How to Form a Georgia LLC in 10 Steps
LLCs are common business structures. LLCs or Limited Liability Companies make it possible for one or more individuals to own parts of a single company. With an LLC, exposure to liability from company activities is reduced for the owners. LLCs don’t need to file separate taxes as corporations do. All LLC profits will be passed through to each member.
It is fairly easy to form an LLC, but there are certain steps that you will need to follow. These are outlined below.
1. Choose Your Company Name.
The first thing you will need to do is choose a company name. At the bare minimum, this should be a name that no other company in the State of Georgia has a right to use. SunDoc can run your name search or reserve your LLC name for you as well. We offer this service for a nominal fee.
2. Understand the LLC Organizer Requirement.
An organizer is the person or company that drafts your LLC. By preparing on-line with us, SunDoc Filings will be your organizer. If you choose to prepare and upload your filing with SunDoc, you can name your own organizer.
3. Designate a Registered Agent.
Either a firm or a person can be your company’s designated registered agent. You’ll need this name to put on your Articles of Organization form (go to #6 for additional information on the Articles of Organization). Check out our article, Registered Agent Service, to find out more about registered agents and why it’s important to have one for your LLC.
4. Decide Your Ownership and Management Structure.
Deciding on your management and structure of ownership is another important part of creating your LLC. You’ll need to make a decision on whether your LLC will be manager managed or member managed. Not sure where to start?
You’ll also have to state in your Articles of Organization whether you will have your LLC managed by all members, by one manager, or by several managers.
5. Create an Operating Agreement.
Operating agreements for LLCs are not required by the State of Georgia. Instead, an implied operating agreement is formed according to the default conditions specified in the law. At the same time, it’s up to you to figure out if these default conditions will be in your company’s best interest.
Keep in mind that you’ll need an Operating Agreement for your company’s records if your LLC is going to be managed by managers. Right now, the law in Georgia states that a manager-managed LLC will only be valid when you declare it in both the Operating Agreement and the Articles of Organization.
The Operating Agreement is the legal engine that drives your business, creating its governance, managing its working capital, and paying out its profits. Critical matters of money, voting, liability, and fiduciary constraints are at stake here. You may also wish to consult an attorney for advice.
6. File the Articles of Organization.
There is a one-page document called the Articles of Organization that your company must file in order to provide essential company details to Georgia State. When the SOS (Secretary of State) of Georgia accepts this form, your company will be officially created.
Several documents and pieces of information will be required before you can file your Articles of Organization: The name of your new company, your company’s address, the name of your registered agent, the name of your organizer, and the management method you’ve chosen. In Georgia, publishing in a newspaper of record is not required, and it’s also not required to file member names.
SunDoc can file this the Articles of Organization for you if time is an issue or if you'd prefer to have a filing service handle your paperwork.
7. Obtain an EIN and Open a Business Bank Account.
Congratulations! At this point in the process, you’ve officially registered your LLC in the state of Georgia.
You’ll now need an EIN, which stands for Employer Identification Number. If you have more than a single member in your LLC, you must file for an EIN with the IRS (regardless of whether or not you have employees). We’re happy to file for you at SunDoc, or by yourself, you can file with the IRS.
Keep in mind that many banks will want you to have an Employer Identification Number as well — mostly so that they can open a business account on your behalf.
Of course, you’ll want to open up a business account as soon as you form your new Georgia LLC. It’s wise to use a business account over your personal account for business expenses. And no matter what account you use, it is always a good idea to keep all business-related receipts. At time time, you might want to locate a reputable lawyer as well.
8. Pay Georgia State Taxes.
A minimum yearly tax has to be paid to the Franchise Tax Board of Georgia. This will need to be paid in your first year operating as an official LLC as well. It’s not an income tax; it’s a cost to conduct business in Georgia. Also, if you sell goods in Georgia, you are required to collect sales tax. You can find more state tax information on the State of Georgia’s tax web site.
9. Determine Necessary Licenses and Permits.
Most Georgia companies are required to have one or more business licenses or permits to operate at the city or county level. Use Georgia's one-stop resource CalGOLD to find the requirements for your business. It’s important to check CalGOLD even if you think your business is exempt. You may be surprised to discover what’s required. Operating without the proper license or permit can result in expensive fines.
10. File an Annual Report.
After you form your Georgia LLC, you need to file an Annual Report. Every year thereafter, you will need to file an updated Annual Report as well. Its role is to keep the State of Georgia updated on your company information. And as the years pass, if you decide to make alterations to your company, it will definitely be one of the necessary forms that you’ll need to file with the state.
Important Notice: It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss your potential insurance needs, or matters relating to employees. You should consult an attorney or accountant with any questions about legal or financial matters. Please note that nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice.
For additional learning, please visit Georgia LLC FAQs.
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