How to Start a Business in Georgia


Georgia is a popular state for businesses to incorporate, due to its location on the coast and its proximity to major metropolitan areas. If you’re thinking about starting a business in Georgia, here’s what you need to know before you start the process.

Forming a Business Entity

In Georgia, the most common business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. The first step in forming a business entity is to decide which type of entity is best for you.

If you intend to operate as a single proprietorship, you don’t need to file any paperwork with the state. However, if your business will be hiring employees or taking on debt, it’s best to create an LLC or corporation.

Applying for Licenses and Permits

You may need to obtain a license or permit from your local government in addition to obtaining a federal tax identification number. This can include:

  • A business license if your business does not fall under one of the exemptions
  • A liquor license if you sell alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • An occupational tax certificate if you operate in an area that has one

Complying With Tax Requirements

In Georgia, the state and local taxes that you must pay include the following:

  • State income tax.

You are required to file a Georgia individual income tax return if your net profit is over $600 for all businesses except nonresident aliens and nonprofit organizations. If your business does not have a net profit, you can still file an “income” return and deduct expenses from your gross sales or receipts (whichever is greater) to arrive at no taxable income.

  • Local sales tax.

The City of Atlanta has its own 1% sales tax in addition to state and county sales taxes. Other cities may also have their own additional sales taxes as well; be sure to check with them if you’re conducting business in one of those areas!

Getting Zoning and Land Use Approval

If you want to start a business in Georgia, one of the most important things that you need to do is get zoning and land use approval. What is zoning and land use approval? It’s a process by which your business gets permission from local government authorities before operating legally.

The zoning process determines whether or not your proposed business will be allowed to operate in a specific area of town. The land use process determines whether or not your proposed building design conforms with local regulations. In other words, how close is it located to neighboring properties? Does it meet certain height restrictions? Those kinds of things are determined through this second process as well.

Complying With Employment Standards

Employers in Georgia must adhere to a number of employment laws relating to workplace safety, employee rights and responsibilities, minimum wage and overtime pay, child employment laws, wage deductions and more. If you fail to comply with these standards your business could be fined or shut down. For example:

  • Employee privacy rights.

Employees have the right to privacy in their workplaces. This includes being free from unlawful searches of their personal belongings at work (including lockers), as well as freedom from unwelcome verbal comments about their race or gender from coworkers or managers. There are exceptions for when an employer has good reason for searching an employee’s belongings; however, this should only occur under extreme circumstances where there is no other way for them to get the necessary information.

  • Wage deductions by employers

Wage deductions must be approved beforehand by employees before taking action against them since they could potentially result in financial repercussions due to out-of-pocket expenses incurred during work such as buying lunch out every day instead eating something prepared beforehand which may cost less money overall per month but require additional planning skills while still meeting nutritional needs.


Georgia is a great place to start a business. It has a low tax burden, excellent infrastructure and workforce, low crime rates, and an overall quality of life that’s quite good. With these things in mind, Georgia should be on your shortlist of states where you want to start your business.


The state of Georgia supports small businesses with a number of resources and programs. The state’s website provides information on starting a business, as well as forms and other resources you can use to get started as quickly as possible. There are also local organizations that can help make your business dreams come true by providing funding or other assistance.

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