Starting an LLC in Georgia can greatly benefit the state’s favorable climate for small businesses. LLCs in Georgia enjoy low taxes, various business incentives, high credit ratings, minimal starting costs, and many other financial assistance programs. So let’s find out how you can start an LLC in Georgia and enjoy these numerous benefits and incentives:
Select a Business Name
Coming up with a business name is the first step toward starting an LLC in Georgia. You can use a business name generator or brainstorm some ideas yourself. Either way, ensure that the name you select complies with Georgia rules for business names. After selecting a name, you must search for its availability in Georgia Corporations Division. Lastly, you must reserve the business name, so you don’t lose it. You can find the process for the last sub-step here.
Take your time for this step and execute it online if possible. Though you can download the business name reservation form and file it through the mail, the fee is lower for online filing.
Get a Business Address
All Georgia LLCs must have a physical street address. While the address can exist out of state, it cannot be a P.O. Box.
If you start your small business from your home, you can provide your residence address. However, it is best to protect your privacy and get a virtual mailbox address instead. You can also utilize the virtual mailbox service if your office address isn’t permanent, you travel frequently, or you plan to move your residence in the near future.
Choose a Registered Agent
A registered agent is a person or entity that represents the LLC on its behalf. All Georgia LLCs are required to assign a registered agent.
To start an LLC in Georgia, you can choose yourself, a business member, or a registered agent service. However, no matter who you choose, ensure they fulfil Georgia registered agents' criteria. The eligibility criteria for Georgia registered agents include having a physical street address in Georgia and being available during work hours to represent the company, among other things.
File LLC Articles of Organization
This step may sound complicated, but it is much simpler. The articles of organization are only a form requiring the basic details of the LLC getting established. The information required usually includes name, address, and purpose of business, registered agent details, business members’ details, duration of business if it isn’t perpetual, provisions for the regulation of internal affairs of the business, and details of the person filing the form. Click here to find more details about the form.
The articles of the organization can be filed online through this link. You can also download the form and submit it through the mail. Though it is filed through the Corporate Division, it is reviewed by the Georgia Secretary of State. It is also important to note that filing articles of organization is not a one-time process for starting an LLC in Georgia. To run your business smoothly, you will need to file an updated version of this form annually.
Depending on your business industry, you may need to file Corporate Income Tax along with articles of organization. Click here to see if it applies to your LLC and instructions on how to file it.
That’s all it requires to start an LLC in Georgia. But while you may receive a confirmation of the establishment of your LLC after approval of articles of organization, there are still some vital steps you need to execute to ensure your business’s success. These steps are:
Get an Operating Agreement
Some states require operating agreements as essential documents for starting an LLC, but Georgia does not. However, getting an operating agreement for your Georgia LLC can be a good measure as it ensures greater protection for yourself and your business. LLC operating agreement can help you run your business smoothly. More importantly, it can come in handy if your business ever faces a lawsuit.
Georgia laws consider an LLC’s operating agreement when settling business lawsuits. You can benefit from including various details and processes for your LLC in the operating agreement, including but not limited to business operation framework, business members’ roles, voting rights, meeting rules, profit sharing, business dissolution terms, and business member addition and elimination rules.
Find the standard Georgia LLC operating agreement here and tweak it as per your business needs.
Obtain an EIN
EIN, or Employee Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that acts like a social security number for businesses. Without EIN, businesses cannot hire employees or open a bank account. EIN also helps report and file taxes for LLCs more efficiently.
Obtaining an EIN is easy and doesn’t cost anything. It is acquired by registering the business with Internal Revenue Service. Click here to get one for your business.
Build a Website and Market Your Business
Last but not least, the essential steps for starting an LLC in Georgia include getting a website and marketing your business. Due to its favorable environment for small businesses, attracting the right audience and sustaining the business long-term in Georgia can prove challenging. Therefore, building a website and marketing, it is important to keep your business running smoothly and growing with time, as audiences primarily search for everything they need online.
To execute this step successfully, you will need to design a layout, choose the right colors, write convincing copy, add images, and install extensions and features that make converting your customers easy. You will also need to run ads for your service on local websites, create social media business accounts, and add your business to platforms like Yelp, Nextdoor, etc. Moreover, updating the website and maintaining your business's digital presence can be a never-ending process.
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