How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Georgia (2024 Guide)


Every new business owner faces a number of challenges. There often aren’t courses for business formation that cover things so thoroughly that there aren’t any questions. And one of the biggest questions that prospective entrepreneurs in Georgia have is “How long does it take to get an LLC in Georgia?”. In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of how to start your LLC, and answer all your questions about how long it takes to get an LLC in the state of Georgia.

Discovering Georgia

The Peach State has a lot going on for it. It borders powerhouse business states like South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, so it has to get a fair amount of business itself, right? Georgia's geography contains everything from ridges and caves, forests, valleys and hills, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and 700 square miles of Okefenokee Swamp. It even has islands! You'd think that Georgia's only natural resource would be peaches, but a little over half the state is forests full of pine trees, so it produces lots of lumber, turpentine and resins. It's also the nation's biggest producer of peanuts and kaolin clay. So, there are lots of business opportunities in the state.

Economic Overview of Georgia

Georgia’s GSP, or Gross State Product is $600.3 billion in 2023, and it’s grown at a rate of 22.6k% over the past 5 years. The top industries in the state by revenue are Drug, Cosmetic & Toiletry Wholesaling, Automobile Wholesaling, Hospitals, New Car Dealers, and Property, Casualty and Direct Insurance. The top Georgian companies according to employment in the state are the Georgia State Government, Walmart, Delta Air Lines, Emory University, and And the sectors that contribute the most to the state’s GSP are Real Estate and Rental and Leasing, Information, Manufacturing, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, and Wholesale Trade.

Georgia is home to one of the busiest airports in the world: the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. And loads of companies have stationed their headquarters in the state, like Delta, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, UPS, and Aflac. It's also home to several different universities and institutions of higher education, such as the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Emory University. It's also worth mentioning that Georgia is known for having a big music scene and is where R.E.M., Widespread Panic and the B-52's got their starts.

Business Environment in Georgia has put out a ranking of the best states, and it lists Georgia as #11 in terms of economy, #13 in business environment, #11 in growth, and #21 in employment. The cost of living index there is 95.8, whereas it’s 100 nationally, and the median household income in the state is $66,559 (on the national level, it’s $69,717) and the poverty rate in the state is 14%, which is a little higher than the national average of 12.8%. 

State-Specific Regulations and Incentives for Forming an LLC in Georgia

Here’s a look at some of the regulations and tax incentives for forming a Limited Liability Company in Georgia. 

  • Georgia-Pacific: This private company provides grants for small businesses and projects that are seen to have a positive effect on the community and neighborhoods near it.
  • The Amber Foundation: This foundation provides $500-$1,500 grants to female new small business owners. 
  • Job Tax Credit: This is a tax credit against state corporate income tax for qualifying companies that are creating jobs in Georgia. These credits can be anywhere from $750-$4,000 per job per year, up to five years. 
  • Quality Jobs Tax Credit: For businesses that create jobs that pay more than the county average, they can get more from the job tax credits. 
  • Mega Project Tax Credit: This is for any business, except retail, that chooses to locate or expand in the state, if they meet certain qualifications like creating at least 1,800 full-time jobs. 
  • Port Activity Tax Credit: These credits are available for qualifying companies that increase their port activity through imports and exports, by at least 10% over the course of a year. 
  • Mass Transit Tax Credit: If you’re an employer that pays for the public transportation costs of your employees, then you can get a credit of $25 per employee to help cover that cost. 
  • Wood Residuals Tax Credit: If your business delivers wood residuals to a qualified renewable biomass facility, then you could qualify for the Georgia Clean Energy Property and Wood Residuals Tax Credit. 

There are lots of other incentives, which you can read about here.

Pros and Cons of Establishing an LLC in Georgia

Here are some of the benefits and pitfalls of starting a business in Georgia. 

Georgia has lots of business-friendly legislation, as well as taxes. Tax rates for LLCs that elect either the S corporation or C corporation tax structure are around 6%, which is comparable to personal income tax rates. The state government also takes the net worth of the company into consideration, with higher rates for companies worth more than $100,000. 

There’s a strong and supportive business community in the state with built-in networking organizations that can help new business owners find mentors, funding, and other resources. Some of these support groups are specialized to niches, like the startup companies ran by women, or by disabled persons. You’ll be surprised how quickly your business can thrive with this sort of supportive environment. 

Thanks in part to its diverse geography, there are a variety of different industries in the state. Because of this, your business isn’t going to be out of place. It’s also not as expensive as some other states when it comes to business startup costs. 

There’s a large network of angel investors in Georgia, which is helpful to any business owner seeking capital. In particular, many of them are seeking out start-up companies and development hubs. 

There are some downsides, however. 

Forming an LLC is more complicated than other business entity types, like a sole proprietorship or general partnership. There are a lot of fees involved with starting an LLC, for everything from filing your Articles of Organization down to your initial report. You’re required to have a registered agent for your LLC, which isn’t necessarily a requirement for other business entity types. 

And one of the biggest downsides of starting an LLC is that it’s difficult to acquire capital for your Limited Liability Company. If you owned a corporation, you could get new investors by selling shares of stock, but you don’t have that option with an LLC. Instead, an investor will have to be made an LLC member, which can be troublesome.

Procedure of Establishing an LLC in Georgia

You need to learn how to form a Limited Liability Company in Georgia to properly understand the time frame for establishing an LLC in the state. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to form an LLC in Georgia. 

  1. Get Your Articles of Organization Form: The form to register your Limited Liability Company is called different things from state to state, and in Georgia it’s the ‘Articles of Organization’. You can obtain the form from the Corporations Division of the Georgia Secretary of State. 
  2. Choose a Business Name: According to state law, your Georgia business can’t have the same name as any other business in the state, and it’s not allowed to sound too similar, either. How can you tell if your business name is unique? The Secretary of State has a business name search on their website. 
  3. Select a Registered Agent: Every single LLC in the state of Georgia is required by law to have a registered agent, which is someone who will accept mail and service of process on the company’s behalf. You can choose a citizen, like a trusted family member, employee, or friend, as long as they meet all of the requirements, or hire a registered agent service. 
  4. Pick a Business Address: The address you list on your Articles of Organization for your business is important and worthy of consideration because it will be listed on the public record, which means it’s maybe not the best idea to list your home address on the form. Some registered agent services will allow you to list their address, but they’re only allowed to accept service of process and official mail from government agencies. They won’t accept general business mail. Because of this, it may be a better option to get a virtual address or virtual office. 
  5. Sign and File Your Form: Once you double-check all of your information, it’s time to sign and submit your Articles of Organization form and file it with the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State. Just so that you’re aware, if you sign the document yourself, then that information and your full name is listed on the public record. 

Once you’ve sent your form in, there are several other activities you’ll need to complete once you’ve submitted your Articles of Organization. You’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number or EIN from the IRS, you’ll likely need to apply for various business licenses which you can learn about from the Georgia state business guide which you can get here. You’ll also need to register your business for taxes with the Department of Revenue, which you can do online. For more on post-formation activities, read How to Start an LLC in Georgia.

Necessary Documentation for Filing an LLC in Georgia

If you gather all of your documents beforehand, it can make filing go a lot quicker. Here are some of the documents and forms that you’ll need to form an LLC in Georgia. 

You’ll need an EIN or Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service, a name reservation form for your business name and your Articles of Organization form. You also need an Operating Agreement. Though the state government doesn’t require the document, most advisors agree that it’s a crucial document for any Limited Liability Company. 

On top of that, you’ll need tax registration forms from the Department of Revenue, as well as business licenses and permits. And you’ll need an initial report, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section.

Legal Requirements for Starting an LLC in Georgia

Some of the legal requirements for starting an LLC in Georgia include designating a registered agent and filing an annual report. 

Your LLC is required to list a registered agent on its formation paperwork. That means you can’t even complete the formation process without one. 

And every LLC in Georgia is required to file an Annual Report each year. When you first file, you’ll need to file an initial report. It’s a yearly fee of $50 for LLCs.

Time Frame for Establishing an LLC in Georgia

The following sections are where we address the question “How long does it take to get an LLC in Georgia?”. Here’s everything you need to know.

How Long Does the Initial Paperwork Take in the State of Georgia?

The initial paperwork takes different times, depending on whether you file online or by mail. Filing times for online filing are between 7-10 business days. Mail filings take around 4-5 weeks.

Processing Times in the State of Georgia

Processing times only refer to the amount of time it takes the state government to go over your paperwork and enter the information into their system once they've gotten to it. Approval times refer to the total amount of time it takes for your Limited Liability Company to be approved, and it counts processing times too.

Normal processing times for mail filings in Georgia are around 15 days plus extra time for mail, and 7-10 business days for online filing.

Common Delays in the LLC Formation Process in Georgia

Here are some of the most common hold-ups in the formation process in the state of Georgia. 

  • Your Filing Method: Since the mail filing option has slower processing times if you choose that filing method it will significantly slow the formation process. Plus, even though it costs extra expedited processing can provide you with the fastest processing times. 
  • The Workload of the Agency: If there’s a high volume of filings that the Georgia Corporations Division has to process, then it will take them longer to get to your filing and process it. 
  • Issues With Your Documents: Your application can be rejected entirely if you don’t enter all of your information correctly. This is why several professional LLC formation companies offer a 100% accuracy guarantee. If your application is rejected because of this, you’ll have to re-enter the information and resubmit all of your paperwork. 
  • Holidays and Weekends: The Georgia Corporations Division only operates during working hours on business days. That means that they won’t be available to process your filing on holidays or weekends. If you file before a weekend or holiday, it could delay your formation time.

Expedited Processing for LLC Formation in Georgia

If you’re interested in getting your LLC lickety-split, then expedited processing is likely the ultimate processing option for you. Here’s what you need to know about expedited processing times in the state of Georgia.

What Are the Expedited Options Available?

Georgia offers three different expedited processing options to choose from: two-day processing, same day processing, and one-hour processing.

Additional Costs For Expedited Services in Georgia

Expedited processing comes at an additional cost. Here’s what you’re required to pay for expedited processing options in Georgia: 

  • Two-Day Processing: $100
  • Same Day Processing: $250 (the filing must be received by noon)
  • One-Hour Processing: $1,000 (the filing must be received by noon)

All of these fees are in addition to the filing fee for your Articles of Organization, which is $110.

Comparing LLC Formation Time Frame in Georgia with Other States

Whether you’re dead-set on forming an LLC in Georgia, or you’re considering multiple states before choosing one to form your Limited Liability Company in, looking at Georgia’s formation time frames and comparing them with other places can put their speed into perspective.

Brief Comparison with Key States

Georgia’s processing times for mail filings is around 15 days, plus mail time. Its processing time for online filings is between 7 and 10 business days. And it has two-day, same day and one-hour expedited processing times for an additional cost. 

For comparison, here are some of the fastest states to form an LLC in. 

When it comes to one hour expedited processing, you can’t beat that! But as far as 15 day turn-around on mail filing, there are several states with faster processing times, like Ohio and Kentucky with 1-day processing, and Alabama, Massachusetts and South Dakota with 1-2 day processing. And there’s a slew of states that have immediate processing for online filing: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

In terms of expedited processing, there are plenty of states with slower rush services. Louisiana has 2-4 hour expedited processing, New York has a 2-hour service, and California has 4-hour processing. But Maryland and Arizona have an “expedited” option that’s so slow that it almost seems like false advertising, at 7 and 5 days! Online filings for Arizona are between 14-16 days, Maryland is an even two weeks, Texas is between 13-15 days, and Washington is 12-14 days. And there are lots of slower services when it comes to mail filings. Washington D.C. takes 2-4 weeks, Missouri and Nevada take 3-4 weeks, Oregon takes 4-6 weeks, Texas takes 4-8 weeks, Washington takes 5-6 weeks, Maryland takes 5-8 weeks, Pennsylvania takes 6 weeks, and New York takes the cake with an 8 month mail processing time! 

Now when we say that Georgia has fairly average processing times, you’ll have a better idea what that means because you know how fast or slow other states move to process their filings.

Why is Georgia a Favorable Place for Forming an LLC?

Georgia is a good place to form an LLC because it has low taxes, both personal income and corporate, which means that no matter how you choose to structure your business entity in terms of taxation you should enjoy low tax rates. The cost of doing business in the state isn’t as high as in some other states because the cost of living isn’t as high, and there’s a high poverty rate in the state. That means that while many average people don’t have a lot of disposable income, you wouldn’t have to spend as much on things like rental costs for your business as you would in a place like New York or California. 

There are loads of tax incentives for businesses in Georgia. Believe it or not, the list we provided you with, although lengthy, doesn’t cover them all. And it’s relatively easy to gain access to capital in Georgia. It’s become a hub for angel investors, which means that there will be people who are interested in investing in your business. 

The formation process in Georgia is fairly straightforward and there are average filing fees to start. You don’t have to do things like meeting an expensive publication requirement or spend hundreds of dollars in filing fees. You do have to pay filing fees on a yearly basis for an annual report, but that’s not uncommon. And with average LLC formation processing times, you won’t have to wait ages to get your LLC in Georgia. 

But the greatest thing about Georgia is the promise and opportunity it provides, combined with a sturdy economy. The business landscape is so diverse that nearly any type of business has a shot at succeeding. It’s home to everything from a booming music industry to manufacturing, and insurance.

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