Here's Everything You Need to Know About Launching a Business in Georgia

Starting a new business can be extremely exciting but also nerve-racking, with no idea where to start and who you need to register with. Then there’s tax… how do you manage that? And that’s before you have to file for the appropriate licenses. If you’re at a bit of a loss in the business game, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a business in the state of Georgia.

Business Idea

At this very early stage, you need to carry out research and find a gap in the market. When you’re creating your idea, you should take into account what you can bring to the table and what you’ll need support with. Next, you need to come up with your target audience and work out your chances of success - new businesses are cutthroat and only the strong survive. Once you’ve planted the seed of your business, you need to formulate a business plan. Your business plan will be used to persuade people to join your crusade, so make sure it’s snappy.

The Structure

For small businesses, the most common legal structures are limited liability companies (LLC), partnership, sole proprietor, and corporation. For this article, we will focus largely on LLCs. Underneath these headings, there are substructures, but you can find more information on that here.

A Name

Your business is going to need a unique name. For LLCs, you need to check that your preferred business name isn’t already being used by an entity already registered with the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS). You can search for available names through the SOS website, and reserve names for up to 30 days. As an LLC or corporation, you may need to include the titles LLC or Company respectively.

When it comes to online businesses, you will also need to find a domain name available. So, ensure that you carry out some research on available domain names and set up web hosting facilities as soon as possible. To avoid issues of trademark infringement, you should consult the federal and state information - you can find out how here.

Your Business Entity

To create an LLC in Georgia, you’re required to file Articles of Organization with the Georgia SOS - a registered agent in Georgia must be assigned to get you through the process. Although not law, there is an unwritten rule that you should draft an operating agreement, which will detail the basic rules around how you will operate.

The Permits and Licenses

For your business to sell goods in Georgia, you must register with the DOR (Department of Revenue), which collects tax sales. If you will be hiring employees, you must also register for employee withholding taxes. The GTC can offer more information on taxation. Another thing you need to register for is an Employer Identification number, which allows you to trade under a name that isn’t your own.

You will need to apply for regulatory licenses, which cover health and safety, the environment, building, and construction, or specific industries. Alternatively, you will need to register for professional licenses, which covers people working in fields covered by the Professional Licensing Boards Division.

Choose a Location

Your business location is important and will directly impact the business insurance you need in Georgia. You will need to check the zoning regulations for the area you wish to trade-in. Alternatively, you can save this step by running your business from home, especially if your trade can be fulfilled without the need for a separate location.

Report Taxations - Banking

For an LLC, you are required to pay a share of the LLC income through personal tax returns. Further, members must file either a corporation or a partnership tax form - which one you need to fill out will depend on how your business is registered with the federal tax office.

The final step in the chain, once you’ve obtained insurance, is to open a bank account. No matter what type of legal structure your company is based on, you should open a separate account to track your finances.

Opening a business is hard work, but follow the correct procedures and you will be trading out of Georgia in no time.


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