Forming a limited liability company (LLC) is a game-changer for Georgia's entrepreneurs and small business owners. Between the personal liability protection, the numerous tax benefits, and owner and management flexibility, Georgia LLCs are well worth how much they cost to start and maintain.
Unfortunately, many Georgians are hesitant to form LLCs because of the paperwork and fees associated with the business entity. We’re here to help you realize that you shouldn’t be.
In this post, we’ll break down the main fees Georgia LLCs have to pay and when and show you how to remain in good standing with your local, state, and federal government. We’ll discuss:
Are you ready to form your LLC? Let’s get started!
Business Name Reservation Fees
Since you’re forming an LLC, you need to have “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.” in your organization’s name. Also, you can’t include:
Before filling out any forms, run a business search on Georgia’s Corporations Division page to see if your desired name is available. The Peach State is home to over 1.1 million businesses, and 99.6% are small businesses. If even one of them has a name indistinguishable from yours, you won’t be able to use it.
You should also check your business name’s availability on the US Patents and Trademarks Office to ensure you won’t violate anyone’s trademark if you’re marketing your services under your business name. Even though you can register your LLC with the Secretary of State, you don’t have carte blanche to use it beyond signing legal and financial documents.
If your business name is available, you can reserve it for 30 days while you get the rest of your paperwork in order. The reservation fee is $25.
If 30 days isn’t enough time, you can reapply for a 30-day extension for an additional $25.
“Doing Business As” Fees
Business owners usually use their LLC’s name to establish name-brand recognition. However, you must only use your official name on legal and financial documents. If you prefer to use a different name during everyday conversation, you can apply for a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.
In Georgia, the cost of your DBA name varies based on your location. For example, in Fulton County, filing your DBA is $172. Check your local government website to see how much a DBA costs in your area.
Also, be mindful that using your DBA could infringe on someone’s trademark, so double-check with the US Patents and Trademarks office before using it.We recommend looking up your business’s URL availability on who.is. For many businesses, the majority of their customers find them online. If your LLC or DBA name isn’t similar to your business’ domain name, customers visiting your website may think they’re in the wrong place.
LLC Fees In Georgia For Registered Agents
Next, you need to select a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or commercial entity responsible for your LLC’s legal, government, and other correspondence. Do to so, they must have a physical address in Georgia, not just a P.O. Box.
When the Secretary of State approves your LLC, its physical address gets made public knowledge. For that reason, many business owners and entrepreneurs opt to use a commercial entity as their registered agent.
Choosing someone in your organization to be your registered agent won’t cost you anything. If you decide to work with a commercial registered agent service, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 per year.
LLC Filing Fees In Georgia
Now that you know your business name is available and you’ve selected a registered agent, you’re ready to form your LLC! To do so, you need to file your articles of organization. While the term sound intimidating, it’s simply a form outlining your LLC’s basic information, including:
Reread this document carefully before you submit it. If you make any errors, it can cause you a real headache later on.
The filing fee for your articles of organization is $100.
Georgia LLC Fees For Operating Agreement
Your operating agreement outlines the rules and regulations of your organization. The Peach State doesn’t require LLCs to submit one, but all businesses should have one—regardless of their size or structure.
Even if you’re a single-member LLC and never plan on hiring an employee, we recommend drafting an operating agreement. If you never end up in a financial or legal dispute and don’t have this document to refer to for guidance, the final decision may be left to the courts. That may not benefit you, your members, or your LLC.
Your operating agreement should include:
Operating agreements don’t cause anything to draft. Some websites will offer to help you draft one for around $50 - $200. You can also ask for an attorney’s help, but they’ll likely charge more.
Business License Fees For Georgia LLCs
Many Georgia LLCs need local, state, or federal operating licenses to conduct business in the state. However, this varies by where you’re located and the nature of your business. Visit Georgia’s Department of Revenue site to see a list of license fees based on business categories. These fees range from $50 to $1,000.
Sales Tax Registration Fees
If you have a physical presence or meet the economic nexus requirements, you must register for a Sales and Use Tax Permit.
Here’s the good news: it’s free!
To receive your permit, you need to submit the following information:
Annual LLC Fees Georgia
Now that your LLC is up and running, you need to remain in good standing by complying with local, state, and federal government requirements. Besides paying taxes and making sure all your paperwork is in order, the main requirement for an LLC is to file your annual report.
The information you need for this report is similar to that of your articles of organization. Annual registration begins on January 1st and goes through April 1st, and costs $50 to file.
Georgia’s annual reports are among the most affordable in the country. Here are what a few other states charge:
Total Cost Of LLC Fees In Georgia
Here’s the full list of Georgia’s LLC fees and how often they’re due:
Business name reservation
DBA name designation
$172 in Fulton County, varies in other municipalities
Registered agent fees
$0 if you do it yourself, or $100 - $300 each year
Articles of organization
Operating agreement costs
$0 if you do it yourself, or $50 -$200 or more
Business license fee
Varies, $50 - $1,000
Sales tax registration fees
Still have more questions about LLC fees in Georgia or about forming LLCs in general? We’re here to help!
If you file after April 1, you will have to pay a $25 late fee.
If you’re operating an LLC and want to expand, you’ll usually need a Certificate of Existence (also known as a Certificate of Good Standing). Typically, you’ll need one to open a bank account or work with a lending institution. You can get this document on Georgia’s government website. A physical copy costs $20.
Yes. It doesn’t matter if your LLC has one person or one hundred. The costs will be identical.
While no two business entities are identical, many of the fees associated with forming an LLC are comparable to that of an S Corp. For a full breakdown of the fees required to form an S Corp, visit Georgia's Secretary of State’s website.
Paying yourself from an LLC is really straightforward. Simply transfer a portion of your organization’s cash reserve from your business account to your personal account. If you’re also transferring funds to other LLC members’ accounts, follow the guidelines outlined in your operating agreement or via any other document you’ve read and signed, and do so accordingly.
Final Thoughts: How Much Are LLC Fees In Georgia?
Between reserving a business name, selecting a registered agent, and drafting your articles of organization and an operating agreement, forming an LLC can take a lot of work. Luckily, these are all things you’re only required to do once—and once you have all this information, everything else is easy. All you have to do is be mindful of deadlines and pay your fees on time.
Now that you know and understand all the costs associated with forming and maintaining an LLC, you’re one step closer to starting your business!Want to capitalize on that success? Take a look at The Lazy Man’s Guide to Living The Good Life, and learn how to amplify your chances of running a thriving organization.