A limited liability company, or LLC, is a form of business association that combines the best aspects of a corporation and a partnership. As in a corporation, investors and owners of an LLC enjoy limited liability, which generally prevents LLC creditors from satisfying LLC debts with the personal assets of investors and owners. As in a partnership (and unlike a corporation), the assets of an LLC are not taxed until the proceeds are distributed to LLC owners. Forming an LLC in Georgia requires submitting a document, called articles of organization, with the Georgia secretary of state.
Choose a name for your LLC in compliance with Georgia law. Georgia LLC law imposes strict requirements on the name you give to your new Georgia LLC. The name of your Georgia LLC must also not exceed 80 characters. You must include either the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC” in your LLC’s name. The name of your LLC must be distinguishable from the name of any other business association registered in Georgia. To assist you in choosing a distinguishable name for your LLC, you may want to check with the website of the Georgia secretary of state, which maintains an online database of all business associations registered in Georgia.
Pick a registered agent. Under Georgia LLC law, you must designate a registered agent for your LLC. If your Georgia LLC is ever sued, the registered agent (either a person or a business) designated by your LLC will receive service of process of the lawsuit. If you maintain a residence in Georgia, you may serve as the registered agent of your LLC. However, if you do not wish to associate your personal information with your LLC in a publicly accessible record, you may choose to hire a registered process agent to serve as the registered agent of your LLC.
Choose your preferred method of filing. The Georgia secretary of state allows individuals seeking to start an LLC to file an articles of organization by mail or via the Internet. If you are filing online, the only permissible method of creating an LLC is by completing the Georgia secretary of state’s online application. If you are filing by mail, you must download a transmittal form from the Georgia secretary of state’s website and draft your own articles of organization rather than simply filling out a form.
Download and fill out the transmittal form, or fill out the online application. The transmittal form and the online application require the same information. You must provide the name of your Georgia LLC and the name and address of the person filing the articles of organization. You must also supply the name and mailing address of the registered agent of your LLC. You must also supply the name and address of each individual organizing the LLC.
Draft articles of organization if filing via mail. The Georgia secretary of state requires individuals filing by mail to personally draft separate articles of incorporation. The Georgia secretary of state provides sample articles of organization on its website. At a minimum, the articles of incorporation for your Georgia LLC must set forth the name of your LLC, the date of execution and the signature of the person executing the articles of organization. You also have the option of including other clauses in your articles of organization as long as they are consistent with Georgia corporation law.
File your articles of organization and transmittal form with the Georgia secretary of state. As of 2010, the fee for filing is $100. If you are filing online, you must pay by credit card. If you are filing by mail, you must pay by check made payable to “Secretary of State.”
While you can register your Georgia LLC over the Internet, you may want to consult an attorney about drafting your articles of organization or the tax implications of forming a Georgia LLC.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images