Last Updated 02 August 2017 | By:

How to Form a Corporation in Georgia

(7 Simple Steps)

How to Use this Guide

Use our free guide below to incorporate in Georgia or have a reliable service do it for you:

IncFile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick incorporation.

LegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular incorporation service available.

Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name

Choose a Business NameThe first step is verifying that the brand name you want isn’t already taken, too similar to an already registered entity, or contains restricted wording. Make sure to conduct a Business Entity Search through the state, and if trademark issues might be possible, use the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office to check.

The name shouldn’t exceed 80 characters, counting spaces and punctuation. Also, it must end with: ‘Corporation’, ‘Company’, ‘Incorporated’, or ‘Limited’ or any appropriate abbreviations. If needed, file a Name Reservation Request to have it set aside for your business for 30 days.

Filing Fee: $25

Step 2) Choose A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Georgia Registered Agent is either an individual or registered corporate entity that receives and helps handle/process all official documentation on behalf of your company like legal notifications, tax forms, state filings, etc. It’s very important so you’ll want this agent to be timely and responsible.

The agent should have a Georgia street address, not P.O. Box, and they should officially accept the position. That being said, you can hire an outside service and pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

Step 3) File Certificate Of Incorporation

Register an LLCOnce you have a registered agent, when you and your directors are ready, to make the brand official you must file a Certificate of Incorporation form with the state. It’s a declarative statement of for the public record of the basics of your brand including:

  • Corporate name, address and Statement of Purpose,
  • Name and address of the Registered Agent,
  • Name and address of each incorporator,
  • The number of shares allowable for issuance, and so on.

Filing fee: $100

Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsThink of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

Step 5) Elect Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the Georgia corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountIdeally this subject was heavily discussed in your initial meeting. And listen, if it needs to be tackled for a little bit that’s fine because where you choose to set up your corporation’s financial foundations is critical.

Fees and interest rates matter. Overall business services, location and availability matters. There are local, state, and national banks as well as non-profit credit unions and online-only banks to consider. Once chosen, ensure the accounts have strict access control and aren’t mixed with accounts of any other kind for tidy numbers-keeping.

Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesTo ensure that you will not face penalties, fines, and fees when operating a business, you need to completely fulfill your Georgia business taxes and licenses obligations to the state. Some good moves to make here include:

  1. Quickly get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, for free through the IRS Website.
  2. Bookmark the Atlanta Small Business Admin office and the Dept. of Corp’s Business Services.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider a reliable business license research service that take care of the legwork for you.