Welcome to the Start a Business guide to registration in the state of Georgia. Individuals looking to start a business in the state of Georgia can do so by creating an account with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division website, logging into this account and registering online using the conveniently user friendly platform. If you do not wish to file through the online portal, you may submit your filing through the mail. A list of filing fees for each category of entity, instructions pertaining to their formation as well as information on the various functions found on the government website can be found in our tutorial below. Scroll down for more info
Start an Entity
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
Search for a Name
All businesses must operate under a completely unique name within the state of Georgia. To ensure yourself that the name you wish to use is available, or to inquire about the business details of a particular business, a Name Search should be performed on the government website. This search can be useful to research the registered agent of a company or to obtain the information necessary to acquire a Certificate of Existence. We often suggest using this business entity search function as the first step in formation of a company.
How to Register in Georgia
Step 1 – As indicated above, the first step to registration is usually the adoption of a name decided upon by the managing members of a business. Foreign entities will of course already be operating under a current name. In either case, a Business Name Search should be performed to inquire whether the name you’d like to use is already registered under a separate business entity in Georgia. If this is the case, foreign businesses will need to select a fictitious name which accurately represents their company for business in Georgia. The name must also be accompanied by an indicator of the type of entity you wish to form (i.e. Smithson Incorporated) or an abbreviation of that word (i.e. Smithson Inc.). To ensure that your choice doesn’t get taken before filing, you may use the Name Reservation function to secure your selection for a period of up to 30 days (filing fee $25).
Step 2 – Following the process of searching and deciding upon a name, is the selection of the business type you would like to form and qualify for. Below we’ve listed all the variations, linked are tutorials for each individual process.
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership
Step 3 – Once you’ve completed either the online or paper form of the application, and have prepared the necessary documents such as the certificate of existence (for foreign entities) or the Transmittal Form (for each domestic entity), you can proceed to the payment of the filing fee. Each entity type will have a different filing fee, all of which will be made payable to the Secretary of State. If filing online, this payment can be made simply by using your credit card on the Corporations Division website.
- Domestic Corporations-$100
- Foreign Corporations-$225
- Domestic LLC – $100
- Foreign LLC- $225
- Domestic Limited Partnership-$100
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership-$100
- Foreign Limited Partnership-$225
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership –$200
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership-$225
Step 4- If not filing online, you will need to send the original of your application, a copy of your application, any other form and the attached filing fee to the below address for processing. This will usually take 5-7 business days although the office of the Secretary of State will email you confirming that they have received your envelope.
Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
A Name Reservation can be practical for those wishing to preserve the rights to their chosen name before conducting business in Georgia. This filing can especially prove useful for foreign businesses wishing to avoid filing under a fictitious name. This function can be performed online, and will be payable by credit card (fee $25). Name Reservations can also be done using a paper application for the same price. The name in question will be unavailable to any other business for a period of 30 days after you’ve filed.
Certificate of Existence
Often called a certificate of status or certificate of good standing, the Certificate of Existence is used to prove that a business has complied to state statues and has maintained the status of “Active” through the proper filing of their Annual Registration forms. Each copy of a certificate can easily be obtained online and will cost $10, payable by credit card. Those wishing to expand their business to other states or countries will often need to provide the necessary authorities with a certificate to prove their validity.
It is recommended that each entity, after filing the necessary forms with the Secretary of State, draft an agreement which will dictate the manner in which said business shall operate. None of the below documents are legally required, although all of them prove to other business and financial institutions that the company in question is both organized and legitimate. The contents of the agreements will usually state all information not already supplied in the original articles used upon formation such as the division of ownership, the managerial responsibilities and any small detail pertaining to the daily operations of the business. Click on each of the below links to be presented with more information on each type of agreement and to download a free template that is available in both PDF and Microsoft Word formatting.
Employer Identification Number
Regardless of the type of business you are forming or registering, you will need to acquire an Employer Identification Number in order to transact financial undertakings. This number will be used by IRS to identify you come tax season when you report your withheld income tax for that year. Available both through online application or through a PDF Application (SS-4), the EIN can be acquired in just minutes at no additional cost to your filing.