georgia Secretary of State for a $25 fee. This will protect your desired name for 30 days, giving you time to complete the rest of the LLC formation process.[2]

Register an Online Domain

Consider registering a domain name that aligns with your new business name, as this can help establish an online presence for your business from the beginning. You can check available domain names on any domain registration website, such as Squarespace.

Protect Your Name With a Federal Trademark

It’s also important to trademark your business name. This will protect your brand and prevent others from using your business name without your permission. 

You can search for existing trademarks on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website to see if your desired name is available for a federally protected trademark.

Step 2: Fill Out Georgia Articles of Organization

The next step you’ll need to take is to file your articles of organization with the Georgia Secretary of State. This legal document officially creates your LLC and provides information about your business. 

Your articles of organization must include the following information:

  • Name of your LLC

  • Names and addresses of your members and managers

  • Purpose of your LLC

  • Name and address of your registered agent

  • Effective date of your LLC’s articles of organization

Filing Fees & Processing Time

Once you have completed your Georgia Articles of Organization, you can file it online or by mail with the Georgia Secretary of State. The filing fee for Georgia’s Articles of Organization is $100.[3] Processing time usually takes 7-10 business days. 

In addition to the filing fee, you may also need to pay any additional state fees, such as sales tax, a business license, and a name reservation fee, depending on the nature of your business.

Step 3: Hire a Georgia Registered Agent

Hiring a registered agent for your Georgia LLC will be critical to the long-term success of your small business. A registered agent is an individual your LLC designates to officially receive and review legal documents on behalf of your business. This could include documents such as lawsuits, summons, or official government notices.

Having a registered agent is a legal rule in Georgia, and it ensures that all legal documents are delivered to the appropriate person promptly.[4] This is important because legal documents need to be correctly delivered to ensure your business can meet significant deadlines and avoid losing a lawsuit.

Hiring a registered agent also allows you to keep your personal address private. Suppose you serve as your own registered agent. In that case, your personal address will get listed on public records, which could put you at risk of receiving unwanted solicitations or even personal threats.

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When hiring a registered agent, choosing someone reliable and able to receive legal documents during regular business hours is essential. At Swyft Filings, we offer reliable and affordable registered agent services for Georgia LLCs. Our registered agents are available 24/7, and we provide a secure online portal where you can view and download any legal documents delivered to your registered agent. 

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements help outline your LLC’s ownership and operating procedures. It is not required, but we highly recommend it as it protects your business and its owners. It provides a clear and detailed plan for how you will run your business and make decisions. 

This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes among business owners and provide essential protections for your business and its owners. For example, if one of your business owners decides to leave, an operating agreement can outline how you will handle that person’s ownership interest.

When creating an LLC operating agreement, you must include information about your business entity, such as: 

  • Names and addresses of your LLC’s members and managers

  • Percentage of ownership each member has in the LLC

  • Roles and responsibilities of each member

  • Any rules or procedures for making decisions and resolving disputes

  • Profit distribution plans

  • Decision on whether your LLC is member- or manager-managed

If you’re unsure where to start when creating your LLC operating agreement, we have an easy-to-use operating agreement template so you can create your own in minutes.

Step 5: File for an Employer Identification Number

After you have completed the process of forming your Georgia LLC, it is a good idea to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns a unique nine-digit number to your LLC to identify your business for federal income tax, employment tax, and other tax purposes.

We can obtain your EIN on your behalf. Alternatively, you can complete an online application on the IRS’s website. This application will require you to provide the following information about your business:

  • Business’s legal name

  • Name and social security number of the business owner

  • Type of business entity (LLC, S corp, or C corp) 

The application process is usually quick. You can typically expect to receive your LLC’s EIN back from the IRS within a couple of business days.

Let Us Handle Your LLC Paperwork

Are you starting a Georgia LLC and feeling overwhelmed by all the paperwork and filing requirements? Let Swyft Filings handle your LLC paperwork for you. 

Our formation service makes it easy to start your Georgia LLC and ensures everything gets done 100% correctly and lawfully. Plus, we’ll even guide you through creating your Georgia LLC and provide support every step of the way. Visit our LLC filing page now to get started. You could have your LLC filed in just 10 minutes.

FAQs:

How much does it cost to set up an LLC in Georgia?

The cost of setting up an LLC in Georgia varies depending on several factors. There is a $100 filing fee for the articles of organization and a $50 annual registration fee, but additional costs may apply to your business.

Some of the potential fees you may need to pay when setting up an LLC in Georgia include the following:

  • Sales tax

  • Business licenses or permits

  • Registered agent services

  • Legal or accounting services

How is an LLC taxed in Georgia?

LLCs in Georgia generally get taxed as pass-through entities. The specific tax treatment of an LLC will depend on the type of business entity it has chosen and how it has elected to be taxed.

In most cases, LLCs in Georgia are taxed as sole proprietorships or partnerships. The LLC’s profits and losses are reported on the owner’s tax returns. The owners are then responsible for paying any applicable federal and state income taxes on their share of the LLC’s income.

What are the benefits of a Georgia LLC?

Forming a Georgia LLC can provide meaningful legal and financial protections for your business, tax advantages, and a flexible management structure. It is a popular choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Georgia and across the United States. 

There are several benefits of forming a Georgia LLC, including:

  • Limited liability protection

  • Flexible management structure

  • Pass-through taxation

  • Easy set up and maintenance

How do you dissolve an LLC in Georgia?

You’ll file a Certificate of Dissolution with the Georgia Secretary of State to dissolve an LLC in Georgia. This legal document officially ends your LLC and cancels its registration. 

Dissolving an LLC in Georgia involves several steps. It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney or other professional beforehand to ensure the dissolution process is done correctly and complies with all applicable Georgia state laws.

Bibliography:

  1. State of Georgia. “Register an LLC With Georgia Secretary of State.” Accessed January 6, 2023

  2. Georgia Secretary of State. “How to Guide: How to Reserve a Name.” Accessed January 6, 2023

  3. Georgia Secretary of State. “Articles of Organization.” Accessed January 6, 2023

  4. Georgia Secretary of State. “Business Division FAQ: General, Registered Office, and Registered Agent.” Accessed January 6, 2023

  5. Georgia Secretary of State. “Business Division FAQ: Dissolutions & Administrative Dissolutions.” Accessed January 6, 2023

Originally published on December 20, 2022, and last edited on April 28, 2023.

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