1. Choose a business name for the LLC and check for availability.
- Please see our section on choosing and checking the availability of a name for your small business, as well as our section on the trademark law aspects of choosing a name.
- Georgia law requires that an LLC name contain the words "limited liability company" or "limited company" (it is permitted to abbreviate the word "limited" as "ltd." and the word "company" as "co.") or the abbreviation "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C." or "LC".
- Additionally, your business name must be distinguishable from other names on file with the state, and may not exceed 80 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
- Although you are not required to do so, consider registering your business name as a federal and/or state trademark.
2. Prepare and file articles of organization with the Secretary of State.
- The filing fee is $100. The Secretary of State's website provides a sample articles of organization in Filing Procedures for Forming a Georgia Limited Liability Company. The articles must be accompanied by Transmittal Form 231, which asks for basic information like the name of your registered agent and the location of your principal office.
- If the LLC will be managed by one or more managers, rather than all the members together, then you should put a clause saying that in your articles of organization. For general information on articles of organization, see the Articles of Organization page.
3. Negotiate and execute an operating agreement.
- Georgia does not require an operating agreement in order to form an LLC, but executing one is highly advisable. There is no set criteria for the content of an operating agreement, but it typically includes topics such as how meetings are conducted, how the company will be managed, what capital contributions are required from each member, and how profits and losses will be allocated. The operating agreement does not need to be filed with the state. Please see the Operating Agreement section for details.
4. Obtain any required local licenses.
- See the general section on forming a LLC for details.
5. Determine what tax and other regulatory obligations the LLC has, and take care of any necessary registrations.
- Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This can be done via its online application. There is no filing fee.
- Register for Georgia business taxes using the Georgia Department of Revenue website. The Department of Revenue website has detailed instructions on the different taxes and the registration process.
- Whenever you hire an employee in Georgia, you must inform both the IRS and the State of Georgia. You can find details of all the necessary steps, including verifying work eligibility and withholding allowances, on the Hiring Employees section of the IRS website. You can find state-level information about reporting new hires at the Georgia New Hire Reporting Website.
- If you have three or more employees in Georgia (including LLC members), you must carry workers' compensation insurance.
- As a business owner or employer, there may be other informational returns that you have to file annually or semi-annually with the IRS. For more information, take a look at the IRS Guide To Information Returns.
6. Open a bank account for your business.
- It is a good idea to keep your business's finances separate from your personal accounts. A good way to do this early on is by opening a bank account for your business. You will probably need a Tax ID number (EIN), a copy of the articles of organization, and a resolution identifying authorized signers if those names are not listed in the articles. Here is one example of the documentation that banks ask for.
- Georgia LLCs must file an Annual Registration with the Secretary of State one year after the date of formation, and every year thereafter. The filing fee is $30.
- Georgia requires certain documents to be kept at an LLC's principal place of business. A list of the required documents is located in Ga. Code Ann. § § 14-11-313 (link is to entire Georgia Code; click through to Title 14, Chapter 11, Article 3, and then locate the specific provision).