Step 1) Pick a Name for Your Georgia Corporation

Choose a Business NameThere are set rules on naming your Corporation when starting a business in Georgia. Your business name should be unique and not like other existing business names registered with the Corporations Division of Georgia. There are also some extra state-specific instructions.

First, the name you choose should not exceed 80 characters, counting spaces and punctuation. Second, the corporate name must end with any of the words: ‘Corporation’, ‘Company’, ‘Incorporated’, or Limited. Third, the name should not imply or show that your business is formed for any other purpose other than that specifically stated in your Articles of Incorporation.

When you have a name, check for its validity using the Georgia business name search database. When the name is valid and is still available, a reservation can be made for 30 days for a nominal fee of $25 to be filed at the state’s Corporations Division.


Step 2) File a Certificate of Incorporation

Register an LLCThe next step to incorporating in Georgia is to legally register your business with the Corporations Division. You can do this by filing a Corporation in Georgia using the Certificate of Incorporation form.

This form should be filed to the address specified on the actual document. Some information in connection with your Corporation will be required. These include:

Filing fee: $100


Step 3) Hire a Georgia Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentThe standard requirements for a Registered Agent in Georgia or an agent for service of process should be met to file your business legally.  The Georgia Registered Agent may be a qualified person or an officially registered business entity in the state.

A name and physical address should be given as the place where all legal correspondence will be forwarded. The Registered Agent should also consent to the position before designation.

Qualifications are no the only important characteristics of a Registered Agent in Georgia. You can ask the help of Rocket Lawyer to find a competent and reliable agent to do the job.


Step 4) Maintain a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Book is just an ordinary book where you can file and organize all your Corporation documents; it contains business licenses, tax requirements, Georgia Corporation registration documents. By storing everything in this book, it will make it easier for you to sort through documents when the need arises.

A Corporate Records Book should be stored at your office address. You can buy one of these books at the office supply store in your neighborhood or you can directly have it shipped by Amazon.


Step 5) Elect Initial Directors for Your Georgia Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsAs the owner of your Georgia Corporation, you are to elect a board of directors. This initial set of directors will serve your business at the time of forming a Corporation in Georgia. They will serve until such time that the first shareholder’s meeting happens where the shareholders will then elect new ones.

When you get initial directors, create an Incorporator’s Statement with the name and address of each incorporate. Then, you must place this document in your Corporate Records Book for recordkeeping purposes.


Step 6) Have an Initial Meeting with the Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsThe next step in starting a Georgia Corporation is to conduct the first meeting with your directors.  The following agenda will then be discussed:

Prepare the minutes of the meeting with the signatures of all the attendees.


Step 7) Comply with All of Your Georgia Business Tax and Business Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesTo comply with your requirements for Georgia business taxes, you must do the following tasks:

  1. Procure an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for free at the official website of the IRS.
  2. Make sure you understand and complete with all the requirements for your business tax. This is important to your legal registration as a Corporation, and it is also a requirement for Georgia Corporation maintenance. (Use our Georgia Tax Guide to understand more on this topic.)
  3. As a Corporation, you may opt to be registered as an S Corporation. Should this be the case, file a Form 2553 Election signed by the shareholders of the business. Click here for further details on S Corporations. (Optional)

Besides your business taxes, you should also take care of your Georgia business licenses. There are several that you need to complete, so make sure you don’t miss a single requirement with our Georgia Business Licenses and Regulations guide.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountAs a new entrepreneur, keeping your business and personal finances separate is extremely important. This will make tax time and any other profit and loss research much less stressful.

Do this by opening a separate business bank account to operate with. From Bank of America to Chase, there are many options. Check out this roundup for our favorite picks.


To-Do After Starting a Georgia Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Georgia Corporation. Other than those 8 steps from state guidelines, here are a few extra steps based on best practice for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Create a Funding Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanOne of the important tasks when forming a business in Georgia is to look for capital to start your venture. As a startup entrepreneur, it may be challenging to do this task without a way to show the viability of your business. To better equip you with finding the right funding, you need a business plan.

A business plan should clearly and comprehensively outline your business, its purpose, goals, and how to accomplish its goals. If you want to get started on that solid business plan now, use the information and tips on how to write it below.

Quick Links on How to Write a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteThe next step when starting a business in Georgia is to build a professional website. This will give you added credibility and help future customers find out more.

Although building a website was difficult to do in the early 2000’s, nowadays it’s easy! You can use a simple tool like WordPress to build a customizable website. Learn how to get started with this step-by-step guide.


3) Create Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsThere are two important purposes of your Georgia Corporation bylaws. One, this document sets the necessary ground rules for business operations. Two, it proves your legitimacy as a Corporation to outside entities.

Although not a requirement by the state upon incorporation, it is still highly recommended to have one.

Please be advised that this article is an informational guide only, and it should be treated that way. For specifics on how to form a Corporation in Georgia or starting a business in Georgia, there is no comparison to the expertise of your lawyer, so always consult him.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

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