Start a Business in Georgia

Tips To Start A Business In Georgia

Whether you are following the EverEmployed program or going it on your own, many entrepreneurs choose to operate as an S-corp for a number of reasons. While we can’t offer legal advice, here are general instructions and resources on setting up an S-corp in Georgia. If you are still unsure as to what an S-Corp is, please refer to our article, “What is an S-Corp?

All About the Name

Each state has differing rules about what goes into a corporation’s name. The rules for Georgia, as defined by the Secretary of State Corporations Division are as follows:

  • The name of the corporation must not be more than 80 characters in length (This includes spaces and punctuation)
  • The corporation name must end in one of the following words (Or an abbreviation of them): Incorporated (Inc.), Corporation (Corp.), Company (Co.) or Limited (Ltd.)
  • The name must be distinguishable from any other entity name on file with the Secretary of State Corporations Division. See their website for a list of standards and restrictions to consider when choosing a name
  • A chosen name may be reserved for 30 days through the Corporation Division website. 

All About the Paperwork

The state of Georgia requires that a new corporation file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State in order to be legally recognized as a corporation. The state does not provide a standard form to be filed, but rules for preparing the document can be found in the Filing Procedures document provided by the Corporations Division.

The articles will state the name and address of the corporation (include the mailing address if different), the number of shares authorized (cannot be 0), the name and address of each incorporator, and the name and address of the agent for service of process.

No more than the next business day after the articles are filed, a corporation must publish a notice of intent to incorporate with the newspaper in their county.

An initial annual report must be filed online  with the Secretary of State within 90 days of incorporating. This initial form will list three principal officers of the corporation. The registration will then be filed annually online  or the corporation will be subject to dissolution.

All About State and Federal Taxes

Each corporation needs to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is an easy and free form found on the IRS Website. 

If you choose to operate as an S-Corp, you must elect that status by filing From 2552: Election by a Small BusinessCorporation with the IRS. This form must be signed by all shareholders and signed within 75 days of the first tax year.

You will also need to register as a new business with the Georgia Department of Revenue for state tax purposes.

All About Finalizing the Framework

Once your S-corp is set up, remember to get a business license in the city you are operating.  Most cities pull data from newly-registered businesses in the state so they can track down who in their city should have a license.  While you can wait for your city to come knocking if you are on a tight budget (and many will simply give you a deadline to get a license), some municipalities may not be so friendly about it.
Please continue on to our “What Do I Do Next?” article for more guidance on where to go from here.
If you have helpful information or insights to add about starting a business in Georgia, feel free to comment below.
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