Our Step By Step Guide

How to Form a limited liability company In Georgia

Forming a limited liability company provides liability protection for any type of business, and should be among the first steps you take as a new business owner. Starting a limited liability company can help you protect your personal assets while adding legitimacy to your company. Follow our step by step guide or let us handle the paperwork on your behalf, ensuring your business is filed quickly and accurately.

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Why start your business in Georgia?

Life in Georgia is peachy keen for startups. The state ranks number one in the United States for its small business climate (according to the NFIB's 2018 survey results). The Peach State also ranks second in the country for the most startups created by women and third as the best state to start a business.

Why makes entrepreneurs flock to Georgia to start a business? In 2019, Georgia reported there are more than 808,000 registered establishments throughout the state. Aside from its small business friendliness climate, Georgia offers several small business advantages. The state ranks high for its ease in starting and growing a business, is one of the top exporting states in the United States and has a highly educated workforce.

Does this sound like the perfect location to form an LLC in Georgia? Here's what you need to do to get started.

Two Ways to Register Your Business

MyCorporation® can help you file all of the necessary documents to form your limited liability company in Georgia.

File and submit the formation paperwork yourself

Our free guide provides you with all of the information you'll need to form your limited liability company in Georgia. Bookmark this page as a reference so you can return easily as you complete each step of the process.

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Let MyCorporation handle the formation process for you.

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See other business types

Are you looking for another entity type? We offer several other guides for the state of Georgia.

One of the first decisions you'll need to make as a new business owner is which type of entity you will form for your business. While each business type offers its own benefits, forming an LLC (limited liability company) is one of the most popular choices made by new business owners across the United States. An LLC is a relatively new type of legal business formation, considered a hybrid entity, combining the pass-through taxation and simple operation of sole proprietorship with the limited liability protection provided by a corporation.

One of the main reasons for the growing popularity of the LLC in Georgia is its simple setup and flexible structure. An LLC is also considered the easiest type of entity to maintain with the least number of annual requirements. Plus, income from the business is passed directly to its owners as regular income, making taxes much easier for an LLC, which can help you lowering your tax preparation costs each year.

Effective August 1, 2013, all LLCs formed in Delaware are required to file with the Delaware Division of Corporations. The Delaware Division of Revenue provides a resource known as the Legal Business Structure Table that determines how a Delaware LLC is taxed and its state-wide liability. LLCs formed in Delaware, for example, must pay $300 in annual franchise tax fees to the state.

The Benefits of an LLC

  • Protect your Personal Assets
    Starting a business designates your business as a separate legal entity, preventing you from being personally responsible for the debts of your business.
  • Build Credibility
    Establishing a professional identity provides the benefit of showing potential customers and investors that your business is legitimate and here to stay.
  • Simple Management
    Limited liability companies are less formal and require fewer annual / maintenance requirements than other common entity types, making it a popular choice for small business owners.

Compare the main entity types below

Entity Type
Liability
Taxation
Maintenance
Limited Liability Company Combines limited liability protection with a pass-through tax structure. IRS rules allow LLCs to choose between being taxed as partnership or corporation. The easiest entity to maintain with the least amount of formal annual requirements.
Corporation Owners / shareholders have limited personal liability for business related debts. Separate taxable entity, corporate profits among owners and corporation. Meetings are required to maintain corporate status. Stock may be sold to raise capital.
Non-Profit Corporation A corporation formed for a charitable, educational, religious, literary, or scientic purpose. Contributions to charitable corporation are tax-deductible. Can get tax exempt status with the IRS. Annual reports, minutes, meetings are required to maintain nonprofit / tax exempt status.
Tip: Try our free entity choice tool. Answer a few simple multiple choice questions about your business, and our tool can recommend the entity type that best fits the needs of your business.

The next step will be to decide on a name for your business. Choose a name that is memorable and unique, easy to understand and pronounce, and accurately represents your business. You'll want to search your name choices on the web to quickly find out if they are already taken. It's also best to jot down one or two alternatives, in case the name you settle on is not available for registration in Georgia.

There are a few rules that Georgia Limited Liability Companies must follow in order to register a name.

  • The name you choose must be unique and not "confusingly similar" to the name of any other Georgia business. This is to prevent fraud or misrepresentation and is a common rule in all 50 states. You can find out whether a name is available by using the Georgia Corporations Division business name search for possible conflicts. Be sure to check variations or alternate spellings as well, otherwise your filing may be rejected. In a pinch, you can use MyCorporation's business name search service, where we will conduct a more thorough search on your behalf and report back our findings. Plus, MyCorporation includes a business name search for free when we complete your LLC filings on your behalf!
  • Your business name must include the words "Limited Liability Company," or "LLC."
Tip: A business name check is included with every one of our business formation packages. We check with the state to determine the availability of your business name automatically. You can also conduct a nationwide business name search here.

There are two options to choose from when it comes to setting up your limited liability company in Georgia. "Member managed" or "manager managed". The first thing you need to know is that owners of any LLC are referred to as "members". A single member LLC has just one owner, while a multi-member LLC is an LLC owned by 2 or more members. Pretty simple, right?

Georgia LLCs also must also designate one or more individuals to manage the day to day operations of the business. This can be handled by one of the members of the business (member managed, the most popular choice and the default in most states), or a professional manager appointed by the members to act on their behalf (manager managed).

While the differences are subtle, what you really need to know is that each member in a member managed LLC has the power to make decisions for the business. However, in a manager managed LLC, the members choose who will manage the business and relinquish all of the decision making to the manager chosen. The person chosen can be one of the members of the business as well, or it can be someone else entirely.

Most states require that you designate a registered agent for your business, and Georgia is no exception. A registered agent acts as the state's means to communicate with a business and is responsible for receiving legal and official documents related to the business.

In the state of Georgia, it is required that each entity continuously maintains a registered agent and registered office. The registered agent can be anyone you wish, but whoever you choose must have a physical address in Georgia. In other words, a P.O. Box is not allowed as a registered agent address. This means a member of the limited liability company can act as the registered agent if desired, or a third-party registered agent service like MyCorporation can be used.

Why designate a third party to act as my registered agent in Georgia?

It should be noted that registered agent information is made publicly available. This can cause privacy concerns for business owners who do not wish to list their personal contact information on the internet for everyone to see. It is also common for the registered agent to become a target of spam or robocalls since this private information is relatively easy to obtain. Another issue that may arise is that in the case of a lawsuit, these documents would be hand delivered directly to the registered agent, and in the case that you used your business location for this purpose, this could occur in front of your customers. This is why many business owners opt for a third-party registered agent service such as MyCorporation to act as a registered agent on behalf of their business.

Another issue that may arise is that in the case of a lawsuit, these documents would be hand delivered directly to the registered agent. In the case that you used your business location for this purpose, this could occur in front of your customers. This is why many business owners opt for a third-party registered agent service such as MyCorporation to act as a registered agent on behalf of their business.

For a full list of registered agents in Delaware, please visit the Delaware Division of Corporations.

Tip: Our Deluxe and Premium formation packages include a full year of registered agent services for your business. We also offer standalone registered agent services which you can add to your business later.

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The state of Georgia requires you to file Articles of Organization when forming a Georgia limited liability company. The articles must include the exact name of the LLC and set forth that management of the LLC is vested in one or more managers. The filing fee to file the application by mail is $100 and $110 for hand delivery (the additional $10 covers the paper filing service charge). Checks or money orders must be made out to the Secretary of State.

What information should be included in the Articles of Organization?

As noted above, information required in the Articles of Organization covers basic information as it pertains to the Georgia LLC. Please remember to have a member of the LLC sign and date the articles of organization.

After formation, the state of Georgia requires an LLC to create an operating agreement. This agreement needs to be written, and should be kept with the company's records. In order to open a bank account for your business, you will often be required to submit both your operating agreement, and your EIN number.

What kind of information needs to be included in a Georgia operating agreement?

Operating agreements are required in Georgia and are an important to lay the foundation of a properly run business. An operating agreement sets guidelines for the way your business operates now and into the future. Common details in an operating agreement include the following:

  • Basic contact details: The name of the LLC, the address of the principal business location and often, the registered agent address.
  • The business purpose: This is a basic one sentence description of what kind of business your LLC will do, and is often a very general description, which creates a bit more flexibility as the business matures.
  • Tax structure: Often this indicates the way the LLC will choose to be taxed. The main options are to be taxed as a sole proprietor or a partnership ( both pass through options ) or to be taxed as a corporation ( which requires an S Corp Election to be filed )
  • Ownership and management: This section lays out the general rules about how the business will operate day to day. This refers to step 3, where you determined whether your business would be "manager managed" or "member managed". As mentioned before, member managed is the default and the most common choice. If you are unsure, member managed is a pretty safe bet.
Tip: All of our formation packages include a sample operating agreement you can use directly, or modify to fit your needs. Start Now

The business licenses and/or permits your Georgia LLC obtains will ultimately be determined by its location (including city and/or county) and industry. You will need to obtain a federal tax ID known as an EIN, which we will discuss more about momentarily. The Georgia Secretary of State has a professional licensing page where small business owners may conduct a search for an individual licensee or a facility license. It is recommended that you conduct a search for existing data records before adding new information in order to avoid adding in potentially duplicate data to their system. Then, you may submit an application for a new business license. This page may also be used to renew an existing license or for a charity renewal.

In a pinch, you may also use MyCorporation's business license compliance package. Our skilled professionals will do the work for you. We identify all licenses required by your business and provide you with the information you need in order to file.

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MyCorporation® takes the guess work out of starting your business. Answer a few simple questions, and our filing experts will take care of the rest.

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An EIN (also called a Federal Tax Id) is a nine-digit number that is issued by the IRS and used to uniquely identify your business for tax purposes. Think of it as a Social Security Number (SSN) for your business, except an EIN is far less sensitive. It is important to wait until the LLC has been approved by the state before applying, and for that reason, filing for an EIN is one of the last things to do when you are setting up a business.

Like a social security number, the EIN allows you to:

  • Open business checking, savings, or investment accounts
  • File taxes for the business
  • Complete payroll for employees if applicable
  • Obtain lines of credit and credit cards, as well as "build credit" for your business
  • Apply for applicable business licenses when required.

You only need a few pieces of information to file including your mailing address and legal business name. You can apply online with the IRS by downloading IRS Form SS-4, or work alongside a third party organization like MyCorporation to complete an EIN application.

limited liability company Formation Packages

Save money and simplify the process of starting your business by bundling the services you need with our business formation packages.

BASICS
$99
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
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STANDARD
$124
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
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DELUXE
$224
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
  • Registered Agent services
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Frequently asked questions

In Georgia, if your profession requires state licensing, you would incorporate your business as a Professional Service Limited Liability Company (PLLC). This often includes doctors, lawyers, therapists, and other professions where state licensure is required.

A PLLC is different than a Professional Corporation (PC), which consists of shareholders that own company stock and has different tax implications. Georgia allows licensed professionals the opportunity to form both a PLLC and PC, if desired. PLLCs are usually more popular, as they require less effort to build and operate.

Generally, this can include the following professions:

  • Accounting
  • Acupuncture
  • Architecture
  • Chiropractic
  • Clinical social work
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Marriage, family, and child counseling
  • Medicine
  • Speech-language pathology and audiology
  • Nursing
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Shorthand court reporters

According to the Georgia Secretary of State, standard processing may take up to 12 days to form an LLC. Check in with the Secretary of State for further updates on document processing timelines.

Georgia LLCs are required to file an annual report, which is also referred to as an annual registration in Georgia. A Georgia LLC's annual registration is due by April 1st, but may also be filed as early as January 1st. The annual registration must include the name of the LLC, name of the person filing the registration, a valid email address, name and address of the registered agent, and mailing address of the principal office. Remember to pay the $50 filing fee. You may file the annual registration online, by mail, or hand-deliver the application and fee to the Georgia Secretary of State office.

Businesses organized in other states can foreign qualify to conduct business in Georgia. These entities must file with the Corporations Division in Georgia.

In order to form a limited liability company in Georgia, you will be required to pay various fees for services. The breakdown of the required fees is as follows:

  • Articles of Organization Filing Fee (online) - $100
  • Annual Registration (Annual Report) Filing Fee - $50
  • Name Reservation (30-Day) - $25

In total, expect to set aside at least $175 to form an LLC in Georgia.