Why Start an Atlanta LLC?
The capital city of Georgia, Atlanta is a bustling urban center and a mecca for media, entertainment, and globally beloved brands. Its location in the heart of the U.S. and the gateway to the South positions it as a travel and transportation hub that serves the entire nation.
Atlanta has grown tremendously over the last few decades and is now an internationally known metropolis that attracts businesses worldwide. But while its size continues to expand, Atlanta still holds true to the Southern ideals of good manners, good hospitality, and good humor. All this goodness could be good news for your small business.
If you want a welcome that’s sweeter than sweet tea on the front porch, you’ll find it when you start your LLC in Atlanta. Read on to learn all the steps you must take in order to start your Atlanta LLC.
Benefits of starting an Atlanta LLC:
Georgia offers statewide business tax credits for small businesses.
Starting a business in an Enterprise Zone in Atlanta could qualify you for reduced property taxes and other incentives.
Forming an LLC in Georgia is generally more cost-effective than in other states.
An Atlanta LLC allows you to be flexible with LLC management and ownership.
Your LLC will protect your personal assets as well as your privacy.
Atlanta also boasts a lower cost of living than comparably sized cities in the U.S. It’s also becoming a tech hub in the South, attracting larger and more diverse companies and widening the overall talent pool.
Ready to form your Atlanta Limited Liability Company? Here’s how:
How to Form an Atlanta LLC Yourself in 6 Steps
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Your business can’t have the same name as any other business in Atlanta or, in fact, in the whole state of Georgia. Choose a name that’s unique, memorable, and easy to pronounce and spell. There are also some Georgia naming regulations you’ll need to know. To ignite that creative spark, use a Business Name Generator to gather ideas.
Once you’ve picked a name, make sure it’s available in Atlanta by searching all registered businesses in the state of Georgia. Use our Georgia Entity Search to easily determine if your selected name is free to use, or search the Georgia Corporations Division.
If the name you want isn’t available, simply go back to the name generator and keep searching. Don’t forget to double-check for available URLs, as you ideally want your business name and web address to be as similar as possible.
Provide an Official Business Address (or Get a Virtual Address)
Your Atlanta LLC must have a legal street address within the state of Georgia in order to form your business structure. If you don’t have a physical office space or work out of your home, you can still secure a Georgia street address by using a Virtual Address service.
This type of service will provide you with a street address you can use when filing your Articles of Organization, but it also provides other benefits. The service provider will open, scan, and send your mail digitally, so you can check it from anywhere. Important mail will be forwarded to your location, while the rest will be securely shredded and disposed of.
Assign a Registered Agent
Every LLC must have a Registered Agent, and you’ll need to list them in the Articles of Organization when filing your business. A Registered Agent is someone who accepts important documents on behalf of your business. This might include tax documents, legal notifications, or subpoenas.
While you can serve as your own Registered Agent, it’s not always the ideal choice. That’s because being your own Registered Agent can compromise your privacy and limit your ability to travel. As a Registered Agent, you must be available during regular business hours year-round. You must also provide an address where you can be reached. It’s likely you don’t want to restrict your ability to travel, reveal your personal address, or receive sensitive documents at home.
Instead, the best practice is to use a Registered Agent service that can appoint you with a Registered Agent in your state.
File Your Articles of Organization With the Georgia Secretary of State
Articles of Organization, sometimes called a Certificate of Formation, is the document that makes your Atlanta LLC official. It’s filed with your state’s business formation agency, which is the Secretary of State in Georgia.
To file on your own, you’ll also need to fill out the Transmittal Information Form with the Georgia Corporations Division. Make sure you have all of your essential info together before you begin.
Georgia Corporation Divisions
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) From the IRS
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is essentially a Social Security number for your business. It’s a nine-digit number that identifies your business to the IRS for tax purposes, but it’s also used in other ways, like opening a business bank account, taking out payroll taxes, approving funding, and more.
You can get an EIN on your own directly from the IRS. It’s free, but you’ll need to do it during approved hours, all in one sitting. That can prove to be a lot of hassle, so if you want some support, you can choose an EIN service like Incfile to file the paperwork and deliver your EIN in one business day.
Create an Operating Agreement
Think of an operating agreement as a roadmap for your business. It’s a document that details how your Atlanta business will be managed and operated and is especially useful to have on-hand whenever there’s a conflict, especially between LLC members.
In Georgia, having an operating agreement is not required, but it’s still a best practice for most LLCs. You can create your own operating agreement, but to give yourself peace of mind and ensure the information is completed correctly, you may wish to use an operating agreement template. Get a standalone operating agreement or have it included with your complete business formation package from Incfile.
Other Atlanta LLC Types
If a standard LLC isn’t right for your Atlanta business, you might want to try one of the following options:
A series LLC allows you to set up multiple LLCs under one parent LLC. At this time, Series LLCs or SLLCs are not permitted by Georgia law.
A professional LLC is just like a regular LLC, but the owner is also a practitioner in a particular professional field. A Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) is not recognized in Atlanta or throughout Georgia as its own unique entity. However, you can still start a standard LLC as a professional service provider.
If you want to start an Atlanta LLC but live in a different state, or if you live in Atlanta and want to start an LLC outside of Georgia, you’ll need to file for foreign qualification. This will make your business a foreign LLC in the eyes of the IRS, allowing you to conduct business.
Read More: Georgia Foreign LLC Registration