Start Your Georgia Corporation in Six Steps
Now that you know what type of Georgia corporation is right for you, it’s time to form one. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about setting up your GA corporation.
Starting your Georgia S Corporation or C Corporation with Incfile is fast and easy. We’ll gather all the information we need from you and file it with the GA Secretary of State. Here are the six steps you need to follow to form a corporation in Georgia.
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The Benefits of Setting up a Corporation in Georgia
Briefly, the benefits of forming a Georgia corporation are:
A Georgia S Corporation or C Corporation will protect your personal finances and assets by limiting your liability.
S Corporations can provide tax advantages for Georgia business owners by reducing the self-employment tax you pay.
If you want limited options to buy, sell or transfer stock, a Georgia S Corporation gives you some options.
GA C Corporations give you the most flexibility for creating, transferring and selling stock.
If you don’t need the options for buying and selling stock, a Georgia LLC may be a better choice for your business. You can even have your LLC treated as an S Corporation for tax purposes to save you money.
Learn about starting a Georgia LLC.
The Six Steps to Starting Your Georgia Corporation
1. Look up and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Georgia Corporation
You will need to choose a unique, distinct, original name for your Georgia corporation
This name cannot be used by or confused with another business in Georgia
The name of your business must end with “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these
See if the name is available by looking it up on the Georgia Secretary of State website.
Learn how to name your Georgia corporation.
2. Provide an Official Address for Your GA Corporation
A Georgia corporation must have a designated address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), where your office is located or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Georgia and can be a P.O. Box.
3. Appoint a Registered Agent for Your Georgia Corporation
Every Georgia corporation must have a “Registered Agent” who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Georgia Secretary of State. Your Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Georgia.
A Registered Agent position for a Georgia S Corporation or C Corporation can be filled in several ways.
This position can be carried out by you, another accountable person in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your GA Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Georgia and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Georgia Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Here at Incfile we always recommend using a proper Georgia Registered Agent service since they provide several benefits:
Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will use a Registered Agent service to provide an address for receiving legal documentation in the state.
The Registered Agent address is listed in public records on the GA Secretary of State website. If you do not want your own name and Georgia address to be registered, you should use a Registered Agent service.
The Registered Agent must be present or available during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday) to receive any legal correspondence, since the type of documents delivered to the Registered Agent require a signature on delivery.
Learn more about Georgia Registered Agents.
4. Create Your Georgia Articles of Incorporation
Once you've gathered all the information for your Georgia corporation, you’ll need to file a formal document with the GA Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Incorporation,” and filing the document creates your GA corporation. Here’s what the Articles of Incorporation normally includes:
The corporation’s name
The corporation’s mailing address and street address
The corporation's Registered Agent and their address
The corporation’s capital structure (number of shares to be issued, who owns them, pricing, etc.)
The name and address of the incorporator
5. Send Your Georgia Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State
Once your Articles of Incorporation document is drafted, you can file it with the Georgia Secretary of State. Filing your Articles of Incorporation creates your Georgia corporation. You can do this online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf.
6. Your GA Corporation Will Need to Meet Certain Legal and Compliance Requirements
Once your Georgia corporation has been created, you will need to get certain legal requirements in place. These include:
File IRS Small Business Tax Election Form 2553 if you want your GA business to be treated as an S Corporation.
Create and issue stock certificates to your shareholders.
Apply for business licenses and permits. You may require licenses from the state of Georgia, your county, township and various industry or federal bodies.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
File for taxes with Georgia Department of Revenue.
Get all formalities in place for employees, including unemployment, disability, payroll, insurance and taxes.
Appoint a Board of Directors for the corporation.
Appoint officers to the corporation.
Get a corporate records book to capture all your important corporate information.
Georgia Corporation Publication Requirement
All Georgia corporations must publish a notice of intent to incorporate in a newspaper that is the official legal organ of the county where the initial registered office of the corporation is to be located. The notice should be published once a week for two consecutive weeks, and it should contain the name of the corporation, the name of the Registered Agent and the address of the registered office in Georgia.
Starting Your Georgia Corporation — Useful Resources
Other Types of GA Corporations
A regular Georgia S Corporation or C Corporation is suitable for almost all business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of corporation.
Form a Professional Georgia S Corporation or C Corporation
Some states, including Georgia, allow certain occupations to form “Professional Corporations.” These types of corporations may need special requirements and licensing. The GA Secretary of State does not provide details of specific professions that can form professional corporations. You can find more information here.
File as a Foreign Corporation to Operate in Another State
A “foreign” filing is when you have a regular, domestic corporation in a state (typically the one where you first formed your business) and need the company to be able to operate in another state. This is where you would file a “Foreign Qualification” to the new state for your domestic corporation to be able to operate in both states. You must have an existing domestic corporation before you can file as a foreign corporation.
Form a Georgia Corporation Without Breaking the Bank
Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your corporation. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps on your behalf, such as filing your Articles of Incorporation. Our packages also provide a free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for assistance forming a corporation, we can help you start a GA S Corporation or C Corporation.
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