Are you ready to start a business in the State of Georgia? You’ve come to the right place.
Starting a business is an exciting time, but there are many steps you need to take to make sure you’re doing it right. One of the most important steps is registering your business name. This article will show you how to register a business name in Georgia.
To help you out, in the following part I will break down all the steps required to get your business name registered in Georgia, and your operations up and running. Here are the steps you will find in this article:
I’m assuming here that you already decided on your business structure. If not, this is the first thing you need to do before starting on the name.
The most common structures are limited liability companies (LLC), small business corporations, and regular corporations. Each of these structures has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one is best for you.
Steps for Registering a Business Name in Georgia
Step 1: Choose Your Business Name
The first step in registering your business name is to choose the name you want to use. Your business name should be unique, memorable, and easy to spell.
Once you’ve decided on the name, it’s time to check if your desired business name is available. To do this, visit the Secretary of State’s online services page and create a user account. Then select “name reservation” and fill out your personal information and three desired names for your business.
The Georgia Secretary of State will then let you know if any of those names are available or not.
If none of the names are available, don’t worry. There are still other options.
You can reserve a name for up to 120 days by filing an application with the Secretary of State’s office or by using their online services page again. This will give you time to come up with an alternative name if needed.
Step 2: Register Your Business Name
Once you have chosen a name that is available, you’ll need to register it with the Georgia Secretary of State. To do this, you’ll need to fill out a Business Name Registration Form, which you can find on the Secretary of State’s website.
The form will ask for information about your business, such as the name of the business, the type of business you’re registering, and the name and address of the person who will be responsible for the business.
After you’ve filled out the Business Name Registration Form, you’ll need to file it with the Georgia Secretary of State. You can do this online or by mail. You’ll also need to pay a fee when you file the form. The fee for registering a business name in Georgia is $50.
A DBA, or Doing Business As, is a legal name under which a business operates. It’s essentially a trade name or a fictitious business name that a company uses instead of its legal name. A DBA allows a business to rebrand or to operate under a different name than its legal name, which may be the surname of a sole proprietor or the names of the partners in a partnership.
You may need a DBA if you want to:
- Rebrand your company: If you want to change your company’s name, you can register a new DBA name.
- Add a new brand: If you want to add a new brand or product line to your existing business, you can do so by registering a DBA name.
- Operate under a different name: If you are a sole proprietor or a partnership, you may want to operate under a name other than your own surname. In such cases, you would register a DBA name.
- Protect your personal name: If you are a sole proprietor, you may want to protect your personal name from being associated with any negative business dealings. Registering a DBA name can help you separate your personal name from your business name.
It’s important to note that a DBA is not a separate legal entity from your business. You will still be held responsible for all legal and financial obligations related to your business, regardless of the name under which you operate.
The process for registering a DBA in Georgia is relatively straightforward, though there are some small differences depending on the type of entity you are registering (whether it’s an LLC or a corporation).
Generally speaking, however the steps are as follows:
Choose a unique name that is not already in use by another business. You can search the Georgia Secretary of State database to ensure that your desired name is available.
File a DBA application with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. You can do this either in person, by mail, or online. You will need to provide the name of your business. the names of all owners or partners, a description of the type of business you are operating and pay the filing fee of $50 (at the time of writing this article). You can pay this fee either online or by check.
Georgia law requires that you publish a notice of your DBA in a local newspaper. This notice must appear once a week for four consecutive weeks.
Once everything has been approved, your DBA will be registered with the state and you’ll have access to all the benefits that come with it.
I know it can be confusing when you need to register a business name in Georgia and when DBA’s are required. Practically, unless you’re doing business under your own legal name, you will always need to register your trade name. Here’s a video where Joel R. Beck, Attorney from Georgia explains this concept in more detail.
Step 3: Register the Business Entity With the State of Georgia
Once you register the name, it’s time to form your business with the state of Georgia. The best approach here is to visit the Secretary of State’s online services page again and select “create or register a business” from the menu options.
Here you will be asked for some basic information about your company such as its name, address, email address, mailing address, registered agent’s name and address, etc. Once this information has been submitted and approved by the state, your business will officially be registered in Georgia as a legal entity.
It’s important to note that registering your business with the state doesn’t automatically grant you exclusive rights over its use. Others may still be able to use the same name, depending on certain factors, such as whether or not they have trademarked it first or if they have been using it in commerce prior to your registration date.
If someone else does have exclusive rights over your desired name then you may need to consider coming up with another one before proceeding further with registering your business in Georgia.
Step 4: Get a Georgia Tax ID Number
Once your business name is registered, you’ll need to get a Georgia Tax ID Number. This number is used to identify your business for tax purposes.
You can apply for a Georgia Tax ID Number online or by mail. You’ll need to provide information about your business, such as the name and address of the business and the name and Social Security number of the person who will be responsible for the business.
Step 5: Get Any Required Licenses and Permits
Different businesses in Georgia may need different licenses and permits.
For example, a food truck business may need a food service permit, while a construction company may need a contractor’s license.
You can check the Georgia Secretary of State’s website to see if your business needs any licenses or permits. If it does, you’ll need to get them before you can start operating your business.
Step 6: Register for Georgia Taxes
Once you have your Georgia Tax ID Number and any required licenses and permits, you’ll need to register for Georgia taxes.
This will include registering for state sales tax and state unemployment tax. You can do this online or by mail. You’ll need to provide information about your business, such as the name and address of the business, the Georgia Tax ID Number, and the type of business you’re registering.
Step 7: Start Operating Your Business
Once you’ve completed all the steps to register your business name in Georgia, you’re ready to start operating your business. Make sure to keep all your paperwork and licenses in a safe place and keep your business information up-to-date with the Georgia Secretary of State.
Disclaimer and Conclusion
This article is meant to give a brief overview of what steps you need to follow in order to register a business name in Georgia and is not meant to act as legal advice.
Registering a business name in Georgia can get quite complicated, so I always recommend spending some money on an experienced attorney who can guide you through the intricacies of the legal and tax set up.
Attorneys will be able to advise you on the best set-up for your business. This helps avoid any future legal problems and optimize your tax planning structure. Just make sure you choose an experienced attorney.
Good luck with your business venture and please feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have, below.
For more guides on how to register a business name in the USA, please click here.