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

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 formal legal entity, you must establish your business before applying for business licenses. You can do this by filing business incorporation documents with the Secretary of State. If you plan to operate as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you do not need to file for incorporation, but you will need to register a business name or “DBA” with your county if you do not plan to use your own personal name(s) as your name of your business.

Step 2. Get a federal EIN

Depending on the type and needs of your business, you will want to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. An EIN identifies your business to the IRS. It is similar to a Social Security Number (SSN), but it is associated solely with your business.

If you are a sole proprietor business or LLC with no employees, you do not need to obtain an EIN, but it is still highly recommended that you protect the privacy of your SSN. You will need an EIN if:

  • You have employees
  • Operate as a corporation or partnership
  • File any of these tax returns: Employment, Excise or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • Withhold taxes on income other than wages paid to a nonresident alien
  • Have a Keogh plan
  • Participate in organizations such as trusts, estates, mortgage real estate investment trusts, nonprofits, farmer cooperatives, and plan administrators

Even if the IRS doesn’t require you to get an EIN for your business, an EIN can make it easier to open a bank account and apply for licenses and permits.

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Step 3. Register with the Department of Revenue

If you run a business that sells goods or sells regulated products such as tobacco or alcohol, you may need to register with the Department of Revenue to collect and periodically pay various types of business tax. To register your business or manage your accounts, you can access the Georgia Tax Center. What you’ll need to sign up:

  • Type of business entity
  • Business location address
  • Postal address
  • Primary and secondary email address
  • Account type (example: Liquor Licence, International Fuel Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Tobacco Licence)
  • Registration fees or tax payments for certain account types
  • NAICS code
  • Names of additional employees and/or registered agent
  • All additional documents to be uploaded

Step 4. Register with the Ministry of Labour

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

To determine if you are liable, you can access the employer’s online tax registration on the Department of Labor website. After filling out the required information, you will receive a decision stating whether you are responsible for paying unemployment benefits.

Step 5. Apply for local permits and licenses

All businesses in Georgia need a business license issued by the city or county where their main office is located. Contact your region for specific forms, fees and requirements. You may need to provide additional information, such as verification that you comply with zoning ordinances or that your premises have passed fire and health inspections.

Make sure you get any additional permits you need, such as sign permits, building permits, environmental permits, etc. You may also need to obtain additional licenses that apply to your particular profession or business.

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