You did it. Your Georgia LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In Georgia, an LLC’s annual report is commonly referred to as an annual registration, and every LLC must file one each year to help the state stay up-to-date regarding some basic business info. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
If you’d like to hand off this responsibility to save time and focus on running your business, affordable LLC services are a great solution. Not only will they form your business in the first place, but they’ll also manage ongoing requirements like ongoing report filing. Once you're ready to lock it down, have ZenBusiness file all the paperwork.
What Is a Georgia Annual Registration? Why Is It Important?
Consider an annual registration the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each Georgia business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, registered agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an annual registration.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your registered agent, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Georgia might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. With your most recent information on file, anyone can find your LLC’s contact information by performing a name search.
How Much Does the Georgia LLC Annual Registration Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. In Georgia, however, your annual registration fee isn’t too painful, just $50. You should expect to pay this fee every year.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Registration in Georgia
Your annual registration will be due by April 1 every year, like clockwork. Although if you want to get it out of the way sooner, you can file as early as January 1. Since the registration doesn’t take long, sometimes it’s easier to submit it right away so you don’t risk missing the due date.
Georgia is also one of the only states that allows LLCs to pre-file annual registrations for up to three years into the future. If you don’t expect any changes to your business in the coming years, you might as well file your annual registrations in advance.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your annual registration can yield some serious consequences.
Filing the annual registration past the April 1 deadline will incur a $25 late fee. Plus, it can cause your LLC to lose its good standing with the state, which is necessary for certain business transactions. If you ignore this filing long enough, the state can even dissolve your business.
Now that you’ve got the annual registration on your calendar and you’ve set aside the appropriate fee, it’s time to get into the concrete details: the instructions for filing your annual registration.
Has any of your LLC’s contact, organizational, or registered agent information changed over the past year?
If not, the Georgia Secretary of State offers a simple “One Click Annual Registration.” With this route, you won’t need to enter anything other than your payment information.
But if you need to make changes, here’s what the form contains:
- Registered agent name and address
- Principal office address
- Business email address
- Authorizer name and title
- Payment information
When making changes, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 10-20 minutes. But if you don’t need to change anything, you can wrap it up in just a few minutes.
Electronic Filing: Get started by navigating to the Secretary of State’s online filing portal. Right at the top, you’ll see two large buttons that read “One Click Annual Registration With No Changes” and “Annual Registration With Changes.” Select the one you need to start the online filing process. Your annual registration will be processed in 5-7 business days.
Filing by Mail: Go to the online filing portal and click “Print Annual Registration Form.” Search for your LLC name, choose the correct one and print your form. Then you can mail it, along with your payment, to:
Office of Secretary of State
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Filing In-Person: Live in Atlanta? You’re also welcome to hand-deliver your annual registration to the same address.
The Secretary of State’s annual registration page contains some additional information, including a video and guide that provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has your back. When January 1 rolls around each year, they will send out an annual registration reminder. Even so, it’s a good idea to set your own reminders on your phone, calendar, or wherever else you won’t miss them.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Georgia’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Georgia LLC Annual Registration
Should I use an annual registration service, hire an attorney, or prepare and file my own reports?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to keep track of your due dates and complete the entire report on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for many businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to prepare and file your annual registration.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to prepare and file your annual registration, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
I’ve heard the most about LegalZoom. Are they the best annual registration service?
LegalZoom is the most well-known of all business services companies, thanks to its long track record and extensive advertising campaigns. That said, all of that brand power comes at a cost, as LegalZoom’s pricing and features don’t always compare advantageously to its competitors. While we do appreciate LegalZoom’s annual registration service, it isn’t our top choice.
When is my annual registration due each year?
Each LLC needs to file its annual registration by no later than April 1 of each year. The state not only sends reminders but also allows LLCs to file registrations up to three years in advance, so there really isn’t much of an excuse if you fail to file in time.
Does Georgia require LLCs to file initial reports?
In some states, LLCs are also required to file initial reports. These reports are typically quite similar to annual reports, with the difference being that an initial report either accompanies your formation documents or follows their filing within a couple of months.
However, Georgia does not require initial reports from its LLCs, so you can safely ignore this step.
What if I need more time to complete my annual registration?
Georgia does not offer extensions for annual registrations. If you don’t file by April 1, the state will assess a $25 late fee. If you still don’t file your registration and pay your fines, the state can administratively dissolve your LLC.
Where can I find more official information about Georgia’s LLC annual registration requirements?
The best resource for info straight from the state is its annual registration step-by-step user guide. This 29-page pdf guide includes everything you need to know about filing this important document in the state of Georgia.