How to Start a Business in Georgia
There are several steps you should take before you can start a business in Georgia. It is
necessary for you to follow the right steps so that you can avoid cases where you will be on the wrong side of the law. There are several guidelines which you should follow for your business to operate in the state of Georgia. For instance, you should register your business and adhere to all regulations put in place when it comes to running businesses. The type of business you will prefer to start will dictate the type of licenses you will have to get. For example, if you decide to start a food selling business, there are specific requirements you need to meet. Filing tax returns is also an issue you should take into consideration before you start a business in Georgia.
Guidelines you should follow to start a business in Georgia
Choose the type of business based on legal structures
There are different legal structures provided in Georgia which you should follow before you start a business. It is necessary to choose a legal structure which suits your business because it will be the basis upon which you will file tax returns at the end of the financial year. Remember you are required by law to file tax returns hence you should always decide on the right legal structure. Some of the legal structures you can decide to start a business based on including a limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship, and corporation. You can consult a business lawyer in the state of Georgia so that you can get more information about your legal obligation after you decide to start different forms of business.
Factors to consider before you decide on a given structure
Some of the factors you should take into consideration before you decide on a given form of business include the finance available. Starting a limited liability company will require you to have a lot of money regarding capital while starting a sole proprietorship or even partnership will not require you to have a lot of initial capital. You should as well take into consideration the tax benefits you will enjoy after you start a given form of business.
Choosing a business name
If you decide to start a business corporation or a limited liability company, then you should choose a unique name which will distinguish your entity from others. You should carry out a business search at the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS) database so that you can know whether your business is unique. If the name is unique and you are yet to register the business, you can reserve it for up to 30 days. The name reservation form can be sent to the SOS, or you can reserve it online via the state website portal. You can as well decide to open a business in Georgia online; in such a case you should register your domain name so that your business can be distinguished from the rest in the field.
Creating Your Business Entity in Georgia
If you decide to open a sole proprietorship, then there are no organization documents for you to file. There is also no organization papers required for you to file when starting a partnership in Georgia. But, it is necessary for you to have a written partnership agreement which can guide you to run the business. If you are a professional and you decide to start limited liability partnership, then you will have to file a limited liability partnership election with the office of the clerk of the Superior Court.
If you decide to form a limited liability company in Georgia, then you need to file articles of organization. The articles should be filed with the office of Georgia SOS. You should as well appoint a registered agent in Georgia for the registration process. Corporations also require the filing of articles of incorporation with the Georgia SOS. You can as well form bylaws, though not a legal requirement. The bylaws can help in the smooth running of your business.
Licenses and Permits
To operate a business in Georgia, you need a license. Some of the licenses you need to run your business include the following:
If your business deals with selling of goods in the state of Georgia, then you should register with the department of revenue (DOR). The department will then collect sales tax. IF you have employees, then you should register with DOR for employer withholding taxes. Georgia tax center allows you to register different types of businesses.
Federal Employer identification number EIN
If you run a business with employees or the business is taxed separately, then you need to obtain an EIN. Banks require EIN to open accounts in your business name. The IRS website can allow you complete an EIN form online.
Regulatory licenses and permits
They are licenses you require for your business. They will cover areas such as health and safety, environment, specific industries as well as building and construction.
Professional and occupational licenses
They are licenses required to cover people who work in different fields. You can obtain the licenses by applying through Professional Licensing Boards Division at the SOS website.
Business Location and Zoning
You will be required to pick a place where your business will operate in Georgia and check the local zoning regulations. Different towns and cities in Georgia have zoning regulations.
Taxes and Reporting
The state of Georgia taxes all forms of business. It is necessary to check out your business structure and file tax returns according to the business structure. IRS publications outline different taxes you need to file in Georgia based on your business model. It is necessary for you to choose the right business structure so that you can find it easy to comply with the law when it comes to filling tax returns.
Insurance cover for your business
After you have come up with a business, it is necessary for you to take insurance cover which can protect you against different risk your business can face. There are several insurance companies available in Georgia; it is necessary for you to choose the best insurance company which has a cover which suits your given business structure.