How to start a business in Georgia, USA [Updated 2024]


Sep 20, 2023

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, 99.8% of the state’s businesses are small businesses—which makes small business owners the backbone of Georgia’s economy. If you’ve been thinking about bringing a business idea to fruition, Georgia could be the place to do it! 

With a skilled workforce and low taxes, the Peach State offers a lot to budding entrepreneurs. But there’s also a lot to learn before setting up shop: You need to develop a business plan, select a name, secure funding, learn about Georgia’s business filing requirements, and more. Our step-by-step guide walks you through starting a business in Georgia—all while remaining compliant with local regulations. 

1. Name your business

The first step in starting any new venture is coming up with a business name that captures the brilliance of your idea. Make sure the name you choose for your Georgia business complies with all the state’s naming regulations. Here’s what you need to do:

This is also a great time to lock down social media accounts and a domain name that matches your business name.

In some cases, you might want to do business under a different name than the one you have registered with the state. If so, you’ll need to register a trade name (also known as a DBA or “doing business as”). In Georgia, trade names can be registered with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where your business is located.

2. Explore your funding options

Entrepreneurs have many options for funding their businesses—from bootstrapping to seeking investors or small business loans. Georgia offers various incentives, including grants and loans, to attract new businesses to the state. Here are some places to start if you’re looking for funding:

  • Georgia Department of Economic Development. The Georgia Department of Economic Development offers numerous resources for small businesses, including micro loans, green loans, credit initiatives, and more.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA’s Georgia District Office has state-specific resources, including funding programs, disaster relief, and counseling. They can also connect businesses with partner organizations and other community groups.
  • Federal grants and loans. Not all funding needs to be local to Georgia. The federal government also offers grant and loan programs targeted toward small businesses.

3. Decide on your business structure 

In Georgia, your business structure helps determine how your business entity is organized—the types of taxes you pay, your liability protection, and other legal considerations. When deciding on a structure, you need to consider the best one for your specific needs. 

Here are the basics on business structures in Georgia:

Business type

What is it?

Pros and cons

Sole Proprietorship

An unregistered, unincorporated business with a single owner

✔ This is the simplest and least regulated form of business.

✔ The owner has total control.

✘ All of the owner’s personal and business assets are at risk.

✘ Income taxes are reported on the owner’s personal income tax forms, but the business still has to collect and pay taxes like other businesses.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A cross between a partnership and a corporation that can be operated by a single owner or by two or more people who agree to own it equally

✔ This type is simple and straightforward to set up. It offers legitimacy to your business for getting loans, grants, and other resources.

✔You get personal asset liability protection.

✔ It can be taxed as a pass-through entity.

✘ Owners are still subject to self-employment taxes.

Limited Partnership (LP)

An entity managed by one controlling partner (the general partner) and at least one limited partner (the investing partner)

✔ Limited partners aren’t liable for partnership debts and obligations.

✔ No entity-level income tax or net worth tax—each partner is taxed directly upon their share of the profits.

✘ General partners have unlimited liability.


A legal entity that’s separate from its owners and shareholders, managed by directors and officers

✔ Corporations have limited liability—debts typically can’t be collected from the officers, directors, or shareholders.

✔ Some corporations can choose S-corp elections to avoid double taxation by being taxed more like a partnership.

✘ Some corporations are double-taxed, both on income and dividends.

4. Register your business in Georgia

If you’re starting a sole proprietorship in Georgia, you don’t need to register it with the state. But for any other business structure outlined above, you’ll need to register your business and pay a filing fee before you can begin operating in Georgia. In the table below, find the details and costs for registering each type of business entity in the Peach State.

Business type

How to register


Limited Liability Company (LLC)

There are three ways to register a Georgia LLC:

  • Online: Visit the Secretary of State’s online services page, create an account, select “create or register a business,” and fill out the required information.
  • By mail or in person: Draft your Articles of Organization and submit them with Form 231 along with your filing fee to the Secretary of State.
  • Online: $100
    Same-day processing is an additional $250.
  • By mail or in person: $110 
    Two-business-day processing is an additional $100. Same-day processing is an additional $250. One-hour processing is an additional $1,000.

Limited Partnership (LP)

There are three ways to register a limited partnership in Georgia: 

  • Online: Visit the Secretary of State’s online services page, create an account, select “create or register a business,” and fill out the required information.
  • By mail or in person: Draft your Certificate of Limited Partnership and submit it with Form 246.
  • Online: $100
    Two-business-day processing is an additional $100. Same-day processing is an additional $250.
  • By mail or in person: $110
    Two-business-day processing is an additional $100. Same-day processing is an additional $250. One-hour processing is an additional $1,000.


There are three ways to register a Georgia corporation:

  • Online: Visit the Secretary of State’s online services page, create an account, select “create or register a business,” and fill out the required information.
  • By mail or in person: Draft your Articles of Incorporation and submit them with Form CD 227 to the Secretary of State Corporations Division.
  • Online: $100
    Two-business-day processing is an additional $100. Same-day processing is an additional $250.
  • By mail or in person: $110
    Two-business-day processing is an additional $100. Same-day processing is an additional $250. One-hour processing is an additional $1,000.

5. Decide on a registered agent

Every business in Georgia needs a registered agent—someone listed on the business’s official documents who is authorized to accept tax and legal documents on its behalf. You can be the registered agent for your own business, but only if you legally reside in Georgia.

Otherwise, you can invest in a registered agent service. Prices vary based on the level of service, speed, and length of engagement. Expect to spend around $100 a year.

6. Apply for an Employer Identification Number

Before hiring your first Georgia employee, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a nine-digit identifier for your company that’s issued by the IRS. You’ll need it for hiring and paying employees, applying for bank accounts and loans, and other business needs. Getting an EIN is fast and free—just fill out Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS.

7. Get up to speed with Business Tax Credits

Georgia is known for having a low corporate tax rate, but it’s still a good idea to investigate other incentives and tax credits to reduce your tax burden. The Georgia Department of Economic Development does a lot of work to help match small businesses with tax credits; their website is a great place to start.

Some options include:

  • Job tax credit: Offers a credit ranging from $1,250 to $4,000 per year for every new job a business creates. This credit is valid for up to five years. In certain areas, the job tax credit can also lower a business’s payroll withholding tax obligations.
  • Port tax credit: This credit is for businesses that increase their imports or exports through Georgia’s ports, compared to either the previous year or a base year.

8. Stay on top of filing requirements and taxes

To stay in good standing with the state, all businesses registered in Georgia must file an annual registration. The easiest way to do this is online—just go to the Secretary of State’s online services page and use one-click annual registration. Businesses can complete their annual registration any time between January 1 and April 1 of each year. There’s a $50 annual fee for all business types. If you submit your annual registration by mail or in person, the fee is $10 more.

Businesses are also responsible for both state and federal taxes. In Georgia, businesses will owe different types of taxes depending on their structure and activities. These may include sales tax, withholding tax, corporate income and net worth tax, and so on. You can find more information on the Georgia Department of Revenue website.

9. Find a payroll solution

As you hire employees or contractors in Georgia, you’ll be met with a list of new challenges and considerations. First, you need to ensure you’re classifying them correctly. You also need to make sure you comply with overtime laws. In Georgia, employees are entitled to an overtime rate of 1.5 times their regular pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

Sounds like a lot to keep track of, right? With payroll software, it’s not. A solution like Rippling ensures contractors and employees are paid on time, removes the tedious work of running payroll, and keeps you compliant with overtime laws. With Rippling Time & Attendance, you can automatically keep track of employees’ hours and receive alerts when they approach overtime. You only have to click “Submit” once, and Rippling calculates net pay and taxes in seconds.

Hiring globally? Rippling has that covered, too: 

  • Pay your entire workforce—across different tax jurisdictions and even different currencies—in a single pay run. 
  • Include hourly employees, salaried employees, and contractors. 
  • Manage all of your teams, systems, and data globally in a single place.

10. Support and scale your growing business with Rippling

Rippling can support your growing business in Georgia, but if you want to expand into other states (or even globally), it’s great for that, too. With Rippling, you can:

  • Hire, pay, and manage your entire workforce around the world.
  • Stay a step ahead of local, state, and federal compliance violations—with an action plan for each.
  • Manage employee benefits—like health insurance, 401k, and more—in one system and automate the tedious work, like enrolling new hires, updating deductions, and administering COBRA.
  • Seamlessly maintain up-to-date recruiting data—from open positions to new hires—and automate every step of the hiring lifecycle
  • Store your HR analytics, policies, and more all in one place.

Rippling provides the HRIS (Human Resource Information System) that a successful business needs to grow internationally—the sooner you use it, the easier it is to scale. It’s everything you need to run a global workforce in a single system.

FAQs about setting up a business in Georgia

Do I need a business license in Georgia?

The short answer is, it depends. Certain industries require professional licensing. These include:

  • Health and safety
  • Environmental agencies
  • Building and construction
  • Specific services like accountancy and law

Some businesses may require a specific tax certificate from the Georgia Tax Center to operate. For guidance on whether a business requires a license or certificate in Georgia, here are a few resources to consult:

Do I need a business bank account when launching a business in Georgia?

It depends on the type of business you have. Some, like a sole proprietorship, don’t strictly require you to have a business bank account, while others require you to separate your personal and business finances to protect your assets.

However, it’s best practice to have a separate business credit card and bank account, so you can avoid mixing your company funds with your personal finances.

Do I need to get business insurance?

This also depends. If you provide professional services, it may be a good idea to get a professional liability insurance policy, but it’s not required.

Businesses with three or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia.

What are Georgia’s state payroll taxes?

Georgia is a low-tax state. There are only a few state payroll taxes that employers need to withhold from employees’ paychecks:

  • Personal Income Tax (AKA State Income Tax or SIT): withheld from employee pay
  • State Unemployment Insurance (SUI): withheld from employee pay

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: March 26, 2024

The Author

Christina Marfice

Christina is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in Chicago. Having lived and worked in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, she’s bringing her expertise on hiring in Latin America to Rippling.