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How to Get a Georgia Business License (2022 Guide) – Forbes Advisor

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Step 1. Name and establish the legal structure of your business

If you plan to operate your business as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or other legal entity, you must create your business before applying for a business license. To do this, submit business formation documents to the Secretary of State. If you plan to operate as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you do not need to file incorporation papers, but you must register a trade name or “DBA” with the county if you do not plan to use a trade name. Use your personal name as your business name.

Step 2. Get a Federal EIN

Depending on your business type and needs, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. An EIN identifies your business to the IRS. This is similar to a Social Security Number (SSN), but is only associated with your business.

If you are a privately owned business or LLC with no employees, you are not required to obtain an EIN, but we strongly encourage you to protect the privacy of your SSN. You will need an EIN if:

  • have employees
  • Operate as a corporation or partnership
  • Submit a tax return for any of the following: Employment, Excise or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • Withholding tax on income other than wages paid to non-resident aliens
  • I have a Keogh plan
  • Involved with organizations such as trusts, estates, real estate mortgage investment conduits, non-profit organizations, farmer cooperatives, and plan administrators

Even if the IRS doesn’t require your business to have an EIN, having an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account or apply for a license or permit.

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Step 3. Register with the Revenue Department

If you run a business that sells merchandise or sells regulated products such as tobacco or alcohol, you must register with the Revenue Department in order to collect and pay various types of business taxes on a regular basis. There may be Visit the Georgia Tax Center to register your business and manage your account. What you need for registration:

  • Type of business entity
  • business address
  • Destination
  • Primary and secondary email addresses
  • Account type (e.g. Alcohol License, International Fuel Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Tobacco License)
  • Payment of registration fees or taxes for certain account types
  • NAICS code
  • Names of Additional Officers and/or Registered Agents
  • Additional documents to upload

Step 4. Register with the Department of Labor

If you have employees, you may also need to register with the Georgia Department of Labor. As an employer, you may be obligated to pay unemployment insurance taxes to the Georgia Department of Labor.

To determine if you are responsible, visit the Online Employer Tax Registration on the Department of Labor website. After completing the required information, you will receive a decision indicating whether you are responsible for paying unemployment insurance taxes.

Step 5. Apply for local permits and licenses

All businesses in Georgia must have a business license issued by the city or county in which they are headquartered. Please contact your region for specific forms, fees and requirements. You may be required to provide additional information, such as confirming compliance with zoning codes or that the facility has passed fire and health inspections.

Be sure to obtain any additional necessary permits, such as signage permits, building permits, environmental permits, etc. You may also need to obtain additional licenses related to your particular profession or business.