The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses. The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Georgia without an attorney.
Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.
Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.
Forming an LLC in Georgia can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more. There are companies like IncFile, Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.
To form a Limited Liability Company in Georgia, file the Articles of Organization with the Georgia Secretary of State. The LLC filing fee in Georgia is $100.
Approval time for the Georgia LLC typically takes around 2-3 weeks if filing by mail or 1-2 weeks if filing online. Expedited process is also available. 24-48 hour processing is an additional $100 for a total cost of $200. Same-day processing will cost an additional $250 for a total cost of $350.
If you have questions, contact the Georgia Secretary of State.
HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A GEORGIA LLC
The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same. The screenshots show filing online.
Step 1: Create the Business
When filing an LLC that is based in Georgia, select “Create or Register a Business” then select “I am creating a new domestic business” and then “Domestic Limited Liability Company”. Registering a Foreign LLC is used when a business that has formed in another state wants to do business in another state.
Step 2: Business Name
If you have previously registered the business name with the Secretary of State, select “Yes” for the question Do you have a Business Name Reservation Number? The name registration isn’t required before filing for an LLC.
Select a name for your LLC. Remember that the name of the LLC has to differ from other entity names in the state of Georgia. Check on available LLC names. There is optional forms for a 2nd and 3rd name choice in case the first name isn’t available. If you search for the name availability before filing, it is likely the name will still be available.
Last, the legal name of the LLC must include one of the following at the end of the business name:
- Limited Liability Company
- Ltd. Liability Company
- Ltd Liability Company
- Ltd. Company
- Ltd Company
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Ltd Liability Co
- Ltd. Liability Co
- Ltd Liability Co.
- Limited Company
- Limited Co.
- Limited Co
- Ltd. Co.
- Ltd Co
- Ltd. Co
- Ltd Co.
Step 3: Business Purpose
This section is used to classify the industry the business operates in. If you choose to list your business industry, select a NAICS Code from the drop-down menu.
The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is a six-digit number that classifies and categorize the different businesses. This information is used in reporting statistical data for each of the industries in the U.S. Remember this number as you will need it when filing annual tax returns. Find your NAICS number here.
If the activities of your business aren’t specifically listed but you want to answer, select the industry that is the closest or “Any Legal Purpose”.
Step 4: Principal Office
In this section, enter the street address, city, state, zip code and country of the initial principal office. This address can be the physical address of the LLC, the address where the business records are kept or the address of the Registered Agent. You may not use a PO Box for the principal office.
Step 5: Business Email
Enter the email address where the notice of the LLCs approval should be sent.
Step 6: Registered Agent
To have an LLC in Georgia, a Registered Agent must be identified. The Registered Agent is either a Georgia resident or a corporate agent registered with the state of Georgia. The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.
If the Registered Agent will be an individual note that when you type their name a message that says “No data found” will appear. When that happens a button will be created that will allow you to create a registered agent and enter their contact information.
Even though any individual can be the registered agent (business owner, member, friend, etc), their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home. Hiring a company to be the Registered Agent will reduce the number of unwanted phone calls and mailings.
Step 7: Organizer Information
An LLC Organizer is someone involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization. The Organizer may or may not become a member, such as a mentor, attorney or accountant, but the initial members will all be listed as organizers.
Step 8: Optional Provisions
This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs. Here you would include additional rules for the operation of the LLC.
Step 9: Filer’s Certification
Click on the box that states the filer agrees to the terms.
The next area asks about the effective date of the LLC. By default, the LLC is effective on the date submitted. If you prefer to have the LLC officially start at a later date (up to 90 days), enter that date in this field.
Last, one of the members / owner (choose Member) or organizers (choose Organizer) will enter their full name.
Step 10: Review
Review the information to ensure it is all correct.
Step 11: Pay and File
Pay and file the Georgia Articles of Organization.
If mailing, send the form and a check or money order payable to the Georgia Secretary of State to:
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313, West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Georgia. Remember even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing. If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.
While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases. An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC. Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.
After the LLC is officially filed, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account. There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get. See how to apply for an EIN.
Last, before starting a business in Georgia, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Georgia. See the Guide to Starting a Business in Georgia for more information.